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

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  844 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
A medieval mystery tale based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Twelve years after the events of the play, the Duke of Orsino has been murdered and the duchy is in a state of political turmoil. Feste, the fool, is sent by the Guild to stabilize the political situation and uncover the culprit.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 15th 2000 by Minotaur Books (first published December 1st 1998)
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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
This is a sequel to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, a mystery novel from the late 20th century.

Fifteen years after the play, Feste hears of the death of the Duke of Orsino, and goes, in disguise, to see if he can find out who killed the Duke. However, Malvolvo, Feste's chief suspect, has been planning revenge on Feste for a decade and a half, so he has to move carefully. If you enjoy mysteries set in the thirteenth century, this will be a book you are likely to enjoy.
I read this due to a recommendation by author Laurie R. King at
This is the first in a series and many of the characters whom she mentions do not appear in this book, but I found it very enjoyable. I have read other medieval-based mysteries and this holds up very well. The tone reminds me of the Sister Frevisse and Joliffe serieses (seria?) by Margaret Frazer although those are set a bit later.

The plot of this book is based on Twelfth Night - 15 years late
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting take on Shakespeare's characters from Twelfth Night with Feste as a kind of detective and various other well-known faces making an appearance. Quite a few neat twists and turns and an excellently vivid climax - followed by a Poirot-style explanation of whodunnit.
Claire (Clairby11xxx)
(2/10) This wasn't badly written and it was moving along at an alright pace, it just didn't grab me, what's the point in making myself read something when my to read list has lots of books on it I know I would rather be spending my time on. Personal taste not a reflection on the book at all.
Caidyn (BW Book Reviews; he/him/his)
Again, another brilliant and hilarious book in the Fools' Guild series. Of course, this is technically the first book. Not as much humor to it since it was laying the ground, and more fiction than history in this historical fiction. I really enjoyed it, just as I have the others. Theo is a brilliant character, and I honestly can't wait until I get to the point where Helga and Claudia come into the story, since I think that they really make it in the later books.

This one took a basis, as I said,
Nov 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sabrina Flynn
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Thirteenth Night takes Shakespeare's Twelfth Night a step further and weaves a really cool secret organization out of the Fool's Guild. I was not familiar with Twelfth Night at all, and while you don't have to be familiar with the play, I think at least reading a summary of Twelfth Night adds depth to the book.

Feste, the main character, remained a vague figure for me and I didn't really get into the story until over half way through. The writing is quick and witty and low on description, and I t
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
A medieval mystery in modern vernacular, and an imaginative sequel to Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT, with the Fool's Guild full of multi-talented jester-spys/assassins, maneuvering power behind the thrones.

(view spoiler)

An excellent, generally ligh
Sep 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: do-not-have, general
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.
I liked this but I didn't like the ending. It was very interesting from the history side. He writes well. It held my attention because of the red herrings and I didn't know until the end who was up to what. that's the bottom line in a mystery: not knowing who dunnit until the very end and having it make sense. so I gave it 4 stars.
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.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I Liked this first outing of Theo Having read most of the others first it was good to meet him before
Claudia and his family and I was not disappointed (Plus now I have to see Twelfth Night again)
The Authors description of Foolery is always a delight as is his repartee between his wife or his enemies and to see it from the second start was perfect. As Medieval Mysteries go This is a perfect starting point and Delving into the past can only get better and at time bloodier.
Timothy Williams
Another fantastic medieval mystery! I was cautious going into this book because I was worried it would either be all comedy and no mystery or vice versa. More fool I for waiting. If you're reading this review and haven't read the book yet then stop waiting and start reading it right now!
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
odważne rozwinięcie sztuki Shakespere
jean kennedy-hubler
Well written fun

I love the fools mysteries. Great story, great characters, and marvelous history. The wit is wonderful. So much fun. Love the stories.
Lindsay Gower
Entertaining mystery and love story. Treachery and humor!
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Thirteenth Night is written as a kind of sequel to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night with the action taking place some 15 years later. All the characters are present: Viola and Sebastian, Olivia, the Duke, Toby, Andrew, Maria, and Feste who, this time, is the protagonist and narrator of the story. In this sequel and retelling, it is hinted that Feste engineered the original shipwreck for political reasons, on a mission from the Fool's Guild, a shadowy yet powerful network of court jesters with a missi ...more
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
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Thirteenth Night” is a surprisingly good book, and much better written than I expected it to be. I have no reason why I thought it would disappoint, but I did. And I was wrong.
First off, if you are not familiar with Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” I think parts of this novel will fall flat for you. The author, Alan Gordon, assumes a lot of familiarity with Shakespeare’s play on the reader’s part. The protagonist is a member of the Fool’s Guild named Theophilos, better known as the fool Feste from
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
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,
Oct 05, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  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
Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I enjoyed this book because
1. The author imagines events subsequent to those in Shakespeare's play. Since it is a mystery, I was caught up in the possibility of disguise, knowing how identity figures in Twelfth Night.
2. The narrator is a twelfth century "professional" fool. I have a new appreciation for that guy in motley.
3. An historical detective story works well foor me, sending me to the Internet to look up place names, historical events, a couple of saints (a clue) the names of the
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
May 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Enjoyable first in a series (I've already acquired the next two for my TBR stacks). The Fool's Guild series is set in the late Middle Ages and also brings in the characters from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night., especially in this first outing. Feste is a fool or jester, whose profession makes him a perfect spy -- the Fool's Guild is a sort of multinational CIA or MI-5, with some connections to the Church, whose mission is to prevent bloodshed if possible and maintain a peaceful balance in the world ...more
Pamela Bronson
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Play Book Tag: Thirteenth Night by Alan Gordon 3 stars 2 7 Jan 01, 2018 03:30AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

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 about Alan Gordon

Other books in the series

Fools' Guild (8 books)
  • 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 Lark's Lament (Fools' Guild, #6)
  • The Moneylender of Toulouse (Fools' Guild, #7)
  • The Parisian Prodigal (Fools' Guild, #8)

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