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by Alan Gordon

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-20035-8
Publisher: St. Martin's

It’s early in the 13th century, and hidden away in the Dolomites is a village that’s home to the Guildhall, an academy for jesters, jugglers, magicians, etc.—a School for Fools. One of the most expert of these is Theophilos, who 15 years ago and calling himself Feste, had played an important role in the life of a commercial town on the Adriatic—leaving it in the hands of the Count of Orsino and his wife Viola, but aware that their powerful enemy Malvolio was ever lurking. Now a messenger has arrived with news that the Count has died in a fall from a cliff, and Theophilos, convinced that Malvolio is involved and encouraged by his mentor Father Gerald, decides to return to the town and see justice done. It doesn’t take long for him to determine that Orsino’s death was no accident and to become aware that Malvolio is still on the scene, working to destroy the Orsino family as well as his old enemy Feste. Several jumbled plots are at work here, their flow interrupted by an avalanche of local color, religious pageantry, and details of bloody, often fatal encounters. History students of the place and period may find it rewarding. For most others, a test of endurance.