This is a brilliant tale of Elizabethan London with all the squalor and violence, the sex and the protocol, the colour and the politics. Like the Dream, the tale itself takes a back seat to the telling, which is joyous. But it is beautifully written. I was torn between turning the pages as fast as I could and reading slowly to revel in the world Cornwell has created.
Cornwell is the author of the Sharpe novels and many more. I have only ever read one of his before: Death of Kings from the Last Kingdom series. I enjoyed it but wasn't hooked. This book has changed my mind. I need to read more of this author.
Some great lines:
- "Simon Willoughby needs praise like a whore needs silver." (p 10)
- "We are mere players and as far beneath the palace audience as hells' goblins are beneath heaven's bright angels." (p 14)
- "He's smearing the sheets of some lordly bed." (p 17)
- "Mothers are like that, boy. They think you mustn't rise too high in case you fall too far." (p 93)
- "the box office, so called because the boxes that took the playgoers' pennies was emptied on the table inside." (p 224)
October 2018; 403 pages