The Fool's Tale [NOOK Book]

Overview

Wales, 1198. A time of treachery, passion, and uncertainty. King Maelgwyn ap Cadwallon, known as Noble, struggles to protect his small kingdom from foes outside and inside his borders. Pressured into a marriage of political convenience, he takes as his bride the young, headstrong Isabel Mortimer, niece of his powerful English nemesis.

Through strength of character, Isabel wins her husband's grudging respect, but finds the Welsh court backward and barbaric, and is soon engaged in...

See more details below
The Fool's Tale

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price

Overview

Wales, 1198. A time of treachery, passion, and uncertainty. King Maelgwyn ap Cadwallon, known as Noble, struggles to protect his small kingdom from foes outside and inside his borders. Pressured into a marriage of political convenience, he takes as his bride the young, headstrong Isabel Mortimer, niece of his powerful English nemesis.

Through strength of character, Isabel wins her husband's grudging respect, but finds the Welsh court backward and barbaric, and is soon engaged in a battle of wills against Gwirion, the king's oldest, oddest, and most trusted friend. Before long, however, Gwirion and Isabel's mutual animosity is abruptly transformed, and the king finds himself as threatened by loved ones as by the enemies who menace his crown.

A masterful novel by a gifted storyteller, The Fool's Tale combines vivid historical fiction, compelling political intrigue, and passionate romance to create an intimate drama of three individuals bound -- and undone -- by love and loyalty.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061743757
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 175,380
  • File size: 707 KB

Meet the Author

Nicole Galland is the author of four previous novels: The Fool's Tale, Revenge of the Rose, Crossed: A Tale of the Fourth Crusade, and I, Iago. She's worked in theater, screenwriting, magazine publishing, grad-schooling, teaching, temping, and other random enterprises. She is the cofounder of Shakespeare for the Masses, a project that irreverently makes the Bard accessible to the Bardophobes of the world. She is married to actor Billy Meleady.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

The Fool's Tale

A Novel
By Nicole Galland

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Nicole Galland
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060721510

Chapter One

Enemies

May Day, 1198

Sabel was old for a bride, nearly twenty, and orphaned with little dowry beyond her bloodline. She was considered a great beauty in her own country -- small and boyish in build, with an intelligent, squarish face and a high, graceful forehead -- and supremely desirable for her education, skills, and absolute lack of feminine triviality. But she had always known she'd be married for politics. It never bothered her; until she'd heard Chretien de Troyes's romances of Lancelot and the Round Table, at the age of thirteen, it had never even occurred to her that there could be other reasons to bind herself to a man. She remembered Adele chasing away the minstrel reciting them, then chastising Isabel for corrupting her own wits and sense. So she had never dwelt on the possibility of romantic love. But she'd assumed a match would at least be within her own race, and she had been taken aback when her uncle Roger had revealed her suitor's identity: not only a Welsh prince, but the only prince still referred to by the English chroniclers as "Rex" -- King. A small kingdom, and a poor one, but she would be a queen. And the king, when she'd met him, was so disarming and handsome and his accent so melodious that it had made her knees weak, although she was hardly the sort to get weak knees. When the date was set and the terms agreed upon, she had spent a fortnight smiling to herself.

But that smile waned on the journey to a land that was far too alien, considering it began almost at her childhood doorstep.

They had left the homey fields of England for windy Welsh hillsides, hillsides carpeted by dead bracken that looked like russet snow, and nothing else for miles at a stretch but grass and prickly gorse -- not a tree, not a house, not even a rocky outcrop to vary the landscape. Nothing but herds of white sheep and black cattle being driven upland for what passed as summer. The songbirds had been cacophonous, magpies and curlews, red kites and buzzards perched on the skeletons of sheep that had not survived the winter. In England there had been farmers, already sowing, bowing respectfully as they passed; here they'd found undernourished peasants digging up peat under the damp grey sky and pointedly ignoring them. Isabel tried not to be disheartened by this; she hoped she could eventually make these people understand that not all Normans were butchers. Below them, the valleys and lower hillsides were impassable bogs shadowed by dense groves of scrub oak (considered by the natives sacred and haunted), so the ancient Roman roads had kept them high on the slopes, windblown, chilly and exposed. She had known it would be highland, and she'd thought that meant mountains, which would have at least been interesting. The first few hills had been promising, with lovely sweeping views of river valleys, but by the time they were well into the kingdom, the entire country was high, with decidedly undramatic undulations from valley to hilltop -- there were no peaks to speak of anywhere. It looked, her brother Thomas had muttered, like the English moors flung over a gigantic bowl of lumpy porridge. Wigmore Castle was only a day's ride off but in that day she had been transported farther away than her pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela had taken her.

Gwirion had been incensed when he'd learned the wedding was set for May Day, and the Spring Rites canceled because of it. ("Usurped," he'd protested, "by a Mortimer, by a bitch of an English virgin.") When the king warned him not to use this public gathering as a chance to make sport of anybody, Gwirion had rebutted that he would never condescend to dignify the occasion by immortalizing it with a prank of any sort. And so the entire castle population knew there would be trouble.

It was May Day at last. Boughs of birch twigs hung over windows and everyone wore brilliant colors -- even the usually bedraggled dwarf Corr wore green hose under his linen tunic. The one exception was Gwirion, who had donned sackcloth to mourn the end of the king's finest years as a bachelor. He insisted the day was too splendid to waste on a wedding, particularly one involving Mortimers, and would have avoided it altogether if Corr had not begged him otherwise.

"You know how ladies react when they see me for the first time," he lamented, his colorless lashes blinking almost spastically in the sunlight. "If you're beside me I can pretend to myself it's partly your hideous mug."

Gwirion grinned at this and then a thoughtful gleam warmed his eyes. It was a look Corr was all too familiar with.

"Whatever you are thinking of thinking," he said, "don't think it."

"It seems to me," Gwirion mused, ignoring the request, "that we've never fully exploited that particular aspect of your appearance."

"I doubt she'll give us much satisfaction that way. I've heard she has a sensible head on her shoulders."

Gwirion considered this. "But what has she got on the rest of her?" he asked. Rhetorically.

Corr sighed in capitulation. "And how severe a whipping will this be bringing us?"

Gwirion lowered his voice even though they were yards above the crowd. "This wedding is an invasion. She'll try to coerce us to join her Norman civilization." A loaded pause, and then he grinned. "If we're expected to become like her, why don't we just become her?"

The two of them stood atop the king's tower, watching people mill about in anticipatory disarray around the ashes of the Beltane bonfires in the courtyard below. They descended the wooden stairs that hugged the stone curtain wall, bickering over the details of their plot, and began to scout for the bride's brother. He was a younger brother, named Thomas, and he was hardly in whiskers. Gwirion discovered him by the stables.

Continues...


Excerpted from The Fool's Tale by Nicole Galland Copyright © 2006 by Nicole Galland. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 50 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2007

    Absolutely captivating!

    I was so pleasantly surprised once I started reading this story. I fell in love with Gwirion from the first chapter, and found myself bursting out in hysterical laughter because of his completely crazy antics. I think Nicole Galland should be applauded for creating such a charasmitic, funny, real, and charming character. His creation is something that I don't think many authors could have done. In reality his presence in this story is what makes the tale so entertaining and what makes you not able to put this book down.I haven't loved a character this much since Jamie in Diana Gabaldon's series. Her ability to incorporate so much light hearted humor into a historical novel is what makes this book so refreshing. It's a nice change from the usual serious, morose, and monotonous tone that is used so often in historical novels. If you are looking for a historical novel that has character depth, instead of the usual 2D tale that recites events, read this book! You will not be dissapointed.

    13 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    A wonderful story set in 12th century Whales. The locales in the

    A wonderful story set in 12th century Whales. The locales in the book are wonderfully descriptive and detailed to preceision of the era. The characters are engaging and beliveable and developed so the reader actually cares about them. The story is much more than a historical romance...as the personalities of the characters drive and evolve as you progress through the story - so entracing, in fact, that you can't stop reading (at least I couldn't) The Fool's Tale is a charming (sometimes sarcastic) romp through an era long since gone. I fully recommend it......................I Also Recommend: Mary Stewart's Legacy collection (Merlin's Saga) A timeless masterpiece that has been captivating readers for decades.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2008

    Absolutely Horrible Book

    This book was listed as historical fiction. Fiction it is...it is not historical. This book is devoted to the physical side of relationships and jealousy. Verbal abuse, physical abuse and mostly crude, illogical characters.

    8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    Amazing!

    I am an avid reader, and have read upwards of 300 books. This novel is in my top 10. Engaging characters, quick pace, and a twisting plot kept me surprised and glued to the pages. I have read several novelsby Nicole Galland and this one is by far her masterpiece. I laughed, I cried, and long after the last page I continued to go over the story in my head. This book encompasses every genre from drama, comedy, to romance. And at the end of the book you are just left in awe. If you enjoy an engaging drama and love fascinating characters reminiscient of Dickens's creations then this is the book for you.

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2008

    Would have liked more reality

    I was expecting more history and less fiction, since this was listed under the 'history' category. I also found it ridiculous that the 'f' word was used in this book about something that took place in 1199. As a fiction book, I thought it was pretty good.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    Ugh

    I wanted more kings and history and less love-making between fools.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2010

    A slow start, but it picks up as the book goes on...

    I selected this book because the cover caught my eye and the description on the back intrigued me enough for me to purchase it.

    Normally, when I pick up a book, I can become totally immersed within the first chapter. However, with this book, it took me until about I was about 1/3 of the way through. In fact, as person who usually devours a book within the week in which I purchased it, it was very much non-typical for me, since it took about 2 months to get through the first third, since it languished on my bedside table.

    Once I finally got past the initial part of the book, I was drawn in enough to feel for the characters. I felt the Lady's distress with the dangerous game she was playing with the Fool. I felt revulsion for the way that Noble "ruled" his kingdom. I was heartily glad that I did not live in such a time. I was actually disturbed by the book. I couldn't believe that the Fool could be so blind to the capriciousness of his friend, Noble. I was horrified by the callousness of Noble's leadership style. I was revolted by the part in which Noble ordered the hunting dogs killed (I'm a big dog lover and this part was so incredibly cruel that I almost cried). I was annoyed with the Lady's stupidity in thinking that she had any power in her relationship with her husband.

    This book was so unlike most of the historical fiction I have read, that it's hard for me to classify it. If someone had told me about the twists within the book prior to my purchase, I probably wouldn't have bought it. In a way, the characters were very one-dimensional and I didn't like their stupidity at times.

    That being said, it was very well written and (I'm sure) very well researched historically. I liked the fact that there was a little historical note at the back. I'm sure that this sort of situation could have happened countless times back in the historical period in which it was set - I just don't like to read such tragic stories. Hence, this book wasn't for me.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    This book will make you wish you had bought a hard copy so you could rip it to shreds once you finished it. Then set it on fire.

    How are there any good reviews for this book?! I'm sure these people could not have read this with their eyes open because everything about this was terrible! Good god, TERRIBLE!!! I'm honestly stunned that this is even catagorized under historical fiction... sure- it's fiction but there is SO little history involved here; I can't imagine the author's research went beyond reading a few Wikipedia pages. It's that bad. There is so much to remark upon but little that won't "spoil" it (and I'd be doing you a favor by giving away the hysterical ending). I never write reviews but if you're like me and have to finish a book no matter how stupid it is- please let me save you the time and don't bother with this. Ugh such garbage :(

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    Loved it.

    After this, I will read her other books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Terrible Tnaap Pi Tnapier

    Terrible

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2013

    Could not finish...

    After a promising start, the story just bogged down into useless details and pointless sex. Needs gutted and edited.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 10, 2013

    Horrid

    I don't know where the good reviews for this book came from, but it was terrible. I NEVER leave a book unread, even if I don't like it I will skip to the end to see how it turned out...not this book. It has so much potential but falls flat in nearly every circumstance. The characters are not endearing or believable (very shallow and not developed at all), there is no coherent direction for the plot, and the dialogue is not engaging. Don't waste your money!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    captivating

    Excellent story for snowy days of winter. This is the first book I have read by Nicole Galland. I was very impressed by the characters and story. However I wish she had written a different ending but then that's the beauty of being the author!! I already have her next book ready..just as soon as this one stops haunting me!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2008

    Disappointed.

    This book started out very well, and is well written, but focuses more on the relationships than the history or stories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2007

    I can't get it out of my head

    It is impossible not to fall in love with Gwirion and your heart just goes out to him. as the story progresses, you find that Noble values Gwirion more than anyone but he also doesn't want Gwirion to have love or value anything more than him. I can't get this whole story out of my head. and the ending will really get you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013

    This book was surprising with characters you will love. The auth

    This book was surprising with characters you will love. The author keeps the pace throughout the story with a powerful ending.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2013

    recommend

    this is an enjoyable read. It is pure fiction, but does depict the stormy relationship between the Enlish Norman rulers and the Welsh during that period in history.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    Love it

    Love it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2013

    I had high hopes for this book and kept reading thinking it woul

    I had high hopes for this book and kept reading thinking it would pick up. The pace was slow and could be edited down and not lose any of the story. The characters weren't likeable and I didn't really care what happened to any of them. I rarely quit reading a book after I start, but I should have cut my losses with this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 21, 2013

    Fun Read

    Not the best for historical reference but it was a real fun read. More of a Romance novel than I like but it was still entertaining.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)