Another reason why I liked it was that, in a way, it was not sad, even if it was historically accurate; sincerely, when I read the blurb, and in any case knowing the history, I thought it was not possible for this story to be “light” or happy, at least not for all the people involved: Christopher “Kit” Marlowe was a wonderful poet and writer who died to young and in a stupid way; William Shakespeare was probably the most famous playwriter of his time, but sincerely, on a personal level, he was not as interesting as Kit was. So what really could have attracted me in a story about how William became famous, maybe “stealing” Kit’s work, the work of a dead man?... I will not say! You have to trust me, and my word, and read by yourself, but I’m sure even the most romantic reader will be not disappointed.
Another point that I want to highlight is that, even if the book was for sure well researched, it’s not pedantic; while the story evolves, the writing style is easy and flowing, and there is no pedantic highlighting of how good the author was in mixing reality and fiction. The at the end of the book, and only at the end, he retraces all the historical details he used in the story to let you know what was fact and what was fiction; in this way, if you want you can read them, if not, you are not bothered during the reading.
The story moves from England to Italy, and in Italy, from Venice, to Padua, to Verona and then Milan and Sicily. Not only is the English setting well planned/plotted, but also the foreign one, and I can tell I live in Padua and I studied in Venice! If I really want to search for the needle in the haystack, there is no Via Avagoria in Padua, and there never was, and it’s quite impossible that someone “ran out into the street and began shouting “Carabinieri…Polizia…Carabinieri…””
So yes, I strongly recommend this book to all the historical fiction lovers, plus also to that romantic reader who wants to try something different.
Amazon: The Shakespeare Conspiracy: A Novel About the Greatest Literary Deception of All Time
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: AuthorHouse (July 13, 2010)