Monday, November 16, 2015

Fools’ Gold (Order of Darkness Book Three) by Philippa Gregory

 Title: Fools’ Gold (Order of Darkness Book Two)
Author: Philippa Gregory
Read by: Nicola Barber
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 9.5 hours (8 CDs)
Source: Simon & Schuster Audio Review Copy – Thank-you!

Five unlikely heroes are traveling together in the late fifteenth century.  Lady Isolde is a grand lady who has been disinherited by her brother and is seeking her powerful godfather to gain his aide to take back her inheritance.  Ishraq is Lady Isolde’s Muslim friend who is an educated lady with a mind of her own in a world where this is not admired in a woman.  Luca is a young handsome monk who is following the orders of a mysterious lord in charge of the Order of Darkness.  Luca is an inquisitor looking for signs of the end times.  His servant Freize has a zest for life and love is traveling with him as well as the older Brother Peter who is serving as Luca’s secretary.

In Fools’ Gold these heroes find themselves in fifteenth century Venice with a mission to find “fools’ gold” being made by counterfeiters.  The heroes disgust themselves as a grand lord (Luca) traveling with his sister (Isolde) and older brother (Brother Peter) and their servants (Ishraq and Frieze).  Their story is that they are waiting for a ship to come in with a great amount of merchandise and would like to trade this merchandise for gold.  They find the City swept away with the love for the English gold noble that seems to gain value with each passing day.  Searching more into this they find a duo of alchemists that seem to have found the Philosopher’s stone that can turn base metal into gold and produce the elixir of life.  They also find themselves swept away by the beauty, frivolity, and passion of Venice.  Will love be found?  Will they discover the secret of the fools’ gold?  And why exactly does their Lord want them to find this gold?

I really enjoyed this audiobook.  I’ve enjoyed Philippa Gregory’s novels in the past, but I am really loving this series. I love how it is a unique blend of historical fiction and fantasy.  I also love how the struggle between the Christian and Muslim worlds is relevant to our current struggles today.  I find the characters interesting and well-drawn.  In particular I like Ishraq’s struggles as an educated Muslim woman trying to make it in a Christian world.  There was a bit more romance in this novel then the last, it should make things interesting in the future.  

Nicola Barber is fantastic narrator and this audiobook moved at a quick pace which kept me interested on the daily commute.  This young adult novel works very well as an audiobook.

Overall, Fools’ Gold is an entertaining young adult novel with a unique premise that is a great blend of historical fiction and fantasy.  I am looking forward to the next installment in this series.

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