Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Shakespeare Stealer

by Gary Blackwood

Despite it's klugy beginning, this one's a pretty good book. The premise is that there's this orphan lad, Widge, who's apprenticed to this odd doctor who had developed a form of shorthand. Widge is the guinea pig in this project and indeed is the only one who knows how to write in this unique script. Another man, one Simon Bass, reads about the good doctor's method and arranges to buy out Widge's apprenticeship. You see, Mr. Bass owns a company of players and he's looking for some good material that might increase their box office take. He's figured that rather than wait for William Shakespeare to publish his latest hit, Hamlet, he could just send Widge over to catch a performance at the Globe Theater and have him copy down the play. That way Bass' players can beat the rush and perform the latest hit while it's still hot. Of course, it doesn't work out so easily. Widge ends up getting more involved in the world of Elizabethan era theater and Shakespeare's company. It's a story worth checking out. As the tale progresses, the hokey shorthand premise is forgotten and a story of ambition and relationships plays out.
LibraryThing link


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