King of Shadows is an exceptional work by Susan Cooper, bestselling author of
The Dark is Rising, Over Sea Under Stone, Silver on the Tree and many other magical and atmospheric books, and will not disappoint those who already wallow in the author's startling ability to conjure up clear images of place and time with the stroke of a pen.
Here we meet young Nat Field, a boy actor visiting London to perform at The Globe Theatre. Nat soon falls ill, and much to the amazement of the doctors looking after him, he has contracted the Bubonic Plague. As one young actor lies in isolation in Guy's Hospital, another wakes up in Elizabethan London and is drawn into rehearsals for A Midsummer Night's Dream alongside William Shakespeare himself and the two form a bond that can never be broken, even through time.
King of Shadows is a daring and complex novel, set against the backdrop of the life of an unhappy child who, by travelling unwittingly through time, learns how to face his real life troubles. As ever, Cooper's delicious descriptive prose combine with her elegant dialogue to bring her characters vividly to life, never taking the easy option, but allowing her players to develop and come to terms with their lives in their own time.
A remarkable book that is as intriguing as it is entertaining, King of Shadows could well be the best Susan Cooper yet. (Age 10 and over) --Susan Harrison
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"A masterful novel" (Publishers Weekly
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