On May 30th, 1593, a celebrated young playwright was killed in a tavern brawl in London. That, at least, was the official version. Now, let Christopher Marlowe tell you the truth: that his 'death' was an elaborate ruse to avoid his being hanged for heresy; that he was spirited across the channel to live on in lonely exile, longing for his true love and pining for the damp streets of London; that he continued to write plays and poetry, hiding behind the name of a colourless printer from Stratford - one William Shakespeare.
With the grip of a thriller and the emotional force of a sonnet, this extraordinary novel in verse gives voice to a man who was brilliant, passionate, mercurial, and not altogether trustworthy. The son of a cobbler who rose so far in Elizabethan society that he counted nobles among his friends and patrons, a spy in the Queen's service, a fickle lover and a declared religious sceptic, he was always courting trouble. When it caught up with him, he was lucky to have connections powerful enough to help him escape.
Memoir, love letter, settling of accounts, and a cry for recognition as the creator of some of the most sublime works in the English language, this is Christopher Marlowe's testament and a tour de force by an award-winning poet: provocative, persuasive and enthralling.
©2012 Ros Barber (P)2012 Hodder & Stoughton
Fascinating to listen to, as there are sections in verse. Beautifully read. The book is written by Kit and goes into his life as an agent for England, travelling round Europe. His drunken cynicism leads to trouble with those who assume that the characters in his plays portray his true ideas on religion. At a time when atheism carried a very nasty death sentence. So his death is faked, he travels but is brought back to England by homesickness, and goes to see his plays performed - the ones attributed to Shakespeare, a merchant from Stratford, who he thought he'd made up! He finds himself caught up in the Essex situation at the end of Elizabeth's reign. The atmosphere and relationships are very well portrayed, and I wanted to find out what eventually happened to him.
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