Shakespeare's Rebel

Shakespeare's Rebel

A Novel

Book - 2015
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To be (or not to be) the man to save England

England's finest swordsman and fight choreographer at the magnificent new Globe Theatre has hit rock bottom. John Lawley just wants to win back his beloved, become a decent father to his son, and help his friend William Shakespeare finish The Tragedy of Hamlet, the play that threatens to destroy him.

But all is not fair in love and war. Dogged by his three devils--whiskey, women, and Mad Robbie Deveraux--John is dragged by Queen Elizabeth herself into a dangerous game of politics, conspiracy, and rebellion. Will the hapless swordsman figure out how to save England before it's too late?

Brimming with vivid periodic detail, Shakespearean drama, and irresistible wit, Shakespeare's Rebel is a thrilling romp through the romantic, revolutionary times of Elizabethan England that will delight historical fiction fans and Shakespeare enthusiasts alike.

Publisher: Naperville, Illinois :, Sourcebooks Landmark,, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9781492609902
Branch Call Number: FICTION Humphreys 2015
Characteristics: 386 pages : map ; 23 cm


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DanniOcean Jul 20, 2013

reviewed in the Stratford Gazette July 2013


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DanniOcean Jul 20, 2013

The best swashbuckling tale-teller since Raphael Sabatini, C.C. Humphreys’ latest novel crosses a number of genres. Mystery, history, the political espionage of Elizabeth I’s court (long after her cousin Mary Stuart has been dispatched), and of course, swordplay. But the hero, John Lawley is not just a mercenary soldier-for-hire, his first love is the stage – specifically, setting fights for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, in the company of one William Shakespeare. We first meet our hero as he is coming out a hangover of epic proportions; a man given to legendary alcoholic tears whenever upset is not generally the heroic type, but Humphreys gives Lawley a few things to strive toward – the woman he has always loved, a son who shows promise for the stage, and most importantly, the will to avoid getting stuck within the political machinations of Queen Elizabeth, her soldier-lover Robert Deveraux, and her chief minister, Robert Cecil (grandson of one Lord Burleigh, if you’ve seen Mary Stuart at the Stratford Festival). No such luck, as Deveraux depends on him to keep his warrior spirit up when he is ordered to invade Ireland and bring back a traitor, Cecil wants him to spy on Deveraux, and Elizabeth, who comes to realize she is more closely connected to Lawley than either is comfortable with, wants Lawley to use his friendship with Shakespeare to persuade him to produce the most patriotic of plays during the tense final years of her reign. Easier done than said, as Lawley and the players find – the public tide has turned, they demand more of their theatre, and they might – just might – be ready for Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy of all, the play Lawley is afraid will ultimately consume his friend. Shakespeare’s Rebel is Humphreys best since his first, The French Executioner, but even fans of his Jack Absolute series will find subtle connections therein. A thoroughly researched, enjoyable and meaty summer read.


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