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King of Shadows Turtleback – Jan 2001


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Turtleback, Jan 2001
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Product details

  • Turtleback
  • Publisher: Demco Media (Jan. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0606212817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0606212816
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,774,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A masterful novel" (Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By beccalikesbooks on 22 May 2012
Format: Paperback
I must have read this book at least ten years ago, when it first came out, and I still rate it highly.

It's the story of Nat, a very normal American teenage boy who comes to London with his theatre troupe to perform A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Globe Theatre. However, he becomes suddenly very ill and awakes from a feverish dream... in Shakespeare's time.

By an eerie twist of fate he seems to have taken the place of a boy called Nate, who is also set to play the character of Puck in Shakespeare's Dream. Shakespeare himself is playing Oberon, and the relationship that Nat (who is still reeling from the death of his own father back in America) develops with the great man is incredibly moving.

What really makes this book stand out is the attention to detail - I learnt so much about how theatres of that time worked, the language they used and all the major characters who played a part , such as Shakespeare, Richard Burbage, and a brief appearance by Queen Elizabeth I. Cooper has obviously done her research into the era and it is bought vividly to life with the sounds and smells and sights of the city, from waste rotting in the streets, the ale and rough meaty pasties that they eat, bear-baiting, and the lush textures of the gorgeous costumes created for the play. It is these elements that ground the book in reality and make the somewhat fantastical time-travel aspect completely believable.

The book also explores the text of A Midsummer Night's Dream in a fascinating and accessible way, linking it to Shakespeare's life. If any book is going to make teenagers want to read Shakespeare, study Tudor history and visit the Globe, then I truly believe that this is it.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
Nat Field, a young American orphan traumatized by the death of his father, comes to England to play Puck at The Globe. Somewhat bizarrely, he contracts Bubonic Plague and is rushed to Guy's. The next morning he wakes up in the house of Richard Burbage in 1599 and is raced off to The Globe to play (you've guessed it!) Puck in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' Naturally, he meets Shakespeare and Gloriana and....I won't ruin any more of this fabulous story.
Susan Cooper has written a novel of genuine historical interest ( I have been researching the life of the real Nathaniel Field ever since) and powerful emotional impact - the end is breathtaking. I cried. Both times I read it. And I'm a 31 year old man!
READ THIS BOOK!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jelly_Totz_Rock! on 20 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
One of the best Books I've read, and considering how many books I have read it is really really good!
I definitely recommend it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matt G on 8 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book has not matched or even come close to the success of her other books. That said it is still a very readable and enjoyable book. It starts off in modern times where Nat Field has caught the plague. But it's not him the real Nat Field has switched into Shakespeare's time. He goes there acting alongside Shakespeare doing a famous play. Why is he there? Well that's pretty much the whole storyline. There are a few twists towards the end but the rest of it is just as you'd expect. It's not as fun as books like the Dark is Rising and has not got as good a plot. The story gets is a little slow at times and I found the best bits were where she was writing about the plague. Overall it's OK to read if you like her, but if you want to enjoy her storytelling at its best read the Dark is Rising series.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The plot starts off reasonably enough: Nathan Field is a modern-day Apple Pie American schoolboy who comes over to England with his all-male drama group to put on a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the new Globe Theatre. So far so good. Unfortunately, no sooner has Nat arrived in the city of red telephone boxes and black cabs than he picks up bubonic plague from nowhere and after a few odd moments, finds himself in the previous Globe Theatre 400 years ago. Yes, not the rebuild but Shakespeare's original wooden square-shaped sewer-pit theatre, complete with actors (and no actresses) from the period.

Nat seems to take this sudden change of time and place remarkably well and soon puts his all into rehearsals for the big number they're planning to put on for Madge, known in those days as Queen Elizabeth (the White One). By the way, communicating with humans from 400 years ago doesn't faze our Nat. Despite the fact that there is no chance that modern-day Americans and 16th-century Londoners would have a clue what the other was saying, throw in a few instances of `thou' and `tha' now and again and it seems all language barriers are no longer a problem.
Anyway, "why is this happening to me?" For a start, is it a dream? No, it's worse than that. Nat has changed places with another Nathan Field - this one from the 1590s - who is now busy sweating it out at Guy's Hospital (or St Thomas' or wherever) because something extremely odd has happened. Don't bank on the explanation making any sense at all.

Meanwhile, Nat Number 1 (the American who has gone back in time) meets the Bard himself and quicker than you can say `Romeo and Juliet', Wills and Master Nat are bezzies.

Young Nat, by the way, is the pint-sized equivalent of New Man.
Read more ›
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