Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Jester, by James Patterson and Andrew Gross

The Jester, by James Patterson and Andrew Gross

I like historical fiction, so I was very disappointed when I finished this book. I picked it up at the library on a whim; I’d read Patterson before and while no Elizabeth George he is usually pretty entertaining. Not so much here. The tone and style of the writing is so simple that I believed at times it was written by the fictional jester (most of it is written in the first person) instead of a professional author. In fact, if it wasn’t for the graphic torture, sadistic violence and rape, and the occasional venture into soft-core porn, I’d have thought this was a young adult novel! The characters were flat and uninteresting. The plot was unbelievable and undeveloped. The anachronisms come early and often. Besides that, though, ...

One point the author did (unintentionally, I believe) make was how petty religious beliefs can be. This story is set during the Crusades, a time where people that believed in one religion invaded, killed, pillaged, and raped those that believed in another religion, all in the name of God. Furthermore, most of the depicted violence in The Jester is committed over the spear that was used to prove Jesus was really dead, the Spear Of Longinus. 500 pages of violence, all over an ancient weapon with supposed mythical powers. The power of devout belief (not only with religion, but in politics, race, patriotism, etc.) is amazingly strong, but when taken to an extreme becomes difficult for me to understand.

First Sentence:
The church bells were ringing.

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