Thirteenth Night (Fools' Guild, #1)
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Thirteenth Night (Fools' Guild #1)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  461 ratings  ·  52 reviews
In late December 1200 A.D. a merchant arrives at the tavern near the Guildhall of the Fools' Guild with a message for one of the jesters. The message is brief: "Orsino is dead."

Fifteen years before, the jester, using the name of Feste, secretly interceded on the Guild's behalf in a dynastic crisis in the Duchy of Orsino, thus spoiling the plans of Saladin's agent, Malvoli

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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published December 1st 1998 by St. Martin's Press
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Community Reviews

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Neil
The premise of this series is that the fools have a secret guild which serves as a sort of superspy agency to maintain equilibrium in medieval Europe. Feste (that's how we know him here anyway), the jester from Twelfth Night is a dozen years older, and he's fallen into his cups a bit. When a message comes that Duke Orsino has died from a suspicious fall, Feste disguises himself as a merchant and returns to investigate, suspecting that Malvolio is back and after revenge on Orsino, Olivia, Viola,...more
Lisa Jensen
In this delicious debut, Alan Gordon imagines a Fools' Guild operating across medieval Europe whose members—acrobats, jugglers, and spies—are inserted into the palaces and retinues of the wealthy and powerful in hopes of influencing world events in favor of peace, averting wars, solving hidden crimes, and dispensing justice.

In Thirteenth Night, we learn that the name "Feste" was merely an alias for the Fools' Guild veteran known privately as Theophilos. 15 years after the events of Shakespeare's...more
Mike
Years after the events of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night a man once known as Feste is told that he must return to Orsino, because although his work behind the scenes on behalf of the manipulative Fools Guild led to a happy ending for some... happy endings don't always last forever.

The Duke has been murdered, and it is up to an old fool to find out who did it. It's a light, well-written mystery with interesting characters and some interesting world-building.
Alethea
Rating: 1.5..almost OK.
I got through this, I am afraid, only on the basis of the fact that it is built on my favorite of Shakespeare’s comedies. Historical mysteries are a somewhat problematic for me, and this was not a complete success either as a historical novel (a handful of rabid inconsistencies, and a distressing tendency to cram in mention of EVERYTHING and EVERYONE of any import in that area of the world), or as a mystery (I have a particular loathing for limited third person where the a...more
Danielle
I picked this book up because a) I love Shakespeare and Twelfth Night is one of my favs and b) I saw it mentioned on a list of favorite mystery series on goodreads. I'll admit straight off that I had high hopes. Another confession: I haven't exactly read Twelfth Night in almost a decade. I have a feeling my 3 star review is more my own fault than Alan Gordon's.

Thirteenth Night is well written, the characters are nicely fleshed out, and the events are interesting. Unfortunately, something about...more
Kathy
ss - nice love story of a werewolf who trains dogs, lost his love because he could not tell her his secret... the bad guys trap him, inject him with wolfsbane... his dogs, and some of the dogs he trained (including his girlfriends) come to his rescue... she follows... helps him - and now she knows and they are together... : )


An interesting premise… 1200's, jesters, ie fools, with a Fool’s Guild that are secret agents trying to influence good & prevent bad, patterned after the First Fool, Chr...more
LJ
THIRTEENTH NIGHT (Mystery-Feste-Orsino, Italy-1200) – VG
Gordon, Alan – 1st in series
St. Martin’s Press, 1999, US Hardcover – ISBN: 0312200358

First Sentence: We were gathered in the tavern to taste the new beer.

*** It’s December 1200 and Feste, the jester, is at a tavern near the Fools’ Guildhall when he receives a message at “Orsino is dead.” Although a play by Shakespeare, “The Twelfth Night,” relates the events somewhat differently, Feste had been in the town of Orsino 15 years earlier. Then,...more
John
Oct 05, 2007 John rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: historical mystery fans, Shakespeare fans
This book is a sort of sequel to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
Duke Orsino, who married Viola at the end of Shakespeare's play, has been murdered. Feste, who is not just a jester but a member of a (very improbable) international Fools' Guild
of entertainers who use their skills to work for the good of society, is sent to investigate. Some of what he finds is depressing -- Viola's brother Sebastian is now a drunk, for example, and Sebastian's wife Countess Olivia is ambitious and lecherous -- but so...more
Carl
I generally enjoy a mystery/thriller when it has something beyond the usual whodunnit. I was unaware of this series until my 92 year old father suggested it. Interestingly, I had just finished Ariana Franklin's newest historical mystery, which takes place in the same era, and even has some similar historical backdrops, e.g., the Roman Church v. one its many "heresies," the Cathars.
The main gimmick is the character of the crimesolver, the Fool from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, as outlined in the...more
Dawn
I am not a fan of Shakespeare and other than watching the occasional show based on his plays, I am unfamiliar with his work. But despite its basis in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, I decided that this looked to be an interesting book.
The premise of the series is that the fool’s guild is actually a secret society dedicated to the well-being of 13th century medieval Europe. This story follows the events of Twelfth Night by taking us back to Orsino when the spy/fool Feste hears of the death of the Du...more
Tom
This novel, a sequel to William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, is the first in the Fools' Guild series, which posits that the fool from the aforementioned play, Feste (AKA Theopolis, and also Lear's fool), works for a Medieval European Guild that acts as both the power behind the throne and as entertainers. Author Gordon paints the world well, setting Feste/Theo in a world that combines the Bard's works with real history, and the book will work regardless of how well the reader knows the original...more
Janet
I really wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. It's a debut novel and the first in a series. I was looking for a new mystery series to get caught up in but I'm not so sure it's going to be this one. The story was okay but didn't really draw me in. Same with the characters. I didn't find that when I was away from the book I was just dying to know what was going to happen next to Feste/Octavius. I like to become invested in my characters. However, I'm not going to throw in the towel just...more
Pamela Bronson
A delightful mystery that paints a plausible historical background for Twelfth Night and goes way beyond. Who knew that Illyria was really Croatia? You may learn a lot of history, some of which is true, but that shouldn't diminish your enjoyment. I especially enjoyed the Feast of Fools as part of a medieval Christmas celebration. The romance took me by surprise.

One caveat: if you have only recently read or scene Twelfth Night for the first time and can't deal with the idea that Orsino is dead, w...more
Jenett
Picked this up at my local library, when the most recent book in the series had a blurb from Laurie R. King, one of my favorite authors.

It's a set of mysteries (I think there's six right now: this is the first) set in the 14th century, and centering around a fool's guild. The first one interlocks with the plot of Shakespeare's 12th Night.

The plot is reasonably tight and fast, there's some thought provoking bits, some amusing bits, and a lot of potential. I definitely intend to keep going in the...more
Tripleguess
I enjoyed this more than #7; the overall tone of the book is not nearly as debauched, though I had the same problem of the most important background characters being so nearly indistinguishable from each other that, well, I couldn't tell them apart. Viola and Olivia stood out, Andrew almost so, and "Bobo" of course. Perun too. The others were more like placeholders than characters. I guess I could have stopped and made a list but I didn't bother. It was still an entertaining read and did convinc...more
Danielle O
This novel is a sequel to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. If you have read that play, you NEED to read this! The book takes place fifteen years after the play ends, and it is told from Feste's point of view. Feste, who has been away from Illyria for a dozen years, gets a message that Orsino has been murdered. He returns to see whether Malvolio was the murderer... did he actually come back for the revenge he promised??

Well-written and very true to Shakespeare! Twelfth Night is my favorite Shakespea...more
Sherelyn Ernst
This was clever and entertaining mystery. I gave it 5 stars for the genre and not because it was the greatest book in the world. It also fit nicely in my pocket so I could read it on the subway without carrying around a lot of extra weight. For those of you who liked Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, this continues the story, with the main character being the fool. This was almost as good as Gordon's An Antic Disposition which was based on Hamlet, again, as told by the fool. What a clever idea--and w...more
John
My second read in this series, and just as good (if not better) than Antic Disposition. I'm clearly reading these out of order, but I kind of like it that way, since it lets me figure out some of the characters' secrets before I realize they're secrets. Once again, the mystery is less important to me than the characterizations and historical/literary details. I've always liked Twelfth Night, and this was an excellent follow-up to the darker elements of the play. I will read more of this guy's wo...more
Dayna Smith
The first book in A Fools' Guild Mystery series. This tale picks up where Shakespeare's Twelfth Night leaves off. The Duke of Orsino has been murdered and the fool Theophilus, disguised as Feste, returns to solve the mystery surrounding the Duke's death and prevent anyone else in the family from being killed. A wonderful tale of misdirection, political intrigue and double crosses. This series brings 11th century Europe to life. A Reader's Corner highly recommended series.
Timnah
The first book in the Fool's Guild series, this novel makes much use of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, in fact basing all its primary characters on those in that play (and claiming that this Feste is the real author of the Twelfth Night story). It's an exciting mystery woven into a fully detailed tapestry of medieval politics international and local, all of which provide a persuasive backdrop for the beginnings of a tantalizingly tender romance.
Jacky
I really enjoyed this book.
It continues the story of 12th Night.
Feste is revealed as Theophilus, of the Fools' Guild, summoned to return to "Orsnon" (Illyria) after 15years, as Orsino has been murdered.
Again we get the cross-dressing, the people hiding behind masks & disguises, and looking at some of the characters with new depth.
Clever intertwining of literature & history, held together by the concept of Holy Fools.
Cal
The first in the Jester mystery series set in the late 1200 Italy. I've never read anything by this particular author before; I came across the book while looking for something else at the library. The book looked interesting and, like the Falco series set in Imperial Rome by Lindsey Davis, I loved it. I've already reserved the next book in the series from the library.
Jlnpeacock
This book, as well as the others in the series, is well written and believable. I find myself looking for more information regarding the role of fools in the medieval courts and trying to learn if they were really a part of protection agency of the Pope. Each novel has a good story line with witty dialogue. Good, relaxing books for a winter's evening.
Julie
I can't quite figure out why this book didn't sit right, though I did find it entertaining and will seek out further books in the series. The mystery was one that I could only guess at, since the author withheld certain information, but I did guess right, so I'm going to claim to be super clever and no one can stop me!
Carrie
I read this book because I love Twelfth Night, especially Feste. So an update on the characters with Feste as a murder investigator? Fantastic! I was entertained. Except that I kept picturing actors from my favorite production of Twelfth Night as I was reading, and that got a little weird.
Mandarynkowa
nicely written. the mystery is quite obvious, but you'll enjoy it anyway, because the main attraction of this book are the witty links to shakespeare's 'twelfth night'. the one thing that i can't forgive though are the history mistakes...
Kathy Davie
He's a buy! I loved this book. Combining history, politics, and sliding in Shakespeare! All from a perspective you would never expect. Has a good feel for the time period...do read this.
Suzy
Very entertaining read. It is most helpful to be acquainted with Shakespeare's characters from the Twelfth Night. I am looking forward to reading more by Alan Gordon.
Barbara
I hated this book alot; I feel betrayed as a mystery reader and a medievalist. I am still mad at it; if you would like to know, ask me why.
Aguess
Aug 16, 2012 Aguess added it
Shelves: mysteries
This was a fun book. Festes the fool is a great character, full of shadows. i figured out who did it pretty early on - but it was still enjoyable.
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Alan Gordon is the author of the Fools' Guild mysteries. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, The Drood Review of Mystery and the Medieval Academy Newslet...more
More about Alan Gordon...
Jester Leaps In (Fools' Guild, #2) A Death in the Venetian Quarter (Fools' Guild, #3) The Widow of Jerusalem (Fools' Guild, #4) An Antic Disposition (Fools' Guild, #5) The Moneylender of Toulouse (Fools' Guild, #7)

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