In another departure from his high-suspense detective novels, James Patterson tries his hand at historical fiction and comes up a winner.

Disillusioned by the brutality he has witnessed during the Crusades, Hugh De Lac returns to his village to find it has been pillaged and his wife abducted by knights seeking a valuable treasure.

Determined to find her, he heads out to Lord Baldwin's castle, Treille, where he must pose as a jester to gain entry. Hugh's search for his wife takes him on an adventure-filled journey.

As fast-paced as any thriller, and just as exciting, THE JESTER is a colorful picture of the 11the century and of the types of men and women who survived the often harsh times. It's a good-against-evil story that readers will relish. (Mar., 400 pp., $25.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin