Fortune's Fool (novel)
|Series||Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms|
|Publisher||LUNA Books (Harlequin Enterprises)|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|LC Class||PS3562.A246 F675 2007|
|Preceded by||One Good Knight|
|Followed by||The Snow Queen|
Fortune's Fool is a fantasy novel by Mercedes Lackey, published in 2007 and is the third book in the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. As in the previous book, One Good Knight, characters from the first and second are either mentioned or appear as secondary characters.
Fortune’s Fools is a story involving Ekaterina (Katya), youngest daughter of the Sea King and Prince Sasha of Led Belarus, seventh son of King Pieter. The novel starts with Katya being sent by her father to investigate rumours of bad news on the island of Nippon. Unlike the majority of Sea People, Katya is magically amphibious and is used by her father to spy on Drylanders (humans). Due to tasting dragon’s blood, Katya is able to speak with animals and is also able to speak and understand foreign languages.
In Nippon, Katya is able to help a kitsune stop an evil sorceress from conquering the island and gains a valuable gift. The gift is an origami crane that can be sent to pass messages to people Katya knows or magically target someone who she needs.
The Sea King sends her on another reconnaissance mission to Led Belarus, under the suspicion that it is too quiet and is a target for evil forces. Katya finds out that Prince Sasha is using his powers as a Seventh Son, a Fortunate Fool, and a Songweaver to subtly manipulate the Tradition into making Led Belarus a peaceful and prosperous kingdom.
As the pair has no royal duties to fulfil, they decide to spend time with each other and fall in love. Soon Katya is sent on another mission, to investigate the disappearance of magical maidens near the castle of the Katschei. In disguise, Katya is kidnapped and taken to the castle by a Jinn. Since he has taken over the castle, the Tradition forces him to kidnap young women, the Jinn uses that to his advantage and kidnaps magical young women so he can take their magic. Although the Jinn is able to sense when the women use magic, Katya tries to convince the others to escape. She sends out her paper bird to seek help from the nearest Champions.
When no sign of Katya arrives, Sasha decides to go after her despite not knowing her location. On the guidance of some witches, Sasha travels to the forest where Baba Yaga resides because she has something he needs. Sasha pretends to be a deaf-mute and becomes Baba Yaga’s temporary servant. Baba Yaga sets him up with the task of cleaning her stables where he meets Sergi, the Humpbacked Horse and frees him along with Baba Yaga’s steed, a Wise (intelligent) goat, and her tracker, a Wise Wolf.
During the escape, Sasha ends up in the Kingdom of the Copper Mountain and is able to convince its Queen to help him. She sends him towards the Sea King and the Sea King sends him to two Dragons, the champions who found Katya’s bird. Meanwhile, Katya and the growing number of girls are able to work out they can use the Law of Names to re-seal the Jinn into his bottle. However finding the bottle itself proves difficult in a castle guarded by men and the Jinn himself.
Sasha and the dragons, Gina and Adamant, try to work out a plan to save the girls and stop the Jinn. The trio also manage to convince the Queen of the Copper Mountain to lead them aid. Using Sergi as a messenger, the captives and the rescuers are able to work out a plan of attack. Katya sends the girls to escape via tunnels dug by the Copper Mountain subjects and sets out to confront the Jinn with help from the dragons and Sasha. The battle becomes a stalemate until the Queen appears to lend them the power of Earth. Katya seals the Jinn in his bottle and has Sergi send him back to the City of Brass.
In the epilogue of the story, the castle of Katschei becomes the Belarus Chapter of the Champions Order of Glass Mountain. The majority of the cast are affiliated with the order and spend their time living happily ever after.
- The novel references the film Finding Nemo when the characters mention that all sea birds say is "Mine".
- The novel also contains a few references to previous villains of Lackey's novels. The castle was previously owned by a Katschei who tried to defy the Tradition and was defeated in The Fairy Godmother, and several characters reference their fear of Chernobog, a demonic, godlike figure who is the main villain of the Heirs of Alexandria series.
- The City of Brass, where the djinn are said to live, is the name of a story in the Arabian Nights, as well as being the planar home of djinn and efreets in Dungeons & Dragons.
- The Queen of the Copper Mountain is based on the character the Mistress of the Copper Mountain.
- "The Malachite Box" (in Russian). The Live Book Museum. Yekaterinburg. Retrieved 22 November 2015.