Review

The Jester

by James Patterson

The
first time I heard the expression "gettin' medieval" was in the
film Pulp Fiction. It's not a good thing; suffice to say it
is not about chivalry, honor in combat or respect for a fallen foe.
No, those were nasty times, those Middle Ages, the 13th and 14th
centuries. It's a wonder that, between wars and the Black Plague,
the species survived. However, our concept of real property and
some of our ideas and practices of democracy arose from this era,
so it certainly wasn't all bad. And literature! What a fertile
field for stories lies therein. About the last thing one would
expect, however, is for James Patterson to write a novel set during
that era. That is exactly though what THE JESTER is.

THE JESTER is another collaboration between Patterson and Andrew
Gross. Gross quite ably contributed to 2nd CHANCE and again
demonstrates in THE JESTER his shared ability with Patterson to
keep things moving and interesting. The aim here is elementary in
the idea, but difficult in the execution: keep the reader
interested and keep the pages turning. Patterson and Gross succeed
on both counts.

The jester is Hugh De Luc, an innkeeper who the comedian Jackie
Vernon would have described as "poor but poverty stricken;" in a
moment of bad judgment, he joins the First Crusade. Sick at heart
and disillusioned over what he experiences and witnesses, he
returns to his village to find it laid to waste, his inn destroyed,
his infant son --- whom he never knew --- murdered and his beloved
wife, Sophie, abducted. The instigator of this carnage is a
ruthless Duke who believes that De Luc is in possession of a
priceless religious relic. De Luc, seeking revenge, disguises
himself as a jester in order to infiltrate the duke's court, where
he believes his wife is being held. He is aided in his quest by an
enigmatic young woman named Emilie, who has more to risk by
assisting De Luc than he can imagine. But that is not the only
surprise that awaits De Luc. He soon finds that his quest for
rescue and revenge will take him to places far beyond any he could
have anticipated.

THE JESTER will appeal not only to Patterson's regular readers, but
also to those who, when the dust settles and the smoke clears,
simply enjoy a good story. There is also, among the graphic
descriptions of violence contained in THE JESTER, a real tale of
romance here. Patterson again demonstrates that he is capable of
doing anything --- and doing it quite well. And Gross's
contribution to this process cannot be ignored. Further
collaborations between these gentlemen will be most welcomed.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011

The Jester
by James Patterson

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0446613843
  • ISBN-13: 9780446613842