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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Sunday, 7 October 2018

"Fools and Mortals" by Bernard Cornwell

Will Shakespeare and his company are rehearsing A Midsummer Night's Dream but someone is trying to steal the script and that of Will's new play Romeo and Juliet. Will's brother Richard, narrator and jobbing actor, desperate to stop playing women and to earn more money, is the first suspect.

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

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