Monday, 25 September 2017

#bookreview ~ Fools and Mortals #Shakespeare #HistFic @BernardCornwell

Fools and Mortals
By Bernard Cornwell


A dramatic new departure for international bestselling 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 on stage in the playhouses, as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.

What did I think of the Book?

“Lord, what fools these mortals be…” 


Running away from Stratford-Upon-Avon seemed like a sensible thing to do at the time. Richard Shakespeare was sure that his eldest brother, William, would be glad to see him. Alas, that was not the case. But he was here now. There was nothing William could do about that. Following in his brother's footsteps, Richard becomes a player as well as the occasional thief.

As the years roll on, Richard Shakespeare becomes more and more discouraged. He is way past the age of playing the girl parts in his brother’s plays, but William insists that he play them. When William finally casts Richard in his first male role, Richard is overjoyed. But this was William they were talking about, Richard should have known there would be a catch. Now Richard has a decision to make, should he stay with the Lord Chamberlain's men, or should he leave them to join Langley and his new impressive theatre, The Swan?

Rich with historical detail and with characters that leap off the page, Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell is a must for all fans of Shakespeare and the Elizabethan era.

The story is told from Richard Shakespeare perspective, and therefore it does not portray William in such a great light. Fans of William Shakespeare be warned! The story itself is very fast in the telling, and it was so gripping that I read this book in a day and I have to say that I enjoyed every minute of it.

Fools and Mortals reminded me greatly of the 1998 period costume drama Shakespeare in Love. There was the same feel to it, except the play in the spotlight this time is A Midsummer Nights Dream.

Mr. Cornwell depicts in great detail what it may well have been like to be a player in Elizabethan England. It was very believable and very real in the telling. Kudos Mr. Cornwell!

The story itself is full of intrigue and plots between the rival playhouses. There is, of course, the ever-present threat of the zealous Protestants who wanted to see the playhouses close for good. There is also a sweet romance.

The Last Kingdom it is not, but for fans of Shakespeare, and the Elizabethan era it is a must read.

I Highly Recommend.

*I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via Netgalley, for review consideration.”


Available for Pre-Order

                       About the author

Bernard Cornwell was born in London in 1944 – a ‘warbaby’ – whose father was a Canadian airman and mother in Britain’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.

He was adopted by a family in Essex who belonged to a religious sect called the Peculiar People (and they were), but escaped to London University and, after a stint as a teacher, he joined BBC Television where he worked for the next 10 years.

He began as a researcher on the Nationwide programme and ended as Head of Current Affairs Television for the BBC in Northern Ireland. It was while working in Belfast that he met Judy, a visiting American, and fell in love. Judy was unable to move to Britain for family reasons so Bernard went to the States where he was refused a Green Card. He decided to earn a living by writing, a job that did not need a permit from the US government – and for some years he had been wanting to write the adventures of a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars – and so the Sharpe series was born. Bernard and Judy married in 1980, are still married, still live in the States and he is still writing Sharpe.
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