When the young William Shakespeare’s indiscretions in Stratford drive him, all too willingly, to London he falls in with a company of players who are bound for Venice. The players are part of the entourage of England’s ambassador on his journey to the Serene Republic, part of the embassy’s disguise of innocence. For the times are troubled, England stands alone surrounded by powerful enemies bent on its destruction, and on the success of the ambassador’s mission hangs England’s survival and the safety of all.
The road is dangerous, the city of Venice more deadly still. Venice, a city of possibilities, envied for its wealth, despised for its license – where women dress as men, roads are rivers and no-one is who they first seem. William will find there wonders and dangers, a courtesan with a mind as brilliant as his own, a murderous Duchess who is herself hunted and, in the shadows, a killer as cunning as he is cruel. Only someone who can see clearly into the minds and motives of others will survive the traps Venice lays…
Listed in ‘the best historical fiction of 2016’ – The Telegraph
From a writer with a deep knowledge of Shakespeare’s language and of the turbulent times in which he lived comes the thrilling story of Shakespeare’s “lost years”, his role in England’s history and how a glover’s son from a small town in the middle of England’s became the greatest master of the English language the world has ever known.
Suspenseful, seductive and as sharp as an assassin’s blade, The Spy of Venice introduces a major new literary talent in historical fiction to sit alongside the likes of C.J. Samson and S.J. Parris.
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“Entertaining and ebullient . . . The author knows his Shakespeare backwards, rejoices in its wordplay, loves his allusions and has a good time with his characters. So did I.” – Elizabeth Buchan, The Daily Mail