Fools and Mortals

Fools and Mortals

A Novel

Book - 2018
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In the heart of Elizabethan England, Richard Shakespeare dreams of a glittering career in one of the London playhouses, a world dominated by his older brother, William. But he is a penniless actor, making ends meet through a combination of a beautiful face, petty theft and a silver tongue. As William's star rises, Richard's onetime gratitude is souring and he is sorely tempted to abandon family loyalty. So when a priceless manuscript goes missing, suspicion falls upon Richard, forcing him onto a perilous path through a bawdy and frequently brutal London. Entangled in a high-stakes game of duplicity and betrayal which threatens not only his career and potential fortune, but also the lives of his fellow players, Richard has to call on all he has now learned from the brightest stages and the darkest alleyways of the city. To avoid the gallows, he must play the part of a lifetime.
Publisher: New York :, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2018]
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780062250872
Characteristics: 370 pages : illustration, map ; 24 cm


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Dec 04, 2018

Why is it no surprise that Cornwell's usual readers, addicts of action and violence, would be so bored by this? In places this is really good at fleshing out the historical context of Shakespeare's plays even suggesting why they're so good. On the other hand so much of this is a paraphrase of the plays being performed (chiefly A Midsummer's Night Dream) and even if it's necessary because Cornwell can't take it for granted his readers are familiar with Shakespeare's plays, it's not compelling fiction.

Sep 02, 2018

OMG, so boring. Such a disappointment for this athor.

Mar 04, 2018

My first book by this author. What I enjoyed most was feeling like I was backstage with the actors in London during Shakespeare's time. Learning about early theater was fascinating. Support by the queen and disgust from the Puritans.

Mar 02, 2018

I am a big Cornwell fan and was highly anticipating this release, sadly it was a disappointment. A departure from his action series of novels, but I could have lived with that with a good plot and character development. This had neither. That being said, if you are a Shakespeare fan you may enjoy this a lot. There is a lot of line by line quote from plays written by Shakespeare, if I wanted that, I would have just reread Romeo & Juliet, or one of the other plays he quoted extensively, I found it boring and needless. There was potential, but it fell short.

ser_library Feb 16, 2018

wonderful period detail--felt as if i were there

Jan 25, 2018

I too am a big Bernard Cornwell fan. FOOLS AND MORTALS is certainly different from his other books of historical fiction which often focus on wars in days gone by long ago. But only different in that it focuses on the early days of the development of static theaters and the rise of the great playwrights - we are talking 1595 as the setting for this story. It does not have the level of action of his war-related historical novels, but it does have an element of intrigue, some violence, religious persecution, class distinctions, and the harsh realities of being a actor in that era. While the central story is based in the theater of William Shakespeare as seen through the eyes of his brother Richard, an actor, the larger story is about the growth of a new industry focusing on the people coming to a static place (theater) to see a play rather than the older traditions of taking plays out to the people. If you like the theater scene and plays you will love this. If you are not much into those things, just be prepared once in awhile to skim through some the theater and plays descriptive material - still a great read either way.

Jan 08, 2018

This is a wonderful book if you are into Shakespeare, as I am. It makes you feel you are really there behind stage, on stage, and in the streets of Shakespeare's London. This is not an action adventure like most of Cornwell's other books, which I suppose explains the disappointment of some of the other reviewers, but to my mind it is one of Cornwell's best.

Nov 30, 2017

Cornwell is one of my favourite writers and I've read and enjoyed almost all of his books. However, I had a hard time getting into this book and gave up after 100 pages. I guess I'm not really into plays and the theatre life. I expect people who are, though, might enjoy the story.

Nov 23, 2017

Having read all of Bernard's book this was the first one to disappoint me. While I consider him to be in my top five of authors, this story evolved slowly and I did not find it engaging until the second half.


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