MORE to BROWSE - Pages that might be of Interest

Thursday 7 April 2016

F is for... Fortune's Fool

Click Here for a list of other A-Zers

Fortune's Fool

Throughout April I have invited 26 authors who had been selected as Editor's Choice by the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews
 to help me out with the 2016 A-Z Blog Challenge...

Except to be a little different I interviewed 
their leading Character/s...

Today's Characters are from :

HH: Hello! I believe you both exist in David Blixt’s novel FORTUNE’S FOOL. Would you like to introduce yourselves?
Pietro: Who should go first? Do I go first?
Cesco: Certainly, Nuncle. Age before beauty.
Pietro: Experience before insolence, you mean.
Cesco: You sound like your father. (chuckle) That’s it. We’ll introduce each other. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present my foster-father, Ser Pietro Alaghieri, Knight of Verona and renowned jurist, but best known as Pietro di Dante. Alas, unlike his poetical father, he is not at all imaginative.
Pietro: And this imp at my side is the bane of my existence, the bastard heir to Cangrande della Scala, lord of Verona. He is called Cesco, though others have more descriptive titles for him – rascal, scoundrel, rakehell. All at twelve years old. I fear the day he is old enough to wield a sword.
Cesco: Imagine how the sword feels. Oh wait, you have no imagination. Which may be why you spend so much of your life in exile – you cannot imagine other people being less honest than you.
Pietro: I’d take that as a compliment, but I know you too well.

HH: [Wondering if she's done the right thing asking these two onto her blog] 
I see, thank you... er, where and when are you? Are you real historical people, or did your author create you?
Pietro: I’m real enough. I lived in Florence before joining my father in exile, then travelled with him as his fame grew thanks to The Inferno. I wrote commentary about it. I’m in my middle twenties now, but in 1353 I’ll buy a vineyard outside Verona where my family will reside for centuries to come.
Cesco: Tied to one place for eternity – that’s my idea of Hell. But on to me. I’m a little of everything – historical, fictional, mythological, tragical-comical. Cangrande did have a bastard heir – well, several, but only one called Francesco. I briefly conjoin his life. But I was conceived by Shakespeare, and given such life that I had to disappear before I took over his play. I don’t have that name yet, so I shouldn’t say.
Pietro: You skipped mythological.
Cesco: Ah! Yes, I’m also Dante’s prophesized figure Il Veltro – the Greyhound. I have a destiny to light the spark of a new age of man. Everyone seems to know this except me. (Scowling at Pietro) I don’t like secrets.
Pietro: I know. But there are so many.

HH: Mmm, yes. Well moving on.... In a few brief sentences: what is the novel you feature in about?
Cesco: It’s about me.
Pietro: It’s about the age, the blending of Shakespeare’s Italian characters with the real people of Dante’s time. There are my friends Capulet and Montague, but there’s also Shylock, Signor Benedick of Padua, Petruchio of Verona and his Paduan wife Kate, and so many others. All of them meet Cangrande, who was perhaps the greatest leader of the age. My father dedicated the last part of the Divine Comedy to him. He is the prime mover, waging war on Padua, consolidating power in Lombardy, and even looking to supplant the Holy Roman Emperor. The only flaw is the young fool beside me.
Cesco: As I said, it’s about me.

HH: [Definitely wondering what she's got herself into here...]
I ‘met’ my pirate, Jesamiah Acorne on a beach in Dorset, England. How did your author meet up with you two?
Cesco: Pff. What a narcissist. He was pretending to be me.
Pietro: That’s hardly fair. After playing Mercutio several times, he was directing Romeo & Juliet when one line sent him down a rabbit hole of possibility about the origin of the famous feud. He read all Shakespeare’s sources, then moved on to Petrarch and Boccaccio, then noticed that Dante mentions both families. From that moment, he couldn’t not tell this story.

HH: [Glad that was sort of an amicable answer...]
Tell me about one or two of the other characters who feature with you - husband, wife, family? Who are some of the nice characters and who is the nastiest one?
Pietro: Cangrande’s nephew Mastino. He’s the dangerous one. He wants to be Verona’s prince, and is less than thrilled that Cesco here has supplanted him.
Cesco: Figs. Mastino’s a nothing.
Pietro: Discount him at your peril.
Cesco: (ignoring Pietro) I have just a few friends – well, only one, really. My cousin Detto. But I do have loads of rivals, and even some enemies. And there’s this girl…
Pietro: Pardon?
Cesco: Don’t worry. I think she wants to murder me. She definitely wants Cangrande dead.
Pietro: And you’ve fallen for her. Typical.
Cesco: (fuming) Did I say so?
Pietro: You don’t have to.

HH: [Completely understanding why this girl should want to murder Cesco...]
What is your favourite scene in the book?
Pietro: Honestly?
Cesco: No, please lie.
Pietro: There’s a moment when justice is done. Having been unjustly excommunicated - which is completely true - I have the chance to argue my case before the papal court in Avignon, which includes the High Inquisitor Bernardo Gui. Not only do I free a friend and clear my own name, a murderer is revealed and punished. That’s quite satisfying. (Cesco is silent) Cesco? Favourite scene?
Cesco: …I’ll tell you my second favourite. I am kidnapped late in the story, and achieve my own escape. It’s – well, it isn’t easy. But at the end, Cangrande takes me in his arms speaks words I’ve never heard from him.
Pietro: He says he is proud of you.
Cesco: You have to spoil everything, don’t you?
Pietro: Forgive me.
Cesco: (grinning) That’s my job.

HH:  What is your least favourite? Maybe a frightening or sad moment that your author wrote.
Cesco: Go to the devil.
Pietro: The final scene.
Cesco: Stop.
Pietro: It’s difficult to endure.
Cesco: Quiet, Nuncle. Please.
Pietro: At least it’s quick.
Cesco: Shut your filthy mouth!!!
Pietro: I’m so sorry.

Master Blixt
HH: [I wish I hadn't asked that last question ...] 
What are you most proud of about your author? [Do I really want to ask this one?]
Pietro: Giving me a life independent of my famous father.
Cesco: Huh. You know what? I enjoy his wordplay. Or at least the words he gives me to say. I like talking.
Pietro: (throwing up his hands in mock surprise) Ma, non!
Cesco: I also enjoy being smarter than he is.
Pietro: Me?
Cesco: No. The author. I’m much cleverer than he is.

HH: Well, moving on... Has your author written other books about you?
Cesco: Yes, two.
Pietro: Four!
Cesco: Well, THE MASTER OF VERONA is really about you and Cangrande. I’m the MacGuffin, an object, not a character. It’s not until VOICE OF THE FALCONER that I come into my own. Then there’s this one, which is followed at once by THE PRINCE’S DOOM. Those three are actually one big story. One book cannot contain me.
Pietro: There’s also VARNISHED FACES.
Cesco: Pfft. Short stories. They don’t count.
Pietro: I hear he’s working on another novel.
Cesco: Yes, but it’s all about me. You won’t even be in it.
Pietro: We’ll be quits, then, and you can stop pouting.
Cesco: Pouting? I hardly care enough to pout!

HH: [Definitely shouldn't have asked...] How about this one then, guys: As a character, if you could travel to a time and place different to your own fictional setting , where and when would you go?
Pietro: I’d like to go backwards. Talk to Justinian, perhaps. Or maybe Augustus Caesar. The men who created our laws, the rules of our society.
Cesco: Shakespeare’s London. I think I would quite like Christopher Marlowe…

[HH. [Phew what a pair! *laugh*]  
Thank you that was really interesting! Now where can readers of this A-Z Blog Challenge find out more about you and your author?

Twitter: @david_blixt

Here is the company we will be keeping on this 
A-Z Blog Challenge!
A 1st  Friday - Aurelia  - Alison Morton
B 2nd Saturday  - Bloodie Bones - Lucienne Boyce
C 4th Monday - Man in the Canary Waistcoat Susan Grossey
D 5th Tuesday - Dubh-Linn  - James Nelson
F 7th Thursday - Fortune’sFool- David Blixt
H 9th Saturday - The Love Letter of John Henry Holliday - Mary Fancher
K 13th Wednesday - Khamsin- Inge Borg
L 14th Thursday - Luck Bringer   - Nick Brown
N 16th Saturday - A Newfound Land  - Anna Belfrage
O 18th Monday - Out Of Time  - Loretta Livingstone
P 19th Tuesday  - Pirate Code  - Helen Hollick
Q 20th Wednesday - To Be A Queen – Annie Whitehead
R 21st Thursday  - The Spirit Room - Marschel Paul
U 25th Monday  - A Just And Upright Man - John Lynch
X 28th Thursday – The FlaX flower – AmandaMaclean

So call back tomorrow 
To meet the next exciting Character! 
(unless it is Sunday - in which case, I'll have something different 
but just as interesting !)


  1. What an excitable pair! Love the idea of developing Shakespeare's characters like this, sounds fascinating.

    1. Glad I interviewed these two via the internet not in person! *laugh*

  2. Any interview with one of David Blixt's characters (let alone two) was bound to be hilarious. Glad you survived the experience, Helen.

    1. Not sure nI did survive - my head's still reeling! LOL

    2. CESCO: Why? We did all the talking?

      PIETRO: Hush, now.

      CESCO: Oh, that will work.

    3. LOL - you only did all the talking because I couldn't get a word in!

  3. Being something of a Cesco fan, I am not surprised to see him in good form. BUT. Cesco - this is me speaking to you - no hanky panky with girls at your age, okay? Sei troppo giovane, senti? I know of course, that giving you advice is like pouring water on a goose...

    1. Hilarious laughter here Anna - 'Pouring water on a goose'...!!!??? That one I HAVE to see... would anyone be mad enough to get close enough to a goose to pour water? (Not OUR pet goose they wouldn't - he's EVIL!)

    2. CESCO: Too late on the hanky-panky front, Anna, alas. As for your implication that I am too young, well, figs. What a man can do, he may do. As for mean geese, you should try The Prince's Doom. We hold a goose pull, one of the most exciting -

      PIETRO: And barbaric -

      CESCO: - sports around. Oh Nuncle, are you still here? I'm so sorry, I had forgotten. You may go.

    3. In that case I'm not surprised our goose (technically gander) is so bad tempered!

    4. Cesco, my dear, you forget I have read (and wept while doing so) The Prince's Doom. And don't go all inflated on me just because I shed some tears for you, okay?

      And as to pouring water on a goose, mostly they just ruffle themselves back to order seeing as tey're sort of waterproof ;)

    5. LOL Anna its not the ruffled feathers bit on a goose - its the sharp bit at the front you have to beware of - I've the bruises to prove it! :-)

  4. Good grief, Helen, this has to be the most lively cartload of monkeys going. Did you count your fingers afterwards?

    1. LOL - no but I checked I had my money-pouch still with me! and the goose hadn't been half-inched (pinched)

    2. CESCO: Not her monkeys, not her circus.

      PIETRO: That's a trifle anachronistic, don't you think?

      CESCO: What? And commenting upon a blog is not?

      PIETRO: A hit.

    3. LOL! even if the rest of the A-Z doesn't go down well these two Fools have made me laugh outright! (and that means you two, not Master Blixt!)

  5. Brilliant! Stunningly clever concept for the novel. Feel like I've seriously "missed out" by not having stumbled across Cesco and Pietro before. Hope you're not too offended, amici miei :)

    1. The only problem with these two guys.... they're going to be a hard act to follow!

    2. PIETRO: Hardly offended. I'm always surprised when someone knows who I am.

      CESCO: "Stunningly clever." That will be my epitaph.

      PIETRO: Because you're like a stunning hammer, battering everyone with your wit. Such as it is.

      CESCO: Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.

      PIETRO: Ah, I see. When you don't know what to say, quote someone smarter than yourself.

      CESCO: There is no one smarter than myself worth quoting. But it does take wit to pluck the right quote for the right moment.

      PIETRO: "Forgive him, he knows not what he does." Does that fit?

      CESCO: Hardly. And you've mangled it. I am not a crowd. Except inside my head.

      PIETRO: Yes, that must be very crowded. But we've wandered off point. You're here to tell David he hasn't missed out at all.

      CESCO: Except he has.

      PIETRO: No, that's the lovely things about books. They continue to exist. As opposed to theatre, where you were born, which is gone the next day.

      CESCO: There's something beautiful in that. Death is the mother of beauty.

      PIETRO: Whereas literature endures.

      CESCO: Pretty to think so.

  6. Fab!

  7. Oh, I love a good family row! Love the description of how this came about - you never know where those rabbit holes might lead.

    1. CESCO: Adoptive family, please.

      PIETRO: What, ashamed to have been raised as Dante's grandson?

      CESCO: I was thinking only of you, and your precious honour. Don't want to soil it by forcing you to claim me as kin.

      PIETRO: are as close to me as any son could be.

      CESCO: A rhyme! Poetry must be in your blood after all.

      PIETRO: You ignore my heartfelt compliment.

      CESCO: I don't ignore it. I simply didn't acknowledge it. A heart that feels is a heart that can be injured.

      PIETRO: And no one's heart feels more than yours.

      CESCO: Truth is truth. But let's not bandy it about, shall we?

    2. Master Blixt - do these two ever stop bickering? Don't answer that I think I already know the answer! LOL

    3. After Prince's Doom, they are prevented from bickering for a long time to come - if ever again. This is a long-form Tragedy, spread over 8 novels and many short stories. Like the play upon which it is based, it has great humour early on. But we all know how this story ends. It's not the destination, it's the journey.

  8. This has been a delightful romp.... ^_^


Thank you for leaving a comment - it should appear soon. If you are having problems, contact me on author AT helenhollick DOT net and I will post your comment for you. That said ...SPAMMERS or rudeness will be composted or turned into toads.