Excerpt from The Jester by Andrew Gross, James Patterson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Jester by Andrew Gross, James Patterson X
The Jester by Andrew Gross, James Patterson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2003, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2004, 416 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Everyone in town stood and stared. Children ran out and danced around the approaching monk. No one had ever seen anything like it before. Nothing ever happened here!

I was struck with a kind of wonderment. "Sophie, tell me, what do you see?"

"What do I see? Either the holiest army I've ever seen or the dumbest. In any case, it's the worst equipped."

"But look, not a noble anywhere. Just common men and women. Like us."

Below us, the vast column wound into the main square and the queer monk at its head tugged his mule to a stop. A bearded knight helped him slide off. Father Leo, the town's priest, went up to greet him. The singing stopped, weapons and packs were laid down. Everyone in our town was pressed around the tiny square. To listen.

"I am called Peter the Hermit," the monk said in a surprisingly strong voice, "urged by His Holiness Urban to lead an army of believers to the Holy Land to free the holy sepulchre from the heathen hordes. Are there any believers here?"

He was pale and long nosed, resembling his mount, and his brown robes had holes in them, threadbare. Yet as he spoke, he seemed to grow, his voice rising in power and conviction.

"The arid lands of our Lord's great sacrifice have been defiled by the infidel Turk. Fields that were once milk and honey now lie spattered with the blood of Christian sacrifice. Churches have been burned and looted, sainted sites destroyed. The holiest treasures of our faith, the bones of saints, have been fed to dogs; cherished vials filled with drops of the Savior's own blood, poured into heaps of dung like spoiled wine."

"Join us," many from the ranks called out loudly. "Kill the pagans and sit with the Lord in Heaven."

"For those who come," the monk named Peter went on, "for those who put aside their earthly possessions and join our Crusade, His Holiness Urban promises unimaginable rewards. Riches, spoils, and honor in battle. His protection for your families who dutifully remain behind. An eternity in Heaven at the feet of our grateful Lord. And, most of all, freedom. Freedom from all servitude upon your return. Who will come, brave souls?" The monk reached out his arms, his invitation almost irresistible.

Shouts of acclamation rose throughout the square. People I had known for years shouted, "I . . . I will come!"

I saw Matt, the miller's older son, just sixteen, throw up his hands and hug his mother. And Jean the smith, who could crush iron in his hands, kneel and take the Cross. Several other people, some of them just boys, ran to get their possessions, then merged with the ranks. Everyone was shouting, "Dei leveult!" God wills it!

My own blood surged. What a glorious adventure awaited. Riches and spoils picked up along the way. A chance to change my destiny in a single stroke. I felt my soul spring alive. I thought of gaining our freedom, and the treasures I might find on the Crusade. For a moment I almost raised my hand and called out, "I will come! I will take the Cross."

But then I felt Sophie's hand pressing on mine. I lost my tongue.

Then the procession started up again. The ranks of farmers, masons, bakers, maids, whores, jongleurs, and outlaws hoisting their sacks and makeshift weapons, swelling in song. The monk Peter mounted his donkey, blessed the town with a wave, then pointed east.

I watched them with a yearning I thought had long been put behind me. I had traveled in my youth. I'd been brought up by goliards, students and scholars who entertained from town to town. And there was something that I missed from those days. Something my life in Veille du Père had stilled but not completely put aside.

I missed being free, and even more than that, I wanted freedom for Sophie and the children we would have one day.

Copyright © 2003 by James Patterson

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Calypso
    Calypso
    by David Sedaris
    David Sedaris' Calypso is every bit as hilarious and irreverent, as clever and incisive, as ...
  • Book Jacket: The Word Is Murder
    The Word Is Murder
    by Anthony Horowitz
    A wealthy widow enters a London funeral home to make arrangements for her own funeral. Six hours ...
  • Book Jacket: Call Me American
    Call Me American
    by Abdi Nor Iftin
    As a boy growing up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin loved watching action ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Place for Us
    by Fatima Farheen Mirza

    A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

If You See Me, Don't Say Hi by Neel Patel

Patel's stories introduce a bold and timely new literary voice.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A P Saved I A P E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.