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Publisher's Summary

Spring 1593. England is a powder keg of rumour and fear. Plague rages, famine is rife, the ageing Queen's couriers scheme: Elizabeth's Golden Age is truly tarnished. Meanwhile Spain watches and waits - and plots. Into this turmoil a small cart clatters through the streets of London, carrying a deadly load. It is the first in a wave of horrific bombing attacks on the Dutch immigrant community that will change John Shakespeare's life for ever. Driven on by cold rage, Shakespeare's investigations will take him from magnificent royal horseraces to the opulent chambers of Black Luce's brothel, from the theatrical underworld of Marlowe and Kyd to the pain-wracked torture cells of priest-hunter Richard Topcliffe, and from the elegant offices of master tactician Robert Cecil to the splintering timbers of an explosive encounter at sea.

As Shakespeare delves ever deeper, he uncovers intricate layers of mystery and deception that threaten the heart not only of the realm, but of all that he holds dear.

©2011 Rory Clements (P)2011 John Murray

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  • Barbara Steffensen
  • 03-08-16

Tut tut

Sorry folks, I was a bit bored with this story.......I kept falling asleep as it didn't come to life until Chapter 20 or around there....

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 04-02-13

Something just didn't seem to work with this story

I found this book pretty disappointing. The narration seemed a little wooden but I am not sure this was the fault of the narrator, but more a sympton of a poorly written book with very flimsy characters. The storyline was good but I just think needed a touch of realism. It came across as rather childishly written.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Alistair
  • 12-12-18

Heavy Readingr

A grim and brutal book made even more unpaletable by short chapters that tend to destroy the flow of the story. Not a bokk I would read or listen to a second time
For me the novel's only redeeming aspect is excellent performance by the narrator Jonathan Aris

2 people found this helpful

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  • Flashman
  • 06-26-18

Very good very interesting lots of twists and turn

Really good will listen to all the rest 9f the series and the modern ones

2 people found this helpful

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  • Phytio
  • 01-20-18

The story zipped along at a nice pace!

One does need to allow for the odd time a plot thread resolves itself in a convenient and fortuitous fashion, but I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure.

2 people found this helpful

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  • James H.
  • 06-16-17

Overly camp narration of an otherwise decent story

This narrator makes Robert Cecil's character sound irritatingly like Julian Clary, which seems an unlikely tone in a man effectively governing a country.
Other than that quite enjoyable!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Neil S Morrison
  • 08-01-15

Do not like change of narrators

Narrator change irritates me in series. Nothing wrong with performance but irritating. It spoils the continuity between books

2 people found this helpful

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  • Janet
  • 08-07-21

Brilliant

I cannot understand why these stories are not made into films. The atmosphere,, etc is so real it's like one is actually there. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Claire
  • 10-04-18

Nothing is what it seems

It is the narrator who brings this book to life. Too often potentially good audio books are ruined by bad choice of narrator but not so here. Extremely enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-15-22

Narration usually excellent …

Did the Liverpool vernacular exist in Elizabethan times? A minor point for an excellent narrator.