Wales, 1198. A time of treachery, passion, and uncertainty. King Maelgwyn ap Cadwallon, known as Noble, struggles to protect his small kingdom from foes outside and inside his borders. Pressured into a marriage of political convenience, he takes as his bride the young, headstrong Isabel Mortimer, niece of his powerful English nemesis. Through strength of character, Isabel wins her husband's grudging respect, but finds the Welsh court backward and barbaric, and is soon engaged in a battle of wills against Gwirion, the king's oldest, oddest, and most trusted friend. Before long, however, Gwirion and Isabel's mutual animosity is abruptly transformed, and the king finds himself as threatened by loved ones as by the enemies who menace his crown. A masterful novel by a gifted storyteller, The Fool's Tale combines vivid historical fiction, compelling political intrigue, and passionate romance to create an intimate drama of three individuals bound -- and undone -- by love and loyalty.
Screenwriter Galland debuts impressively with a steamy historical romance about a medieval Welsh queen's love affair with the king's best friend--his profane, hyperactive royal fool. The year is 1198, and King Maelgwyn (mercifully nicknamed Noble) of Maelienydd has wed the young Englishwoman Isabel Mortimer in hopes of neutralizing her uncle Roger, a powerful baron with designs on Noble's small kingdom. But almost from their wedding night, the political marriage of Isabel and Noble is a disaster: she is headstrong and tomboyish, "far from his ideal"; he is temperamental, tyrannical and unwilling to give up "nonconjugal fornication." Even worse for Isabel is his unfathomable relationship with the fool Gwirion, whose outrageous pranks and lewd public performances humiliate her. But when Noble goes off to fight Roger Mortimer, a siege on the castle by an opportunistic Welsh prince forces Isabel and Gwirion to confront each other, and to finally acknowledge their traitorous passion. Galland creates memorable characters--particularly Gwirion--who sound authentically regal yet earthy. She strikingly captures the murky Welsh setting and even murkier politics. The novel is occasionally short on plot, but readers will relish the energetic emotional back-and-forth of the protagonists' ceaseless trysting.
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Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . Not good enough to finish
Posted August 24, 2010 by Janice , TorontoI was very disappointed with this book and, although I generally persist in completing most books, I put this one down (virtually speaking) when I was only halfway through. At that point, I came to the conclusion that the book was solely about the misguided relationships between the three main characters. I realized that I had only the vaguest understanding of the story environment or the supplementary characters. The story simply goes on and on with the three primary characters persisting in misunderstanding each other. The humour related by one character is unendingly vulgar and childish. Nevertheless, Galland does write skillfully and I would be game to try another of her books.
January 23, 2006
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