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Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

Fools and Mortals

by Bernard Cornwell

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2071283,670 (3.55)21
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    Nothing Like the Sun by Anthony Burgess (Anonymous user)
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    Morality Play by Barry Unsworth (rstaedter)
    rstaedter: Morality Play depicts the way of life of a traveling troupe in 14th century England. I found this an interesting contrast to the Elizabethan theatre 250 years later as described by Bernard Cornwell.

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This is my first Bernard Cornwell book and I'm really happy to have started with this one. At times the story line did drag, but then it took off and never slowed down. I loved I really enjoyed it taking place in the Elizabethan era, the historical references, the character development and the references to William Shakespeare's plays. A good book. ( )
  LydiaGranda | Feb 15, 2019 |
Set in the theatre world of Elizabethan London this is a thoroughly enjoyable story involving both Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, and theft. Found out a lot about 16th century theatre - and how much Puritans disliked it! ( )
  cbinstead | Feb 15, 2019 |
This was a very entertaining book to read. Cornwell creates a brother of William Shakespeare -Richard-and writes about his life in the theatre company. William acts and writes plays while Richard plays female roles and is not happy about it. Conflicts arise when the scripts for [A Midsummer Night's Dream] and [Romeo and Juliet] are stolen. Richard is first accused of taking the scripts to a rival company. He manages to steal the scripts back amid problems with Puritans, a traitorous actor, rival theatre owners and an unscrupulous owner of a boys' school who trains actors or "players". The action takes place as William Shakespeare's acting company are preparing a play that will be performed at a wedding celebration that will also have Queen Elizabeth in attendance. The characters include the real actors who worked with Shakespeare and the story describes the development of theatre during the reign of Elizabeth. This was a very enjoyable book to read- the plot was good and there was a joy in the descriptions of how the first presentations of two of Shakespeare's plays might have happened. ( )
  torontoc | Dec 13, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this envisioning of life as a "player" in Shakespeare's company in the 1500s. Bernard Cornwell - as always - is such a master of immersing us in the day to day of the society of which he's writing. Really well done! ( )
  decaturmamaof2 | Nov 28, 2018 |
Bernard Cornwell takes a break from his traditional military-based historical fiction to tell the story of an actor, Richard Shakespeare, the younger and estranged brother of William Shakespeare. It is a coming-of-age story about Richard, but it is more a story about late 16th century theater and politics.

The story itself would have made a good Shakespeare play, it has love, politics and betrayal. The author brings the stage to life and gives the reader a good feel for life in the Elizabethan period.

In his usual way, Cornwell tells a very good story. The characters are real and the situations believable.

This isn't what I expected when I started, I didn't read the jacket and was expecting a typical Bernard Cornwell novel, but I was pleasantly surprised and could not turn away. ( )
  Nodosaurus | Nov 16, 2018 |
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Cornwell drives the plot along deftly.

And he clearly has a lot of fun with the dialogue which is crisp but replete with gems (“I don’t give the quills of a duck’s a***,” says Lord Hunsdon at one point) and there is hilarious bickering and squabbling among the players as they rehearse A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

But the real star of this book is Elizabethan London.

Cornwell leads us effortlessly through its fleshpots and fish markets, palace and playhouses with the skill of a master storyteller who loves this period of history.

Fools And Mortals may not have the visceral cut-throat action of Sharpe or the Lost Kingdom but if a well-plotted, richly written romp through Shakespeare’s England appeals, start reading.
added by SnootyBaronet | editDaily Express, Marco Giannangeli
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Fools and Mortals
is dedicated, with affection,
to all the actors, actresses, directors,
musicians and technicians of the
Monomoy Theatre
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I DIED JUST after the clock in the passageway struck nine.
We are players, and we love an audience. Sometimes, if a play is going badly, it is easy to think of the audience as an enemy, but truly they are a part of the play, because an audience changes the way we perform. We can rehearse a play for weeks, as we were doing with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but the moment the playhouse is filled with people, so the play is transformed.
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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.… (more)

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