Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Shakespeare Conspiracy

In his novel, ‘The Shakespeare Conspiracy’ author Ted Bacino tells a historical fiction story based on the age old literary historian debate about William Shakespeare not being the actual writer of the famous Shakespearean plays.

Bacino presents the case of the greatest literary deception in history in the form of a fictional story blended with actual historical data. The story opens in London England in the year 1593. Christopher Marlowe is a 29 year old gay poet and playwright with a vibrant and mischievous spirit. He is known throughout England, including high society, as one of the hottest new writers. During this time period, the plaque is ravaging the country and the Church of England is a major influence in government and social policy. Citizens accused of spying or promoting atheism were arrested, tortured, imprisoned, and often executed. Christopher Marlowe’s former lover, Captain Kyd, is caught with writings that say that “Christ was justly persecuted by the Jews because of his foolishness and that Moses was just a magician.” He is imprisoned and tortured in an effort to give up the name of the person who wrote such blasphemy. He does not give up Christopher Marlowe; however, an officer by the name of Constable Maunder becomes obsessed with proving Marlowe’s guilt. Marlowe is accused of being a spy and charged with heresy. To escape his fate, Marlowe and his new lover Thomas Walsingham, concoct a plan to fake Marlowe’s murder and arrange for a young thespian by the name of William Shakespeare to take credit for writing Marlowe’s plays.

Marlowe flees England and travels to Italy where he travels to 7 cities in 7 years in an effort to avoid capture by Constable Maunder’s agents. During his travels, he trades letters and provides plays to his faithful courier Poeley. Poeley takes the plays to Thomas who arranges to have them transcribed by William Shakespeare. Within the story, historical facts are integrated to unravel a mystery with one logical solution – William Shakespeare could not have been the writer of all of the plays. The plot is filled with adventure and intrigue. Bacino pays careful attention to accurate dialogue and the customs of the period. Readers will enjoy the vibrant, colorful, and comical cast of characters. Readers will get a glimpse of an era filled with political strife, religious domination, and the elite customs and practices of the upper class citizens, including the spirited gay society.

I enjoyed the conspiracy presented in literary form as it helps make the argument more compelling. Actual evidence is cited in the story that includes comparisons of sonnets, similarities between Marlowe’s writings and Shakespeare’s writings, and relevant historical letters. To support the argument, Bacino provides about 50 pages of supplemental historical notes and historical data. ‘The Shakespeare Conspiracy’ is a fun and exciting read that is not only a well written story, but also well researched to maintain historical accuracy. I highly recommend ‘The Shakespeare Conspiracy’ as an engaging and entertaining read with many twists and turns and surprising revelations.

Tracy Roberts, Write Field Services


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home