Fools’ Gold by Philippa Gregory

“The four horse riders halted before the mighty closed gates of the city of Ravenna, the snow swirling around their hunched shoulders, while the manservant  Freize, rode up to the wooden doors and, using his cudgel, hammered loudly an shouted: ‘Open up!’

In 1542, Venice was the worlds biggest trading place. Every year at Carnival time millions of people came from all different countries to trade into the latest type of money and prance about in elaborate costumes and masks. Unexpectedly, a new kind of money arrives in the market place: the English gold nobles. No one knew how they came about- or where. But all at once everyone wants them. Soon the nobles go up in price, three ducats to one gold noble. Traders state that they are all pure gold, exactly 108 grams., and people agree with them when most of the coins were weighed and tested in front of their customers. Everyone claims that they came from France where the English lost their battle, therefore losing their coins. But is this really where the coins came from? Why did shed loads of the nobles just suddenly appear in Venice? Are they counterfeit coins? Milord, the wealthy master, has sent Freize, Luca, Isolde, Brother Peter and Ishraq to find out just that.

When I picked up this book the night before it arrived in the post, I thought it was going to be really good. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. I found it very hard to get into. The next day was the same. Two days after that I thought to myself; Come on! You’re a bookworm after all- at least try and finish this book so you can review it! So I read 50 pages that night, and I am so glad I did. After getting to know the characters and the change in history, I started to enjoy it immediately. My favourite character is Freize, the merry servant, always optimistic, his aim in life to keep his horse safe, to achieve his missions and to always make everyone laugh. It was Freize’s personality that kept me going at the start, and so I thank the author for creating such a lively character that I got to the wonderful twist at the end. The age range is 12+ and the publisher is Simon and Schuster.

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