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1204 A.D. The Fools’ Guild is on the run from an increasingly intolerant Church. Arriving too late at the Guildhall to join them, the jester couple Theophilos and Claudia and their newborn daughter Portia must now flee the Papal army, having first risked their lives to steal, of all things, a tavern sign. As they journey across the Alps, Theophilos recounts to his wife a story from the Third Crusade, of the most beautiful woman in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and her dwarf jester, Scarlet.
In 1191, as Richard the Lionhearted leads his forces in an attempt to recapture Jerusalem from the army of Saladin, Theophilos and Scarlet are quietly manipulating events to bring about an end to the bloodshed. Their mission leads them to Tyre, the only city in the Kingdom of Jerusalem to withstand Saladin. Governed by a rogue general, the city is aswarm with refugees, spies, and splintered factions vying for power and position, and even success may only prove fatal. The key chesspiece amidst the swirling intrigues remains Isabelle, the Queen of Jerusalem, desired by many but married against her will to a man decades her senior. But there are forces at work that will stop at nothing, and it is up to Scarlet to protect the interests of the Guild, the lives of the people, and the future of Isabelle.
Drawn from actual events, The Widow of Jerusalem is a tale of intrigue and ambition, love fulfilled and love unrequited, and a trio of historical deaths that have never been fully explained. Until now.
About the Author
Alan Gordon is an attorney with the Legal Aid Society and the author of three previous books featuring the jester (Thirteenth Night, Jester Leaps In, and A Death in the Venetian Quarter). He lives with his family in Queens, New York.]
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Fool¿s Guild turns out jesters and troubadours and sends them out in the world to entertain the various classes. They are also brilliant intelligence gathers who work behind the scenes to try and maintain the peace and when that is impossible influence the nobles into situations that will settle hostilities. Theophilus, a very good Fool, is sent by the Guild to Acre in the year 1191 to help his colleague Scarlet the Dwarf end the Third Crusade and bring peace to the region. The two Fools divert supplies meant for Richard the Lionhearted sending them to the city of Tyre whose leaders are allowing the refugees displaced by the war to live in a tent city outside the walls. The Queen of Jerusalem Isabelle and her husband Conrad, the Marquis of Montferrat supply them with food whenever they can. Scarlet who is devoted to his queen urges her to marry Champagne when her husband is murdered. When the crusaders return home Theophilus goes with them but he has to return years later and to finally figure who was behind the conspiracy that led to Conrad¿s death. Readers will be amazed by what the Fools can accomplish as spies working behind the scene to maneuver political events. Theophilus is a fascinating character who operates on different levels with different people. His skills as an entertainer enable him to spy on the nobles when they are plotting something because they underestimate the intelligence of a Fool. WIDOW OF JERUSALEM is a fascinating look at the various players who have a pivotal role in the Third Crusade. Harriet Klausner