Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

Bernard Cornwell’s Fools and Mortals is an interesting book that is a bit away from Cornwell’s style. I say a bit because he is known for war drama and Fools and Mortals deals nothing with war. But, it is heavy in drama with a dash of action.

The writing is excellent, as usual with Cornwell, with regard to character and plot development. The reader has the usual feelings for Cornwell’s heroines – likability with a dash of unsavoriness. In this case, it is Richard Shakespeare – brother to William. Richard is an actor in William’s company, but he is poor and resorts to thievery at times. He works hard to get bigger parts despite his brothers disdain for him.

The reader also has the usual feelings for the villains – disdain and hatred for their actions. There are many villains in this book – from Sir Godfrey, the churchman who preyed on young boys for their acting talents and their vulnerability, to Mister Price, a Puritan bent on ridding England of Catholics. The various villains do their best to thwart Richard.

The plot moves along fairly quickly until the end. It leads to climax where the villains are confronted and handled with a few twists along the way. One note on the plot, with a plot including Shakespeare, you have to expect a heavy influence of his plays. In Fools and Mortals, you will not be disappointed. However, I think Cornwell leans a little too much of the book’s text on dialogue from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The inclusion of the dialogue seemed to take up more of the book than deserved.

Although not one of his best, still a good read from Bernard Cornwell.

 

William Shakespeare's STAR WARS

Speaking of book trailers, this one is a little different than last night’s example. I will confess I was sorely tempted to pick this little gem up whilst at the book store this evening. But the pile of books I have committed to reading induced guilt and so I demurred. Maybe I will reward myself if I make a dent in my TBR pile …

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars:

Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations–William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

 

In the Mail: Haunt Me Still

Haunt Me Still: A Novel by Jennifer Lee Carrell

Publishers Weekly

Agreeing to direct Shakespeare’s notoriously ill-starred “Scottish play” plunges scholar-sleuth Kate Stanley into a cauldron of trouble in this heady, occult-steeped thriller, the sequel to Interred with Their Bones. The reclusive Lady Nairn, decades earlier the bewitching actress Janet Douglas, plans a production featuring priceless Macbeth-linked antiquities, her own return to the stage, and—if Kate can find it—a rumored earlier version of the play said to include actual magic rites. No sooner does the cast assemble at Lady Nairn’s Scottish castle, however, than all hell breaks loose. Kate’s hallucinatory vision of the savaged body of Lady Nairn’s granddaughter foreshadows two very real murders—with Kate a prime suspect. Carrell deftly uses literary scholarship as a springboard for her plot, especially the suspense-building leaps back to Shakespeare’s day. She’s less successful with the supernatural elements, which increasingly strain credulity, and an anemic romantic subplot.

 

 

National Review Online Literary Links

A couple of literature/bookish related links from our friends over at NRO:

– First, they have a symposium on Shakespeare:

Nobody knows precisely when William Shakespeare was born. It was in 1564, probably a few days before April 26, which definitely was the date of his baptism, as recorded in the parish church at Stratford-upon-Avon. The Bard’s birthday is traditionally observed on April 23, which is also the date on which he died, in 1616.

To celebrate his life, we’ve asked a few NRO contributors to pick their favorite play by Shakespeare and explain why they love it.

– And John J. Miller talks with Maria Tatar, author of Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood, in the latest episode of Between the Covers.

National Review Online Literary Links

A couple of literature/bookish related links from our friends over at NRO:

– First, they have a symposium on Shakespeare:

Nobody knows precisely when William Shakespeare was born. It was in 1564, probably a few days before April 26, which definitely was the date of his baptism, as recorded in the parish church at Stratford-upon-Avon. The Bard’s birthday is traditionally observed on April 23, which is also the date on which he died, in 1616.

To celebrate his life, we’ve asked a few NRO contributors to pick their favorite play by Shakespeare and explain why they love it.

– And John J. Miller talks with Maria Tatar, author of Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood, in the latest episode of Between the Covers.