Thirteenth Night by Alan Gordon
When William Shakespeare was writing plays for the Globe Theater, he often used existing stories as the foundation for his plays. Using an existing story has the advantage that many people already know and like the characters and are familiar with the basic plot. So it seems appropriate that Gordon has chosen to piggy-back his book onto Shakespeareâ€™s play Twelfth Night.
Thirteenth Night basically picks up the characters of Twelfth Night fifteen years later. For those of you who have forgotten, Twelfth Night was about a young brother and sister who are shipwrecked at Orsino, separated, find love, are reunited, and thwart the power hungry Malvolio. Gordonâ€™s story presents us with a slightly different picture of events â€“ these incidents didnâ€™t happen by accident, but were engineered by the fool Feste. Feste is a member of the Foolâ€™s Guild, a secret organization that seeks to subtly manipulate leaders and governments toward what it feels are more favorable outcomes.
Fifteen years later, a message finds Feste and the Foolâ€™s Guildhall informing him that the Duke of Orsino is dead and Feste is sure that Malvolio has come back for his revenge. Feste makes his way back to Orsino in disguise and tries to uncover determine if Malvolio is behind the Dukeâ€™s death and, if so, determine his present identity among Festeâ€™s old friends in Orsino.
This book is a delightful blend of history, literature, supposition, and conspiracy. Gordon weaves us a great tale about the secret and serious life of a fool. The writing, characters, and setting are all good and tickle the imagination. And, of course, the fools provide the humor.
Favorite character? Feste, who doesnâ€™t juggle as well as he used to. Did I guess it? Most of it. Will I read another? Definitely.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007