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Fools and Mortals: A Novel
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Published:
HarperCollins 2018
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Available from OverDrive
Description

New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell makes a dramatic departure with this enthralling, action-packed standalone novel that tells the story of the first production of A Midsummer Night's Dream—as related by William Shakespeare's estranged younger brother.

Lord, what fools these mortals be . . .

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 . . . .

Showcasing the superb storytelling skill that has won Bernard Cornwell international renown, Fools and Mortals is a richly portrayed tour de force that brings to life a vivid world of intricate stagecraft, fierce competition, and consuming ambition.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/09/2018
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062250919
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Bernard Cornwell. (2018). Fools and Mortals: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Bernard Cornwell. 2018. Fools and Mortals: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Bernard Cornwell, Fools and Mortals: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2018.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Bernard Cornwell. Fools and Mortals: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2018.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 19:24:57
Date Updated:
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        BERNARD CORNWELL is the author of over fifty novels, including the acclaimed New York Times bestselling Saxon Tales, which serve as the basis for the hit Netflix series The Last Kingdom. He lives with his wife on Cape Cod and in Charleston, South Carolina.

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shortDescription

New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell makes a dramatic departure with this enthralling, action-packed standalone novel that tells the story of the first production of A Midsummer Night's Dream—as related by William Shakespeare's estranged younger brother.

Lord, what fools these mortals be . . .

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...

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fullDescription

New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell makes a dramatic departure with this enthralling, action-packed standalone novel that tells the story of the first production of A Midsummer Night's Dream—as related by William Shakespeare's estranged younger brother.

Lord, what fools these mortals be . . .

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 . . . .

Showcasing the superb storytelling skill that has won Bernard Cornwell international renown, Fools and Mortals is a richly portrayed tour de force that brings to life a vivid world of intricate stagecraft, fierce competition, and consuming ambition.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The Times, UK
      • content:

        "Cornwell is an enthusiastic amateur dramatist. His portrayal of the actors' rivalries and superstitions is sharp and often funny. His combination of wit, adventure and deft characterization is a triumphant departure from his usual territory." — The Times, UK

        "Marvelous.... Full of drama, both on- and offstage, and with numerous delightful, laugh-out-loud moments, this novel is an absolute joy. A must-have for anyone who loves the theater, this is easily the best book this reviewer has read this year." — Library Journal, starred review

        "Cornwell is superb with mood and setting, whether ugly—London's 'reek of sewage and smoke'—or elegant: 'city churches mangled the air by striking eleven'.... A master craftsman at work: imaginative, intelligent, and just plain fun." — Kirkus

        "In this delightful departure from his popular military historicals, Cornwell (The Flame Bearer, 2016) conducts a boisterous behind-the-scenes romp through the often sordid world of the Elizabethan theater.... Cornwell displays his usual masterful attention to detail.... Sumptuously entertaining."Booklist

        "The atmosphere of the times and the world of the theatre are expertly conveyed, based as usual on thorough research. The master of historical fiction demonstrates exactly why he is so successful. Thoroughly enjoyable." — Historical Novel Society

        "Impressively original.... Like William, Richard Shakespeare, his younger brother, is a historical figure about whom next to nothing is known, and Mr. Cornwell has fitted him out with a superb dramatic trajectory, from street urchin to acclaimed actor.... Cornwell fattens up this story with a splendor of period detail." — Wall Street Journal

        "As skillful a blend of history and fiction as any novelist can achieve.... Anyone reading 'Fools and Mortals' will not see or read Shakespeare the same again." — San Antonio Express-News

        "Gripping, exciting, and engaging. It is another great read from the masterful author. . . . A Cornwell novel is always full of suspense, and this one is no different. Time after time the suspense is intense. It will have you on the edge of your seat." — New York Journal of Books on Warriors of the Storm

        "For those who are looking for something akin to 'Game of Thrones' on HBO or in George R.R. Martin's novels on which it is based, you can't go wrong with Cornwell's tales of Saxons in the years before Britain became England." — Oklahoman on Warriors of the Storm

        "'Warriors' may be the best in the 'Saxon Tales' series yet.... Cornwell's informative stories are told with appealing imagination to reveal the complicated, lengthy history of England's formation." — San Antonio Express on Warriors of the Storm

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 1, 2017

        Historical fiction wizard Cornwell leaps to late 1500s England to chronicle the first production of Shakespeare's shimmering A Midsummer Night's Dream. But instead of two troubled couples and the parallel king and queen of Athens and of the fairy world, Cornwell focuses on Shakespeare himself and his putatively estranged younger brother Richard, a struggling actor in Shakespeare's company. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        November 15, 2017
        Cornwell (The Flame Bearer, 2016, etc.) turns from conspiracies of crowned heads to mysteries in the world of Elizabethan theater.William Shakespeare's obscure real-life brother, Richard, an actor in William's company, is a decade younger, quite handsome, and yet resentful, angry, and petulant. His brother's cold welcome to London might be the cause, or perhaps it's William's condescending and cantankerous attitude. Cornwell is superb with mood and setting, whether ugly--London's "reek of sewage and smoke"--or elegant: "city churches mangled the air by striking eleven." There are descriptions of theaters, the great open-air structures built outside the city's walls because the "Puritan fathers of London...detest the playhouses and had banned them." The plot is a mystery within a play. Lord Hunsdon, the Lord Chamberlain, has hired Shakespeare's company to perform an original play for his granddaughter's wedding. The Bard is imagining A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the new script will be one of his company's "most precious possessions." There was no copyright in those days, and plagiarism was rampant. A company that possessed a script, original or purloined, could perform it without adverse legal consequence. Richard is suborned by agents of the Earl of Lechlade to steal the script to be performed in a newer, larger theater, the Swan. He refuses. The script is stolen. William suspects ambitious, restless Richard. Richard offers to find the script and steal it back, his reward being a promotion to playing male roles. There are details about everything from the mostly Puritan, black-dressed thought police to theater makeup, in which eyes are shadowed with "soot mixed with pork fat." There are a plethora of characters, everyone distinctively sketched, and there's much ado about Shakespeare's creative process.A master craftsman at work: imaginative, intelligent, and just plain fun.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: School Library Journal
      • content:

        March 1, 2018

        Just three weeks into his apprenticeship, Richard Shakespeare flees from Stratford after stealing from and then striking his brutal master in the head. Seeking refuge in London in his older brother Will's theater company, he becomes an actor, but he plays only women's roles, is poorly paid, and has to suffer his brother's scorn as well. When Will writes A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard plays his first male role but one that still requires portraying a woman in "the play within the play." He contemplates defecting to another playhouse, but, when Will's two new scripts are stolen, it is Richard who retrieves them, and his reward is the plum, masculine role of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. Cornwell's novel is filled with historical and theatrical information, well-developed characters, intrigue, romance, and a fast-moving, ever-surprising plot. By focusing on Richard instead of on the Bard himself, the author reveals numerous details about the personal and professional lives of the Lord Chamberlain's Men while maintaining a distance from which his Richard can freely comment upon the action. Uncommon vocabulary is explained in context, and a wealth of details about Elizabethan customs and historical persons/situations add to the richness of the text, though some of the language can be rather crude. VERDICT An excellent, intimate portrait of Shakespeare's world for high school and public libraries with broad collection policies.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, formerly at LaSalle Academy, Providence

        Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
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