Despite the frivolity of my title, Anthony Burgess's swan song novel is no light read. However, if the allure of an escape from the mundane realities of the present financial crisis is to your liking then this comes as a highly rated alternative.
Kit Marlowe, in part an often underrated dramatist having lived in the shadow of the "Great Bard", is a subject worthy of research, investigation and focus. Burgess invites the reader into an Elizabethan world which oozes reality, discomfort, brutality, poverty and unrequited love.Graphic imagery is to the fore, dialogue truly atmospheric, love of the word and the theatre take centre stage.
In this 400 year old time capsule, it is easy to forget that the novel's main plots lie in the politics of religion; the seizure of monarchical power; and the alleged spying activities of Marlowe. Intrigue combined with a hefty smattering of homosexual interludes; guarantee the reader's inclusion in a world far beyond our modern day comprehension.
Burgess' love affair with the English written word resonates within the book's covers, and for me overshadows any qualms about the possible poetic license taken by Burgess in his portrayal his protagonist.
As the book's title suggests, that Marlowe died is undisputed, but the circumstances surrounding his life invite further scrutiny.