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Fools and Mortals Audiobook

Fools and Mortals

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Publisher's Summary

A dramatic new departure for international best-selling author Bernard Cornwell, Fools and Mortals takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.

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. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry - and that of the playhouses, playwrights and actors vying for acclaim and glory - propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal.

Showcasing his renowned storyteller's skill, Bernard Cornwell has created an Elizabethan world incredibly rich in its portrayal: you walk the London streets, stand in the palaces and are onstage in the playhouses as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.

©2017 Bernard Cornwell (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"Like Game of Thrones, but real." (The Observer)

"Blood, divided loyalties and thundering battles." (The Times)

"Strong narrative, vigorous action and striking characterisation, Cornwell remains king of the territory he has staked out as his own." (The Sunday Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (124 )
5 star
 (55)
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3.9 (114 )
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4.4 (113 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Simon 24/10/2017
    Simon 24/10/2017 Member Since 2018
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not quite in love with this Shakespeare"

    Bernard Cornwell is pretty much at the pinnacle of my personal list of military history authors. His Sharpe, Starbuck Chronicles and Lost Kingdom series have been great sources of entertainment for me. This is a massive departure though and was possibly always going to happen given Cornwell's love of theatre and Shakespeare in particular.

    Unlike some other recent examples of my favourite authors heading off on a tangent I genuinely enjoyed this. The viewpoint that Cornwell chooses is Richard who is William Shakespeare's younger, better looking but rather less fortunate brother. It's through his needy and almost desperate need to succeed as a player that Cornwell portrays the precarious nature of the life of a young player in Elizabethan England.

    There is much detail about the theatre and its workings with the first performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream forming the core of the plot. Interwoven with this are a love story, a tale of rival actors including one Will Kemp and a plot of sabotage by a rival company to complete the drama.

    So, I enjoyed it but I wouldn't give it absolutely top billing. The period has been very heavily covered and those who enjoy this style of book will likely not find too much that's new or better here. There's plenty of charm but it lacks a real x factor with a plot that's just a bit too mild mannered and predictable despite the odd snippet of violence. At times it felt slightly flat to me but it does gain momentum through the second half.

    So, definitely a worthy effort but while he masterfully strides the battlefields of history Cornwell has a distance to go before he can claim to lord it over Elizabethan society.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    annette apostolakis 28/10/2017 Member Since 2014
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    "Refreshingly different!"

    Loved this from Cornwell. Such a brave shift from the conventional battlefield to the theatrical one! Such characters and characterisation from the narrator really give life to the world of the Elizabethan theatre. Absolute brilliance!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorna Morrison 16/01/2018
    Lorna Morrison 16/01/2018
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    "A real disappointment "

    Should have read the synopsis, just saw the authors name, and purchase!
    The author has created a story around the production of a Mid Summer Nights Dream, and the life of a group of thespians.
    The plot was contrived , the characters were un engaging , as a consequence the story died a slow and painful death.
    The reader had a very irritating inflection in his delivery, I can best describe as if each sentence was an enquiry.
    Best thing I can say about this experience is I have learned a lesson.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim 26/01/2018
    Tim 26/01/2018 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent!"

    I bought this book purely because it was Cornwell however the description did not inspire me. Once I began to listen it was a different matter. I loved it! Good story with great characters. Well recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phil Sylvester-Thorne 17/01/2018 Member Since 2015
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    "Different from usual Subject"

    Not his usual topic
    But still an enjoyable listen
    Would recommend if you like dramas in a historical setting

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C 16/01/2018
    C 16/01/2018 Member Since 2013
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    "Bloody brilliant "

    The bloody brilliant says it all, the story characters and performances of a minor historical figure is great fun

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 12/01/2018
    12/01/2018 Member Since 2017
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    "Fools and Mortals"

    Enthralling. I loved the details of the period and the theatre. Query: it was Edmund the youngest brother who joined Will in London? Richard remained in Stratford, married locally and had 3 sons, - all of whom died young. Edmund’s tomb is in Southwark Cathedral.

    But I enjoyed the fantastical journey

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Davies 06/01/2018
    Karen Davies 06/01/2018 Member Since 2014
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    "A little disappointing "

    I am a keen fan of Bernard Cornwell but this was a little slow-paced for my liking. The extended retelling of Shakespeare’s plays was often too drawn out but the period detail was interesting and the hero likeable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 05/12/2017
    05/12/2017 Member Since 2017
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    "Surprised."

    Why surprised? It's definitely different from the other books I've read by Bernard Cornwell.
    The reader really brought this to life. I warmed to the story gradually but ended up being sorry when it ended. I liked the amount of historical detail included quite naturally as the story unfolded. Only a really skilful writer can pull this off.
    I really enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    By Julie Middleton 21/11/2017 Member Since 2017
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    4
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    "A Good Listen"

    I enjoyed this story very much and look forward to his next Elizabethan novel. 😊

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • luke
    Fukuoka, Japan
    01/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Solid Performance"

    This is in true Cornwell fashion--without the swords or guns...A well-structured and well-told story. But then he always tells a good story. You always empathise with his characters and you will here as well. This will not disappoint if you are a Cornwell fan.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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