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Fools’ Guild Mystery Books In Order

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Publication Order of Fools' Guild Books

Thirteenth Night (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jester Leaps In (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Death in the Venetian Quarter (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Widow of Jerusalem (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Antic Disposition (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lark's Lament (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Moneylender of Toulouse (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Parisian Prodigal (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Fools’ Guild Mystery series by Alan Gordon
Author Alan Gordon pens the “Fools’ Gold Mystery” series of novels. The first novel, “Thirteenth Night” was released in the year 1999. The series is from the genre of historical mystery.

The series is centered around the Fools’ Guild, an investigative agency that looks into different people’s deaths and trying to maintain a certain amount of order. The books are set in the late twelfth century and early thirteenth century.
“Thirteenth Night” is the first novel in the “Fools’ Guild Mystery” series, which was released in the year 1999. Orsino has died. The message sends jester Feste, while disguised as a German merchant, back to a duchy that he thwarted plans of Saladin’s agent, named Malvolio, and secured the duchy for Orsino and Viola, his bride.

Feste, working for the Fools’ Guild, has to uncover how Orsino died, be it murder, accident, and suicide. Did Malvolio come back to win the revenge that he swore? Or has some other, much more sinister cabal sunk the duchy into political upheaval?

From the high seas to the fetid canals in Venice to the castles and some hidden Roman tunnels in Orsino.

This is a brilliant, hilarious, and enjoyable read that kicks the series off rather nicely. The characters are intriguing and the mystery is well-written.

“Jester Leaps In” is the second novel in the “Fools’ Guild Mystery” series, which was released in the year 2000. In 13th century Europe, political turmoil has become the order of the day and the Fools’ Guild, along with its agents-the jugglers, jesters, and knaves to a man- is working behind the scenes to manipulate different events. Their goal is to maintain a balance of power.

Thophilos, who is a Guild member known by many aliases, is still recovering from his previous mission where he was horribly wounded and came close to losing his life. But, in Viola, he found both an apprentice and a wife. There is no rest for the wicked at all. While he recovers on the Dalmatian coast, the Guild visits him and has another mission for him.

A crusade is being set up, with Venice being the staging area, but there are those that believe Venice is going to try to turn it to it’s own ends. Meanwhile, there is trouble with the Byzantine throne, some pretender to the throne is gathering up some European backers. To make things even worse, each of the agents of the Guild in Constantinople have mysteriously vanished all of a sudden.

Now, Viola and Theophilos, who are newly married, have to go to Constantinople for information, stop the war, thwart the Guild’s rivals, and stay alive, maybe.

The amount of research done to bring this period to live was impressive, as is the depiction of Constantinople. The book has a tight plot and some excellent word play and scenes.

“A Death in the Venetian Quarter” is the third novel in the “Fools’ Guild Mystery” series, which was released in the year 2002. The year is 1203 and the relative peace of the Byzantine Empire gets imperiled as the ships of the Fourth Crusade arrive outside the walls of Constantinople. Instead of going to the Holy Land in order to battle infidels, the Crusade, already having sailed out of Venice, has just been subverted and now besieges the city. Feste, the jester, along with his wife Viola, and the rest of their compatriots in the city are faced with catastrophe while the peace the Fools’ Guild has toiled so hard to keep up is close to being shattered.

With this kind of disaster coming, one silk merchant in the Venetian Quarter of Constantinople dying seems rather insignificant by comparison. Yet Philoxenites, one of the most powerful schemers at court and the Imperial Treasurer, has taken a bit of a special interest in the case and wants Feste to investigate the death of the Venetian merchant’s death. The merchant was, of course, not what he appeared to be, and Feste has to quickly figure out what forces were at work when the merchant died if Constantinople is to have any hope whatsoever of surviving those troops outside its gates.

These books get better with each one that comes out. Each of the characters are endearing in their way, and the stories are brilliant.

“The Widow of Jerusalem” is the fourth novel in the “Fools’ Guild Mystery” series, which was released in the year 2003. The year is 1204 A.D. The Fools’ Guild is running from an increasingly intolerant Church. Coming to the Guildhall too late to join them, Claudia and Theophilos (the jester couple) and their newborn daughter Portia have to now flee from the Papal army, just having risked their lives to steal a tavern sign, of all things. While they travel across the Alps, Theophilos recounts to Claudia a story going back to the Third Crusade, of the most beautiful woman in all of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Scarlet, her dwarf jester.

In the year 1191, while Richard the Lionhearted leads his forces to try and recapture Jerusalem from Saladin’s army, Scarley and Theophilos quietly manipulate events to bring an end to the bloodshed. Their mission takes them to Tyre, which is the only city in Jerusalem that was able to withstand Saladin. The city, governed by a rogue general, is filled with spies, refugees, and different splintered factions that are vying for position and power. Success here may even prove to be deadly.

The key piece in all of this is Isabelle (the Queen of Jerusalem), who is desired by many but has been married against her will to a man decades older. There are forces working that will stop at nothing, and it is Scarlet’s job to protect the Guild’s interest, the future of Isabelle, and the lives of all the people.

The story is woven well around a certain point in history and the people involved in this part of history. This is another entertaining read from this series that has readers enjoying their time with and look forward to coming back to.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Fools’ Guild Mystery

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