Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Fool's Tale by Nicole Galland



Roger Mortimer, a ruthless English magnate attempts to assassinate the Welsh King Cadwallon. During the assassination attempt, Gwirion tries to protect the fallen king and is captured. Valiantly, he refuses to give up the location of the king’s son and heir and his best friend, Maelgwyn ap Cadwallon, known as Noble. Gwirion is tortured and beaten, but he refuses to give up any information on his friend, Prince Noble who now must take his father’s place as king. Noble and Gwirion become bonded and truly inseparable.

Noble’s reign is in constant turmoil as he struggles to keep his tiny kingdom from being usurped from archrival Roger Mortimer. In an effort to try to bring peace to his kingdom, he marries Isabel Mortimer, Roger’s niece.

Gwirion's outrageous humour and mischievous pranks are normal fare at Cymaron Castle. But a catastrophic hoax performed during Isabel and Noble’s wedding provokes an explosive antagonism between Gwirion and Isabel for the king's affection.

The naive Isabel is determined to earn acceptance as queen in the unrefined, unceremonious, and boorish Welsh court. Slowly she gains the respect of her husband and the people, but not Gwirion, the king’s fool and best friend. Gwirion hates the Mortimers for the murder he witnessed and his subsequent torture.

As Mortimer continues to wreak havoc on Cadwallon, trouble flourishes between Noble and Isabel. Slowly, in time, admiration and friendship soon blossoms into romantic love between Gwirion and Isabel. Lives, friendship, marriage, kingdoms, love, and loyalty are all at stake as one betrays the other in this complicated love triangle.

The outrageous pranks and strong character interactions kept me flipping pages as I become totally engrossed in this believable and fascinating tale.