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The Lark's Lament

by Alan Gordon

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971279,510 (3.86)6
In 1204 A.D., the Fools' Guild is in hiding, under attack from the forces of Pope Innocent III. Theophilos and Claudia, jesters with the Guild, are sent to enlist the help of a former guild member - the minstrel Folquet, now the abbot Folq at a Cistercian monastery - to intercede with the pope on their behalf. But while they are at the abbey pleading their case, a gruesome murder takes place - a monk is killed in the librarium and a cryptic message written on the wall in his blood. In the wake of the murder, Folq issues an ultimatum to Theophilos. If he learns the meaning of the message and finds the killer, Folq will help the Guild. But if the Jester fails, Folq will have the pope declare the Guild anathema. With the future of the Guild on the line, Theophilos, his wife, and their apprentice go off in search of Folquet's past and the meaning of the message, uncovering a long-ago series of events that were as deadly then as they are proving to be now.… (more)
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The wonderful thing about so many mystery series is that they take us to a corner of time and/or life that we are unfamiliar with and introduce us to new characters and locations. Alan Gordon has given us the world of early 13th century France and our characters are members of the Fools Guild. Theo and Claudia travel around France with their baby daughter, Portia, and their young apprentice, Helga. As they go from village to village, they put on shows to support themselves. The guild has secret whistles to identify themselves and members offer them housing, though not always graciously. They offer to help a guild member who is now a monk and it seems that someone is after him for a long past transgression. Another monk is killed and the lines of a song are lettered on the wall in his blood. Theo is asked to track down the origin of the song and find out why someone is out for the monk. We follow them as they follow clues.

I really enjoyed this book and will be on the lookout for earlier books of this series. ( )
  mamzel | Aug 29, 2010 |
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In 1204 A.D., the Fools' Guild is in hiding, under attack from the forces of Pope Innocent III. Theophilos and Claudia, jesters with the Guild, are sent to enlist the help of a former guild member - the minstrel Folquet, now the abbot Folq at a Cistercian monastery - to intercede with the pope on their behalf. But while they are at the abbey pleading their case, a gruesome murder takes place - a monk is killed in the librarium and a cryptic message written on the wall in his blood. In the wake of the murder, Folq issues an ultimatum to Theophilos. If he learns the meaning of the message and finds the killer, Folq will help the Guild. But if the Jester fails, Folq will have the pope declare the Guild anathema. With the future of the Guild on the line, Theophilos, his wife, and their apprentice go off in search of Folquet's past and the meaning of the message, uncovering a long-ago series of events that were as deadly then as they are proving to be now.

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