Fools and Mortals

Richard Shakespeare, younger brother to playwright William, is a petty thief but he is also an actor, who dreams of a successful stage career. If he can ever be given the chance to play a man, that is. His brother seems determined not to come to his assistance in achieving this dream, and even when he is promised a man’s role within the new play, that is not quite as it seems.

Then, when Richard is given responsibility for the scripts, some of them go missing, and the blame is immediately placed upon him. Richard soon identifies the real culprit and sets off on a dangerous mission to retrieve the playscripts that are so crucial to their theatrical success.

I really enjoyed reading this story. It certainly brought the world of Elizabethan London to life on the page and as a big fan of Shakespeare’s plays there was plenty to enjoy within the descriptions of rehearsals and preparations of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream (and briefly, ‘Romeo and Juliet’). The characters were well thought out and the author’s note at the end of the story gives an insight into just how much research was involved to bring the historical elements into the story.

In terms of negatives, I would say that the book is a little slow at the start and that the adventure across the streets of London, suggested by the blurb, actually happened within a very brief part of the story, so it was not quite what I expected. The main focus of the story is the world of the theatre, so it did not quite deliver the adventure/thriller plot I had thought it would. 

Good to read overall, even though it was not what I’d thought, but I would probably not recommend it to anyone who does not enjoy the works of Shakespeare.

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