Feste the Fool is a juggler, joker, singer, acrobat, and master of many languages, and a player of reknown in the courts of the dukes and kings of medieval Europe. He is also a spy, and an political agent provocateur of great skill. The Guild of Fools, hidden somewhere in the Dolomite mountains in Europe, may seem like just another trade union but it has political intrigues going on from Ireland to Damascus. Like any school of spies it has its own passwords and deadly secret tricks of the trade. But Feste is feeling deflated and profoundly bored and has made a close acquaintance with the town barkeeper. His last mission was a failure and he is beginning to feel his age.
Then a message from the past reignites his passion for intrigue: "Orsino is dead." The characters of Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' are in fact his old friends, when he was in the guise of Feste the Fool. Except that is for Malvolio, who swore revenge on them all. Now he commissioned by the Guild to go back to Illyria and investigate what he feels is not an innocent death. This time the stakes are higher and he will not work alone, another brother Fool will play the travelling court jester and he will go disguised as a merchant back to Illyria on the Dalamtian coast and join up with his accomplice there. Even more disturbing, powerful forces are moving against the Guild of Fools and their security may have been partly breached.
When he arrives everyone is suspicious of strangers and no one seems above suspicion. People change with the years in looks and temperament. Memories fade in some ways, remain sharp in others. His disguise and cover story barely hold up in this atmosphere. Then, one by one, more deaths occur. A deadly crossbow assassin stalks them--perhaps the invisible Malvolio--who seems able to pick them all off at will. He must unravel multiple murders and attempted murders, and do so knowing that he is high on Malvolio's hate list too. The child duke has to live past his eleventh birthday if he is to ascend his father's throne. Ensuring this will be Feste's hardest task, that, and staying alive. Eventually he must flush out the assassin and take him on man to man, after all, that is what they both really want.
The review of this Book prepared by Michael JR Jose