Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare were both young men who grew up under the reign of Elizabeth I. Christopher or Kit was guided by the muse Calliope to have an ingenious wit and create wonderful works of written word. When still very young, Kit's talent was noticed by Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth's spymaster. Kit was whisked away from his family in return for schooling. However, Kit was really being groomed as a spy for Elizabeth herself. Kit's dream is to be a famous playwright and have his name immortalized. For this, Kit is willing to do Walsingham's bidding as he works his way into the Queen's favor. Meanwhile, Will Shakespeare dreams of being an actor on stage. Will's family still practices the old religion, placing them in danger time and time again. This also unknowingly places Will within Kit's path as a spy for Walsingham. As the men age, their paths cross again. When Kit needs to escape for a time, Elizabeth hatches a plan so Kit may continue living, and his words may continue to grace the stage, but at what price?
Everyone knows the writings of William Shakespeare, but how many know the name and works of Christopher Marlowe? I myself was not very familiar with Marlowe other than recognizing his name as a contemporary of Shakespeare. Many believe that Marlowe did not truly die at such a young age and the William Shakespeare was simply passing along his works. DK Marley presents the mystery of the two men from their youth through their deaths in an intriguing alternate narration between the two. Writing in the voices of two acclaimed writers is no easy task, however the dialogue and narration seemed effortless and accurate for William and Kit at the time. I loved the device of Calliope as a muse for Kit and a guiding voice; it seems that she might have even more to say. I also enjoyed learning about Walsingham's spy ring and Elizabeth's relationships with Marlowe and Shakespeare. Overall, a wonderful and atmospheric historical intrigue for anyone who enjoys Shakespeare, Marlowe or Tudor history.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.