4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Brings Shakespeare to life - a must-read,
This review is from: King Of Shadows (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.