The world of Elizabethan theatre is bought to life with all its ribaldry, humour, vulnerability and roughness. Gives a real sense of what life was like as a player, while keeping a certain distance from the great man, Will, himself. Unusually for Cornwell, the passion is mainly in the subject matter rather than the characters. His depiction of Richard Shakespeare and the other main characters has a curious lightness compared to any of his more robust and character-driven much-loved historical action novels.
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An excellent read. Bernard Cornwell transports you into Shakespear's era and pulls it off with the pure ease of one who has observed the behaviour of the people in Old London as though he lived there himself. He then inter mingles the characters in his novel and their lives to reflect the challenges of the characters' lives in the plays .
Having been an avid consumer of Cornwell's previous work I was keen to read this book. Unfortunately I found the plot too simple, the characters undeveloped, and the writing repetitious. Phrases like 'boots crunching in the snow', and 'ceruse mixed with pearl to mske the skin glisten' are used over and over again. In addition, there are pages and pages of description of the plot of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' which are completely superfluous.