Books Features Fiction

New Medieval Books: Adèle and Gilbert: A Ballad

Adèle and Gilbert: A Ballad

By D.S. Fly

Privately published through Amazon Kindle

The author explains that “Adèle and Gilbert is a work of historical fiction written as a long narrative poem. The poem is set in fourteenth-century France and Lombardy. The verse is styled after the poetry of authors such as Coleridge, Keats, and Tennyson. As odd as it may seem, the structure of the narrative combines storytelling elements that appear in The Canterbury Tales and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

The book is presented as a long-lost 14th-century tale, which a (fictional) editor has recovered and translated – the story of its ‘discovery’ is narrated in the Introduction.


Who is this book for:

This book is a passion project that has been self-published by the author. That said, it is well done and a good story (especially as it is written in verse), so if you are a fan of historical fiction set in the Middle Ages, you might want to give it a try.

D.S. Fly offers some insights into who this book is for:

Adèle and Gilbert is an allegorical work, primarily designed for an adult readership, although it is the type of work my friends and I would have devoured in our high school days. I suppose the readership I am trying to reach is a subset of the readership to which Umberto Eco sold fifty million copies of The Name of the Rose. I realize that the world has undergone radical change in the decades since Eco published his book; however, the popularity of works such as Game of Thrones indicates that there is still a hunger for works that place the reader/viewer in the midst of a medieval world. The subset of Eco’s readership that I’m attempting to reach consists of those who also hunger for the combination of rhythm, action, ideas, and wordplay that narrative verse delivers. Given that virtually every reader’s first encounter with literature came in the form of children’s books, oftentimes narratives written in rhymed metered verse, it may well be a subset of considerable size. Perhaps it’s the case that a latent desire exists among adult readers to once again enjoy the properties of narrative verse, which they encountered when children — but enjoy in the form of a book written for an adult readership. I know of no such modern books. Adèle and Gilbert is designed to be that book.


The author

D.S. Fly is a retired public school teacher who resides in Texas. He tells us, “There is nothing in my background that recommends me as an author. My work must speak for itself. I have wanted to be a storytelling poet since I read the Comics Illustrated version of the Iliad in junior high school to fake a book report. That effort did not turn out well. Perhaps writing Adèle and Gilbert served as a form of penance for my deception.”

This book is only available as a Kindle Ebook. You can buy it on | |