Swords and seduction, treachery and murder: introducing an inimitable new hero - William Shakespeare

August, 1585.

When he's caught out by one ill-advised seduction too many, young William Shakespeare flees Stratford to seek his fortune.

Cast adrift in London, Will falls in with a band of players - but greater men have their eye on this talented young wordsmith. England's very survival hangs in the balance, and Will finds himself dispatched to Venice on a crucial embassy.

Dazzled by the city's masques - and its beauties - Will little realises the peril in which he finds himself. Catholic assassins would stop at nothing to end his mission on the point of their sharpened knives, and lurking in the shadows is a killer as clever as he is cruel.

Suspenseful, seductive and as sharp as an assassin's blade.


Shakespeare: The Lost Years 

For the launch of The Spy of Venice I made this video exploring the seven mysterious years in William Shakespeare's life between 1585-1592, about which we know almost nothing. The story begins in Stratford-upon-Avon...

Words: Benet Brandreth, Director & Editor: Kosha Engler, Original Music: Roger Lamison


Playful and inventive

"A playful and inventive debut. The dialogue is wonderful. The banter between Will and the actors sparkles."

— The Times

Stirring adventure

"A gloriously escapist debut novel... stirring adventure with both brains and brawn"

— Lancashire Evening Post

Entertaining and ebullient

"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."

— Daily Mail