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Shakespeare's Scribe (Shakespeare Stealer) Paperback – 22 Feb 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (22 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142300667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142300664
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,713,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Mr. Blackwood's descriptions of the travelling players, with their hierarchical system, their draft horses pulling the carewares, and their method of performing is utterly convincing, as also are the pressures the group faces from rival players, bandits, threat of plague, and their reception in the various towns. Characterisation is believable, showing that while history may change, human nature does not.' (Books Ireland) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Gary Blackwood has written novels for young readers including Wild Timothy, Beyond the Door and The Dying Sun. His involvement in the theatre, both as a playwright and as an amateur actor, goes back a long way ... though not quite to Shakespeare's day. Gary lives with his wife and two children on an acre of land surrounded by cow pastures outside Carthage, Missouri. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Acting seems, on the face of it, a simple enough matter. Read the first page
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sensible Cat on 15 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Orphaned Widge has found an adopted family in Shakespeare's company of players and is working his way up the hierarchy of meatier female roles (no girls were allowed on stage in those days). But he still doesn't feel entirely secure and when a more talented young actor joins the Chamberlain's Men, the rivalry between the two of them threatens to become corrosive.

But soon there are worse problems to worry about. The Plague strikes London, closing down the theatres, and forcing the company onto the road. It's a tough life and Blackwood writes vividly about the hardships of awful weather, hostile provincial towns and constant battles against sickness, skulduggery and destitution.

Then Widge meets someone who claims to be his father, and is thrilled when the stranger joins the company. When money begins to go missing and a string of disasters hit the players, Widge is reluctant to believe that his new-found parent could be a threat to the company's fortunes. He has some painful growing up to do before he can return to the Globe and continue his dramatic career.

Young readers looking for a colourful and exciting recreation of Shakespeare's world, warts and all, without too much soppy romance and with a well-drawn hero, will find plenty to enjoy in this second installment of Widge's adventures.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The first good sequel I've read 7 Sept. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
From the beginning, this sequel to the masterful THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER bodes ill (literally), with grim references to the devastsating outbreak of the plague that swept London in the early 1600s. Widge is back, with a cast of other great characters, and together they perform a startlingly real and profound tale of finding ones self and ones true family when just finding money enough for your daily bread is difficult enough. As the Lord Chamberlain's Men tour Northern England, the hardships of the gypsy life soon became apparent. As the players were turned back from town after town, I became as frustrated and bitter as Widge. When Redshaw appeared, I began to hope for Widge that he wouldn't have to end up choosing between his blood and his adopted family. And as Sal Pavy (known with the two names side by side throughout the book) stole part after part from his peers, I was angry. Whether you enjoy a good adventure or a puzzling mystery, you will enjoy this book, which well lives up to its predecessor.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Does not surpass the first volume 8 Jan. 2005
By Glenn Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book, a sequel to Blackwood's Shakespeare's Scribe, is a worthy follow-up, but does not surpass the fun and excitement of the first volume. Slightly sluggish, somewhat bloated, "Scribe" is surprisingly slower than "Stealer", despite the opportunities for high drama given the subject matter. The main character, Widge, discovers the man who may -- or may not -- be his father. As he did in his first volume, Blackwood offers Widge a number of moral dilemmas which make for very interesting reading for the target audience, young teens. As a father who read this book out loud to his two sons, I appreciate the historical accuracy of Elizabethan England that Blackwood includes, incorporating issues of poverty, starvation, and the Plague, all of which were prevalent during this time. With a little tighter editing and about 30 fewer pages, this could have been a stronger overall effort.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Terrific Adventure Story 1 Feb. 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When my twelve year old son recommended The Shakespeare Stealer to me, I put it aside for a while, but, gosh, my son doesn't recommend books very often to his English teacher mom, so I read it. The colorful characters and swift-moving plot kept me involved, so I was ready when my son handed me the sequel. I found it even better! Swordfights, the plague, and a mysterious, suspicious character enliven the plot. And Will Shakespeare himself has more of a role. What a fun and I must say educational (the dreaded E word) read for this age group! I'm ordering the next in the series today!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Even better than the Shakespeare Stealer..... 21 Aug. 2001
By Maira - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellent read! IT is even better than the shakespeare stealer. After the plague becomes a threat to Lord Chamberlin's men they have to travel and preform plays in order to keep everything running. Sander decides to stay behind to take care of the orphan children and Widge goes. Widge however has a new threat. This new actor, Sal Pavy, who is as rude as anything is stealing all Widge's roles. Of course Widge is a good actor but is the new Sal Pavy even better? And to make matters worse Mr. Shakespeare breakes his arms and has to have Widge scribe for him. If Widge already doesn't have 2 much 2 do-- he also become a small physician for the Chamberlin's men since he was an apprentice to a physician, Dr.Bright, before. And then widge meets someone who claims to be his father. Is he really who he says he is? If so will Widge leave the company to be with him? This is a must read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An excellent continuation of The Shakespeare Stealer 8 Sept. 2008
By Whitt Patrick Pond - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Shakespeare's Scribe is the second book in what has become The Shakespeare Stealer series. It is, in my opinion, every bit as good as the first book and in some ways even better. We get to see Widge, the orphan turned thief turned actor, continue to face new challenges he must deal with when the dreaded plague comes to London. When all the theaters are closed as a health measure, the Chamberlain's Men decide to take their company north to play in the smaller more remote towns. In the course of this action, Widge is confronted by the challenge of becoming Master Shakespeare's scribe when the playwright's arm is broken. At the same time, he must deal with the unexpected appearance not only of a clue to his mother's identity but also of a man who may, or may not, be his father. And if that were not enough, Widge must deal with a new boy actor - Sal Pavy - who seems determined to take over all of Widge's acting roles. And he must do all of this without the companionship of his closest friend Sander, who stays behind in London to help Mr. Pope take care of the orphans.

Blackwood is at his best when the action is within the realm of the theater, in particular when we see Shakespeare through Widge's eyes as the playwright struggles with creating a new play. Blackwood does an excellent job of showing how much work it is and how even the great masters must at times struggle with a single line, and how moments of inspiration can come from the most unlikely circumstances. The author also does a good job of showing what going on tour meant in Elizabethan times when a company had to haul their theatrical gear over dirt roads that could quickly turn to mud, to play in towns where fear of the plague could turn people against them, and to contend with both rival theatrical groups and con-men who cheat towns by promising performances but then taking the money and disappearing. In addition, Blackwood works in a lot of interesting historical details about the plague, what people thought caused it, how they tried (and largely failed) to protect themselves against it, and the sheer terror and despair it left in its wake. It's also interesting to see Widge, quite unwillingly, taking on the role of being the company's resident medical authority simply because he once worked for a "doctor". That the doctor was a theologian and not a physician is apparently secondary and Widge is forced time and again to do his best with what little he knows.

One thing I particularly liked is how Blackwood gives his characters shading, so that even when they're arrogant and scheming, as Widge's rival Sal Pavy is, or untrustworthy, as Widge's alleged father seems to be, they still have qualities that make them real people and if not completely sympathetic, at least understandable that there are reasons they are the way they are. And the way in which Widge finally deals with his rival just by itself makes the book worth the read.

All in all, this is a very worthy sequel and does a great job of allowing Widge to grow as a character even as the reader's understanding grows of the theatrical life in Elizabethan England. Highly recommended.
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