e-book The Final Act Of Mr Shakespeare

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Robert Winder

The Elizabethan golden age is over, replaced by James I's reign of terror, and William Shakespeare has been ordered out of his retirement to write one last play. Shakespeare gathers together Richard Burbage, Edward Alleyn and the others in his devoted troupe, the King's Men, and as usual with their considerable help, he starts to compose his final work: a history play, Henry VII.

This, Shakespeare thinks, will be his masterpiece - but such a searing attack on the monarchy that it can never be performed.

Undaunted, Shakespeare and co start to create the play, which first emerges in snippets and then appears in its entirety in the last hundred pages of the book. So, just to recap: here's a novel which includes a whole new Shakespeare play - his masterpiece, in fact - and not as some optional, avoidable extra but as the climax and point of the book.

It's like watching a tightrope walker sling a wire between two far-distant skyscrapers and set off in the middle of a gale.

Book review - 'The Final Act of Mr Shakespeare'

There are some teetering moments, but Winder keeps his poise and by the final act of this Henry VII he's skipping across that wire, showboating. We have noticed that there is an issue with your subscription billing details.


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