‘Before he was famous, he was a fugitive. Before he wrote of humanity, he lived it. Before he was the Bard of Avon, he was a spy. A very poor spy.
England, 1586. Swept up in the skirts of a mysterious stranger, Will Shakespeare becomes entangled in a deadly and hilarious misadventure as he accidentally uncovers the Babington Plot, an attempt to murder Queen Elizabeth herself. Aided by the mercurial wit of Kit Marlowe, Will enters London for the first time, chased by rebels, spies, his own government, his past, and a bear…’
Tudor England. 1586. Will Shakespeare. There are many things that author David Blixt does well – and one among them is anything concerning fictional explorations of the Bard. Oh, two things. Add delightful humour.
From the opening lines I thoroughly enjoyed Will’s adventures. Historically accurate it is not. A fast-paced read, it is not. A truthful tale of Shakespeare’s life… well you get the picture. But what this novel does achieve is a witty romp through some of the unexplained ‘lost’ years of Shakespeare’s early life. Blixt sets the tone with his own playwright expertise, giving a colourful, richly flavoured feel of life, lust and other things that went on at the time of Elizabeth I. As sidekick to Marlowe, the young Will blunders through one unforeseen adventure to another with, often, hilarious results. The aim, to protect the Queen’s (and his own!) life. Oh, and there is the bear… but I’ll not give away any plot spoilers.
The Shakespearean style of the dialogue may not be to everyone’s taste, as Blixt has (expertly in my opinion, but some readers may not agree) mimicked the style of the day. Does this slow the reading experience and the adventure down? Personally, I think not, for instead we have brilliant swordfights, absorbing intrigues, laugh-out-loud humour, delightful (and groan-type) puns, (for the sensitive, some are a bit rude,) delightful descriptions, believable (for all their insanity) characters all wrapped up in an engaging mystery plot. Her Majesty’s Will is a funny, lighthearted, tongue-firmly-in-cheek romp. And I loved it!
© Helen Hollick
© Helen Hollick