A retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear from the perspective of the court jester. Pocket is the court jester for the aged King Lear. He was abandoned as a child and raised in a nunnery. Once grown he joins a traveling troupe of actors and when they perform at the royal court, Pocket is the only person who can make the young princess Cordelia laugh.
He remains at court in an official capacity and becomes close to Cordelia, even scheming with the meddling, illegitimate Edmund, in order to prevent her being married off.
At Edmund's urging the King brings all his three daughters together in front of the court and asks them to pledge their undying love. Goneril and Regan do so without hesitation, but Cordelia thinks the stunt is silly and says so, and despite being the most loyal and loving of the three girls is disinherited and banished for it. The loyal Earl of Kent is also banished during the ensuing argument.
Cordelia is sent off to marry King Geoff of France and the King takes his court traveling to visit his other daughters, but he is not well received. Pocket helps the Earl of Kent disguise himself and thus remain close during the travels. Meanwhile Edmund plots to murder his brother Edgar takes Pocket's apprentice Drool as a hostage.
Wanting both Cordelia and Drool back home, Pocket plots a way to fix things and avenge the wrongs done to them. He forges letters to make Regan and Goneril believe they are sleeping with the same man, causing the sisters to plot war against each other.
Pocket goes to some witches for help, who tell him he will cause a war. A mysterious ghost also starts appearing to the fool, with cryptic rhyming messages, and a hidden agenda of revenge.
Meanwhile Cordelia amassing an army in France and attacks England, and Lear is descending into madness as he comes to realize he has made a mistake. When the King wanders madly into a storm, Pocket goes with him and discovers secrets that illuminate his true place in the palace.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's very funny, even while it is telling a tragic tale.
Best scene in story:
King Lear in the storm, it's the highlight of the book before things get a bit over-complicated in the finale.
Opinion about the main character:
He is smart and cunning, and very funny, even though he is ultimately very selfish.