cover image Revenge of the Rose

Revenge of the Rose

Nicole Galland, . . Morrow, $24.95 (452pp) ISBN 978-0-06-084177-5

With deep nods to the Roman de la Rose , Galland (The Fool's Tale ) has penned a clever novel of courtly love that resolves the ambiguities of the late-medieval work, while leaving some of its own questions. Troubadour Jouglet, honored member of the court of Konrad, the fictional Holy Roman Emperor, has schemed for years to bring his beloved friend Willem of Dole—and Willem's beauteous sister Lienor, whom Jouglet secretly loves—to Konrad's attention. Brought to court, Willem is a great success, but quickly falls prey to intrigue. Evil priest Paul, the emperor's brother, plots with Willem's dishonest kinsman, Alphonse, to destroy the best-laid plans of Jouglet, and of Willem's new friend at court, the lowborn but worthy Marcus, Konrad's steward. Everyone has his own secret (there are broad hints at another object of Jouglet's affections), many of which are flushed out by the appearance of a mysterious rose and a rediscovered ring. The whipsaw plot twists don't always stop short of the breaking point, and the denouement leaves as many questions as it answers, but this court romp entertains with a flourish. (Aug.)