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Fortune's Fool (Star-Cross'd, #3)

Fortune's Fool (Star-Cross'd, #3) - David Blixt David Blixt delivers another thrilling installment in his Star Cross'd series.Picking up right where Voice of the Falconer left off, this third installment in the Star Cross'd series begins by continuing storylines begun in previous volumes, namely: Cesco (Mercutio) fighting to remain unbroken under the merciless training of his father, Cangrande della Scalla; Pietro Alighieri fighting his own excommunication and that of the Scaliger in the corrupt court of the Avignon Pope; and the continuing war and civil unrest in Padua. To this are added the new plot lines involving a disguised assassin, a masked rapist, the Emperor Ludwig, a paternity scandal, and a blossoming romance (although not yet for Romeo and Juliet, as their characters remain small children in this volume).This all makes for compelling reading, peppered with Blixt's usual expert set pieces, in this case involving a jousting/melee tournament, a burning mill, a chase through the canals of Venice, and, unbelievably, an excommunication trial that's as engrossing as a swordfight. Oh, and you get Petrarch and Occam thrown in as well.If you've already invested the time in reading the prior volumes, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up as well. A few plot lines from earlier in the series are finally resolved, sometimes with blood, sometimes without. A few new developments are truely upsetting.However, if you have not read either The Master of Verona or Voice of the Falconer (each which stand on their own, in my opinion), you should not start with Fortune's Fool. As the author's endnote makes clear, this book is very much a continuation of Voice of the Falconer. Like George R.R. Martin, Blixt has trouble fitting all of his narrative within the confines of a single volume, and in the case of Fortune's Fool, it is the middle volume between the storyline started in Falconer and to be ended in the next volume, The Price's Doom. I can't imagine Fortune's Fool making any sense to a reader without knowlegde of the preceeding storyline. Also, being a middle book, this one felt less focused than prior volumes, which had stronger central narratives. With Fortune's Fool, you can feel Blixt letting the canvas of his world expand, and the immersion into the politics of the time feels even deeper than prior volumes. This is a more discursive narrative, and if you enjoy Blixt's 14th century Verona I expect you'll like it.