A feel-good romp of a novel that bears more than a passing resemblance to Shakespeare in Love, albeit without the romance and emotional edge. I mean, an extraordinary thing is, in 1595, Shakespeare wrote two plays. Unable to get a green card, he started writing novels, as this did not require a work permit. However, I requested this book more because of who wrote it than what it was about and went in without being overly excited about it caught me from the off and was a surprise hit with me! There's no doubt that Bernard Cornwell writes with great skill, and he really brings the Elizabethan era to life. Originally published at If the title sounds familiar, it should. That is the sum total that we know about Richard Shakespeare. At this time Shakespeare is writing Romeo and Juliet and is about to perform A Midsummer Nights Dream for a wealthy patron.
Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. The theaters were all located outside the city boundaries of London in order to mitigate this problem, but they were still harassed at every turn. Richard Burbage, Henry Condell, Alexander Cooke, and Kit Saunders were being rehearsed by Alan Rust, while the other players looked on. Both of these things I have come to expect from Bernard. This group is the Lord Chamberlain Men, led by playwright William Shakespeare. I mean there are chairs in Shakespeare.
When we had read the scene the first time people had laughed at the fight between the two girls, but the weather seemed to have dampened all our spirits, and no one seemed to have any enthusiasm. Whether the actors would get through the situation and pull it off or whether Shakespeare was just a flash in the pan well I guess I knew the answer to that. Over at the Theatre, Richard Shakespeare is struggling to survive on the measly wages he receives. Between them stands Sagan, the gentle brother who will dedicate his life to building a temple he hopes will bring health and peace to the land. The danger of living and especially worshipping in Elizabetha England pervades as does the day-to-day running of the early theater. How amazing that his work has survived the test of time and is beloved to this day! The theaters were all located outside the city boundaries of London in order to mitigate this problem, but they were still harassed at every turn.
But are they telling the truth? Thomas Judd does a good job narrating the book. A gripping story of rivalry and ambition, loyalty and love set in the heart of Elizabethan England. I wonder how you navigate when to be faithful to history and when to depart from it. It may first have been performed at a royal wedding, but no one knows for certain. Cornwell creates is a working actor, somewhat younger than his brother and definitely at odds with him. The popularity of plays with audiences puts pressure for new plays on a continuous basis, leading to a demand for writers to satisfy the demands of growing audiences.
He moves from the younger women to the older as his voice changes, but he longs to play a real man's part. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. This was just so bland and tame in comparison, though. In 1987, he also published Redcoat, an American Revolutionary War novel set in Philadelphia during its 1777 occupation by the British. But I am fascinated by what happens at the Restoration.
When Will Kempe leaves, another clown took over, called Robert Armin, and he was much more of an intellectual clown. Bernard Cornwell is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. I have listened to more than 15 of his books and was greatly disappointed. The various actors and they were all actors — women could not perform on the stage at this point in time are well done and really brought to life. Which, if you consider they were closed for Lent, is a lot.
Puritans are trying to close the Theatre, Richard is fed up with playing women, and someone has stolen some of Will's plays. I mean, he was very nice about it. It began with the betrayal of a lord by a king. I enjoyed that the focus isn't so much on William but on his youn A feel-good romp of a novel that bears more than a passing resemblance to Shakespeare in Love, albeit without the romance and emotional edge. And he dislikes you because you have what God never granted him. When anarchy explodes in Paris, he's thrust into the revolutionary army poised to march against Britain. They need to be trimmed.
Unfortunately my understanding is that the show has been cancelled after only one season, but I watched the whole season and really loved it. Cornwell depicts the changing nature of the theater. In the heart of Elizabethan England, Richard Shakespeare dreams of a glittering career in one of the London playhouses, a world dominated by his older brother, William. I'd recommend this to fans of Cornwell and anyone wanting to read about 16th century London. Cornwell does a wonderful job in making the Elizabethan world of London, Shakespeare, and theatre come vibrantly alive. His well researched tale about the performance of A Mid Summer Nights Dream at the wedding of their sponsors daughter in 1795 at which Queen Elizabeth was in attendance , is a delight to read. A series of contemporary thrillers with sailing as a background and common themes followed: Wildtrack published in 1988, Sea Lord aka Killer's Wake in 1989, Crackdown in 1990, Stormchild in 1991, and Scoundrel, a political thriller, in 1992.
Cornwall's love of Shakespeare is transparent in the title of this novel and the knowledge of the Shakespeare plays permeating the narrative. However, I found it really difficult to invest in any of the characters. It was bad enough that women were being shown on stage, but it was even worse that they were being played by boys. And when some treasured play scripts disappear, Richard vows to find and return them, but he asks for a particular reward: a good man's part written just for him. And among the missing papers is a new play that Will has just finished--his Romeo and Juliet! Every actor received his part, and no other, which meant that for this wedding play there would be fifteen or so copied parts, which, if they were joined together, would make the whole play.
There are no great battle scenes, either in a dark age Shield Wall or a 19th Century battle line. Yes, in parts, but then other parts fell flat for me. But he is a penniless actor, making ends meet through a combination of a beautiful face, petty theft and a silver tongue. I was hoping for some more of that here, but sadly no. As it turns out, I didn't have anything to fear, it's a great book, but if I had to criticise anything, it would be the slightly repetitive nature of his storytelling. Cornwell fattens up this story with a splendor of period detail, introducing a range of London characters from cutpurses and bear-baiters to noblemen, and distinguishing each through colorful speech and dress. Still, I will try the author's other work.