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Review--Revenge of the Rose, by Nicole Galland


Revenge of the Rose is a satirical view of courtly love in the thirteenth century. The book takes place in the court of the fictional Konrad, Holy Roman Emperor. At the behest of Konrad's troubadour, Jouglet, a young knight named Willem comes to court, where he shines on the jousting field. His success is detrimental to three major men at court: Marcus, Konrad's best friend, who is engaged to marry the love of his life and is afraid that she'll be taken away from him; Alphonse, Konrad's sneaky uncle; and the emperor's brother, a clergyman, none of whom are impressed with or thrilled by the sudden elevation to prominence of a "nobody" provincial knight and his sister, Lienor, whom Konrad wishes to marry.

The novel is witty and lively, and peppered with characters with secrets. Although those same characters seem one-dimensional and wooden at times, Nicole Galland has a sense of humor that shines through in this, her second novel, which was based on Jean Renart's Roman of the Rose (Konrad is based on Otto IV). It's a highly enjoyable novel (though not completely historically accurate by any stretch of the imagination) and I look forward to reading Galland's next book, Crossed, about the fourth crusade.

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Pages: 972Originally published: 1944My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press)How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

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