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The Jester

The Jester

4.1 227
by James Patterson

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Arriving home disillusioned from the Crusades, Hugh De Luc discovers that his village has been ransacked and his wife abducted by knights in search of a relic worth more than any throne in Europe. Only by taking on the role of a jester is he able to infiltrate his enemy's castle, where he thinks his wife is captive.

With the unstoppable pace and plot of a


Arriving home disillusioned from the Crusades, Hugh De Luc discovers that his village has been ransacked and his wife abducted by knights in search of a relic worth more than any throne in Europe. Only by taking on the role of a jester is he able to infiltrate his enemy's castle, where he thinks his wife is captive.

With the unstoppable pace and plot of a page-turning Alex Cross novel, The Jester is a breathtakingly romantic, pulse-pounding adventure-one that could only be conjured by the mind of James Patterson. Everyone who has ever hoped for good to defeat evil or for love to conquer all will not be able to stop turning the pages of this masterful novel of virtue, laughter-yes, laughter-and suspense.

Author BiographyS: James Patterson is the author of many international bestsellers, including "Along Came a Spider," "Roses Are Red," "Violets Are Blue," and "1st to Die." He lives in Florida.

Andrew Gross coauthored "2nd Chance" with James Patterson. He lives in New York.

Editorial Reviews

A disillusioned warrior returning home from the Crusades discovers to his horror that the peaceful village he left has been ransacked and plundered, and his beloved wife is missing, abducted by knights in pursuit of a great treasure. To retrieve his mate, the warrior must infiltrate the enemy's castle. To do so, he dons the cap and bells of a jester. Once again, plot master James Patterson proves that a radical departure need not be a wrong turn. Readers will find plenty of Patterson's trademark suspense, in addition to a healthy dose of wit.
Publishers Weekly
From start to finish, this is supersmart popular fiction, slick yet stirring...unforgettable characters...Patterson's fans will ove this one.
Library Journal
Hugh De Luc, a French innkeeper, feels compelled to join a Crusade in order to win his freedom from his liege, Lord Baldwin. When his disillusionment with the Crusade is complete, he deserts his post and returns home, finding that his wife has been kidnapped and the infant son he never met killed. Hugh vows revenge and begins a journey that places him in the roles of jester, spy, lover, general, and noble. Throughout the saga a mysterious group of black knights terrorize the countryside, searching for a holy relic brought back from the Crusades. When Hugh finally discovers the relic, he begins a crusade of his own to rid France of its unfair customs and practices toward the poor. Patterson's story is rich with the history of 1098. He does not neglect the realities of dirt, disease, battle, death, blood, gore, or poverty, and the relentless description of the carnage of battle becomes almost tedious. Both readers (Cary Elwes for the abridged version; Neil Dickson for unabridged cassettes and CDs) have British accents, which seems odd for a book that takes place in France. Recommended for most libraries.-Joanna M. Burkhardt, Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Univ. of Rhode Island, Providence Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Headline Book Publishing, Limited
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Read an Excerpt

The Jester

By James Patterson and Andrew Gross

Little Brown

Copyright © 2003 James Patterson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0316602051


WEARING A BROWN TWEED SUIT and his customary dark tortoiseshell sunglasses, Dr. Alberto Mazzini pushed through the crowd of loud and agitated reporters blocking the steps of the Musée d'Histoire in Boréée.

"Can you tell us about the artifact? Is it real? Is that why you're here?" a woman pressed, shoving a microphone marked CNN in his face. "Have tests been performed on the DNA?"

Dr. Mazzini was already annoyed. How had the press jackals been alerted? Nothing had even been confirmed about the find. He waved off the reporters and camera operators. "This way, Docteur," one of the museum aides instructed. "Please, come inside."

A tiny dark-haired woman in a black pantsuit was waiting for Mazzini inside. She looked to be in her mid-forties and appeared to almost curtsy in the presence of this prestigious guest.

"Thank you for coming. I am Renée Lacaze, the director of the museum. I tried to control the press, but . . ." she shrugged. "They smell a big story. It is as if we've found an atom bomb."

"If the artifact you've found turns out to be authentic," Mazzini replied flatly, "you will have found something far greater than a bomb."

As the national director of the Vatican Museum, Alberto Mazzini had lent the weight of his authority to everyimportant find of religious significance that had been unearthed over the past thirty years. The etched tablets presumed to be from the disciple John dug up in western Syria. The first Vericotte Bible. Both now rested among the Vatican treasures. He had also been involved in the investigation of every hoax, hundreds of them.

Renée Lacaze led Mazzini along the narrow fifteenth-century hall inlaid with heraldic tile.

"You say the relic was unearthed in a grave?" Mazzini asked.

"A shopping mall . . ." Lacaze smiled. "Even in downtown Borée, the construction goes night and day. The bulldozers dug up what must have once been a crypt. We would have completely missed it had not a couple of the sarcophagi split open."

Ms. Lacaze escorted her important guest into a small elevator and then up to the third floor. "The grave belonged to some long-forgotten duke who died in 1098. We did acid and photo-luminescence tests immediately. Its age looks right. At first we wondered, why would a precious relic from a thousand years earlier, and half the world away, be buried in an eleventh-century grave?"

"And what did you find?" Mazzini asked.

"It seems our duke actually went to fight in the Crusades. We know he sought after relics from the time of Christ." They finally arrived at her office. "I advise you to take a breath. You are about to behold something truly extraordinary."

The artifact lay on a plain white sheet on an examiner's table, as humble as such a precious thing could be. Mazzini finally removed his sunglasses. He didn't have to hold his breath. It was completely taken away. My God, this is an atom bomb!

"Look closely. There is an inscription on it."

The Vatican director bent over it. Yes, it could be. It had all the right markings. There was an inscription. In Latin. He squinted close to read. "Acre, Galilee . . ." He examined the artifact from end to end. The age fit. The markings. It also corresponded to descriptions in the Bible. Yet how did it come to be buried here? "All this, it does not really prove anything."

"That's true, of course." Renée Lacaze shrugged. "But Docteur . . . I am from here. My father is from the valley, my father's father, and his. There have been stories here for hundreds of years, long before this grave tumbled open. Stories every schoolchild in Borée was raised on. That this holy relic was here, in Borée, nine hundred years ago."

Mazzini had seen a hundred purported relics like this, but the tremendous power of this one gripped and unnerved him. A reverent force gave him the urge to kneel on the stone floor.

Finally, that's what he did - as if he were in the presence of Jesus Christ.

"I waited until your arrival to place a call to Cardinal Perrault in Paris," said Lacaze.

"Forget Perrault." Mazzini looked up, moistening his dry lips. "We are going to call the Pope."

Alberto Mazzini couldn't take his eyes off the incredible artifact on the plain white sheet. This was more than just the crowning moment of his career. It was a miracle.

"There's just one more thing," said Ms. Lacaze.

"What?" Mazzini mumbled. "What one more thing?"

"The local lore, it always said a precious relic was here. Just never that it belonged to a duke. But to a man of far more humble origins."

"What sort of lowborn man would come into such a prize? A priest? Perhaps a thief?"

"No." Renée Lacaze's brown eyes widened. "Actually, a jester."

Chapter One

Veille du Père, a village in southern France, 1096

The church bells were ringing.

Loud, quickening peals - echoing through town in the middle of the day.

Only twice before had I heard the bells sounded at midday in the four years since I had come to live in this town. Once, when word reached us that the King's son had died. And the second, when a raiding party from our lord's rival in Digne swept through town during the wars, leaving eight dead and burning almost every house to the ground.

What was going on?

I rushed to the second-floor window of the inn I looked after with my wife, Sophie. People were running into the square, still carrying their tools. "What's going on? Who needs help?" they shouted.

Then Antoine, who farmed a plot by the river, galloped over the bridge aboard his mule, pointing back toward the road. "They're coming! They're almost here!"

From the east, I heard the loudest chorus of voices, seemingly raised as one. I squinted through the trees and felt my jaw drop. "Jesus, I'm dreaming," I said to myself. A peddler with a cart was considered an event here. I blinked at the sight, not once but twice.

It was the greatest multitude I had ever seen! Jammed along the narrow road into town, stretching out as far as the eye could see.

"Sophie, come quick, now," I yelled. "You're not going to believe this."

My wife of three years hurried to the window, her yellow hair pinned up for the workday under a white cap. "Mother of God, Hugh . . ."

"It's an army," I muttered, barely able to believe my eyes. "The Army of the Crusade."

Excerpted from The Jester by James Patterson and Andrew Gross Copyright © 2003 by James Patterson
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author

James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 300 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

Brief Biography

Palm Beach, Florida
Date of Birth:
March 22, 1947
Place of Birth:
Newburgh, New York
B.A., Manhattan College, 1969; M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1971

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The Jester 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 226 reviews.
Mal_FL More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down once I started reading it. I didn't find any part of it slow, it was well written and it kept me wanting to read "just one more chapter". I even dreamt about the book after staying up late reading. While I do enjoy his 'stand alone' books more then his series... James Patterson doesn't fail to please me when I read his books. From a ordinary farmer, to the crusades, and then on to fight the greatest war ever seen between lords and their subjects.. Hugh is an absolutely loveable character. His men are loyal, and his love for Sophie -his wife, and his need to avenge her keeps the reader on their toes. Hugh De Luc is an ordinary inn keeper, little does he know that after he joins AND deserts the crusades that he coems back with the greatest prize in all of christendom. It takes him some time, and a couple of bloody fights to realize what it is. Once he does though, nothing can stop him, or his army of "simple" people on their march to the castles to take down the Dukes that have wronged them for so long. Along the way he finds some unexpected friends, one of whom he wants to hold forever.. I highly recommend this book if you like historical fiction ,or James Patterson. Even though Patterson doesn't typically right historical fiction he did a wondeful job. A+ ! :)
airline_fcti More than 1 year ago
I was taken aback with this book. I never thought of James Patterson writing a novel taking place in the middle ages. It was different and although it seemed strange (because of the author)it was an interesting book. I kept reading it because I am a real J. Patterson fan. His writing style is enough to keep the reader going. I also read his book "The Murder of King Tut" and was intrigued by it. I have read and studied a lot about ancient civilizations and this one seemed to follow with everything I had learned in the past.
ChrisCG More than 1 year ago
What a great read... I was interested, then scared, then touched... You feel so many different emotions throughout the book... I've read it twice already...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my top five favorite books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This by far is one of the best books I have ever read. Evn though it looks very long the chapters are very short and make it a quick read. It has a plot I have never read before and it constantly kept me on my toes. There are many connections to previous chapters and the characters were very relatable. I constantly was screaming while reading this book because the plot thickened in almost every chapter. I HIGHLY recommend this book to any reader who wants to read something new!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best james patterson yet
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
fast moving with lots of blood and histroy. Don't forget the love thrown in for those that wantit.
mrzappa More than 1 year ago
Great read. Loved this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well-written book, filled with action. The Jester was such a good book! I am a history fanatic, but you don't have to be to love this book. It was suspenseful, and full of surprises. Many of the characters were so well-described. I found myself feeling for the main characters, and really being able to relate to them. I feel like I learned so much about the Crusades just by reading this book. I could barely stop reading this book because I loved it so much! There are some scenes that are probably intended for mature audiences, but other than those few parts, its really an incredible, pulse-pounding story of a man who comes back from the Crusades to find his small town torn apart. There are so many parts in this book that make the reader happy for the characters, or feel bad for them. Throughout this book I learned a lot about the first Crusade...more than I would have thought from reading a 'fiction' book. Seriously, anyone who wants to read a historical fiction book that is full of suspense, read this one! The Jester is sure to not disappoint, and its story line is amazing itself. This book really explains to readers how the Crusades didn't just affect those who fought in them...they affected everyone. Truly an amazing book.
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I am Grace. I do NOT want a chatroom
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De0307 More than 1 year ago
Read James Patterson's books. They are all fantastic fiction reading materials. I can't say it any other way. He is an awesome writer and I love all of the books that I have read by him, old and new, alike. Read James Patterson's books!
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GtzLstNRding More than 1 year ago
Brilliantly written story about the crusades and a common mans journey for freedom and what comes out of the journey. The story will touch your heart in so many ways as well as shedding light on the brutalities and injustices of how the world was so long ago. The trails Hugh endures developes the incrediable leader role he thrust into while finally bringing his lifes journey full circle. This story will make you sad, happy, cheer and be outraged and will tug at so many emotions.