The Assassin of Verona
A William Shakespeare Novel
by Benet Brandreth
Pub Date 07 May 2019
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The thrilling new novel of intrigue, conspiracy, and rapier-sharp wit that takes William Shakespeare into the deceit and deception of sixteenth century Verona.
William Shakespeare is disguised as a steward to the English Ambassador. He and his actor friends, Oldcastle and Hemming, possess a deadly secret: the names of the Catholic spies in England who seek to destroy Queen Elizabeth. Before long the Pope’s agents begin to close in on them, so fleeing the city is the players’ only option.
In Verona, Aemelia, the daughter of a Duke, is struggling to conceal her passionate affair with her cousin Valentine. But darker times lie ahead with the arrival of the sinister Father Thornhill, who is determined to seek out anyone who doesn’t conform to the Pope’s ruthless agenda . . .
Events will converge in the forests around Verona as a multitude of plots are hatched and discovered, players fall in and out of love, and disguises are adopted and then discarded. Will the brash William Shakespeare and his friends escape with their secrets—and their lives?
About the Author: Benet Brandreth, an expert on Shakespeare's language and times, is the rhetoric coach to the Royal Shakespeare Company. The Spy of Venice was his debut novel. He lives in London
“This fast-paced and entertaining novel imagines a young Will Shakespeare as an (unwilling) spy for Her Majesty’s government in Venice in 1585. Successful here on all fronts: dialogue, plot, and characters.” - Christian Science Monitor [Praise for The Spy of Venice]
“A playful and inventive debut. The dialogue is wonderful, and Will’s banter with his fellow actors sparkles.” - The Times (London) [Praise for The Spy of Venice]
“Shakespeare! The lunatic, the lover, the poet. The spy. Royal Shakespeare Company rhetoric coach Brandreth brings considerable expertise to his subject in a story rich in humor and intrigue. The dialogue and characters borrow heavily and delightfully from the Bard himself. Bravo!” - Booklist (starred) [Praise for The Spy of Venice]
“What if William Shakespeare was an intelligence agent before he became a playwright? That’s the clever premise of Brandreth’s impressive first novel. Brandreth plausibly and imaginatively fills a gap in the historical record of the Bard’s life.” - Publishers Weekly (starred) [Praise for The Spy of Venice]