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Ill Met by Moonlight Mass Market Paperback – 1 Oct 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books; Reprint edition (Oct. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441009832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441009831
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.1 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,487,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Take a story that has a poor man's wife and daughter kidnapped, the mysterious death of a monarch, the rightful heir passed over due to a physical abnormality, twist them and entwine them together, and you'd have a pretty good story. Now, make the poor man none other than a young William Shakespeare, living in Stratford prior to his ascension in London. The murdered monarchs turn out to be King Oberon and Queen Titania of the fairy people. The abnormality of the rightful heir Quicksilver turns out to be the ability to shape-shift between two aspects of himself, a quality that his brother Sylvanus exploits to become the king. Now mix up these elements and you'd swear that Sarah Hoyt had three witches stirring a brew and speaking cryptic riddles in her office when she wrote "Ill Met By Moonlight".
In this well crafted novel we meet young Will Shakespeare, before he went to London, and before he wrote his first play. Earning a meager wage as a teacher, he lives with his wife Anne and infant daughter Susannah in a small house on his father's lot. His simple life is broken apart when he returns home one night to find his family gone. In trying to locate them Will finds that Sylvanus has taken them to the fairy palace so Anne can be wet nurse for Sylvanus' daughter whose human mother has recently died...
Hoyt's use of language not only provides the images of the places and participants, but also the feeling of the setting as it must have appeared during Shakespeare's life. She seamlessly blends the real world with that of fairy as Will moves between the two worlds to find his family, and discovers that there may be more for him in life than his role as a humble teacher.
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Format: Hardcover
Ill Met by Moonlight is unique among the few works of fiction that use William Shakespeare as a character. The trouble with most of those novels and films is their lack of daring. The precious few facts we know about the man are treated with such reverence that the author hardly dares to make the most believable addition. Maybe Will played detective and investigated Kit Marlowe's death? Maybe a girl sneaked in to play a girl's part? Maybe the Queen herself dropped by to catch a performance? They amuse us by timidly stepping a toe into the great unknown sea of Shakespeare's personal history.
Sarah Hoyt's Ill Met by Moonlight, on the other hand, is fired by an imagination and daring worthy of the playwright. The premise is simple and grand: what if Shakespeare based A Midsummer Night's Dream on his own encounters with the world of Faerie? And this is not the fairyland of Victorian children's stories that young Will falls into, rather it is the dark ethereal realm our ancestors thought they shared their world with. Kirk's Secret Commonwealth, inhabited by Tam Lin and Allingham's Fairies, in which a man who joins the dance in the fairy circle, may wake up the next day to find twenty years have passed in the world he knew.
Will's wife Nan and young daughter Susannah are spirited away to a crystal palace that appears in an enchanted wood, and Will, going to their rescue, finds himself enmeshed in the political affairs of nearly immortal creatures who, for all their great powers, are as succeptible as mortals to lust and greed and rage and the will to power. And is seduced by the impossibly beautiful Lady Silver. And finds himself loved by Lord Quicksilver, for Quicksilver and Silver are one in the same, a shapechanger who transforms between the human sexes as others of his kind transform between species.
Ill Met by Moonlight is an original and truly wonderful entertainment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 32 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful tale worthy of the Bard 9 Nov. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Take a story that has a poor man's wife and daughter kidnapped, the mysterious death of a monarch, the rightful heir passed over due to a physical abnormality, twist them and entwine them together, and you'd have a pretty good story. Now, make the poor man none other than a young William Shakespeare, living in Stratford prior to his ascension in London. The murdered monarchs turn out to be King Oberon and Queen Titania of the fairy people. The abnormality of the rightful heir Quicksilver turns out to be the ability to shape-shift between two aspects of himself, a quality that his brother Sylvanus exploits to become the king. Now mix up these elements and you'd swear that Sarah Hoyt had three witches stirring a brew and speaking cryptic riddles in her office when she wrote "Ill Met By Moonlight".
In this well crafted novel we meet young Will Shakespeare, before he went to London, and before he wrote his first play. Earning a meager wage as a teacher, he lives with his wife Anne and infant daughter Susannah in a small house on his father's lot. His simple life is broken apart when he returns home one night to find his family gone. In trying to locate them Will finds that Sylvanus has taken them to the fairy palace so Anne can be wet nurse for Sylvanus' daughter whose human mother has recently died. Quicksilver in turn discovers Will, and embroils him in a plot to regain his throne that forces Will to eventually fight the powerful magic of Sylvanus not only for his family, but for his life.
Hoyt's use of language not only provides the images of the places and participants, but also the feeling of the setting as it must have appeared during Shakespeare's life. She seamlessly blends the real world with that of fairy as Will moves between the two worlds to find his family, and discovers that there may be more for him in life than his role as a humble teacher. Working to stay true to what is known of Shakespeare's early life, she weaves a story full of court intrigue, mysterious deaths, and hidden motivations that introduce many character types that show up in various later plays by the as yet still mortal bard.
Written for readers of the twenty-first century, using characters and locations from the sixteenth, "Ill Met By Moonlight" is an excellent tale of heroism, conspiracy, and the search for justice. A story that would be worthy of stage presentation in five acts, if such were still being written today.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quicksilver! 14 Nov. 2003
By Daniela Dohmen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
To tell the truth I probably would've walked by the display of "Ill met by moonlight" in a bookstore, ignoring its colourful cover or flashing title. Fantasy and fairy tales are not really my cup of tea. However, it was the prospect of listening to audio book version read by Jason Carter that made me buy the tale. Fans do some crazy stuff that is for sure.
Now, after listening to eight hours of adventure, love and magic, I have to admit that I would've truly missed a fantastic novel if I hadn't bought it when I did. The first few minutes, the prologue to be exact, sounded strange to my ears. Then the story started and I was pulled into the magical world of Will Shakespeare and Prince Quicksilver.
English is not my first language so I have to say that I did not understand all words of this very colourful story. I learned to love and hate the characters and when the story moved on I was eager to see what would happen in the next scene, the next paragraph, yes, the next sentence. I fell in love with Quicksilver just as Lady Ariel did - and yet hoped for the dark Lady Silver to show Will the pleasures of love and passion. Sometimes my breath would catch in my throat when the unexpected happened. The Hunter's evil herd of wolves, or Will's attempt to capture Lady Silver by iron chains made me gasp in surprise and I hoped and feared for my favourite character.
In the end I was sad that the tale ended so soon but it was a good end, a happy end of a fairy tale.
This was only the second audio book I've ever "read". I was very pleased with the reading by Jason Carter who breathed vivid life into each character.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare's Dark Lady Revealed 17 Jun. 2005
By Gypsi Phillips Bates - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Quicksilver, youngest child of Titania and Oberon, was to be the heir to their kingdom. On their disappearance, however, his older brother, Sylvanus, stole the throne and Quicksilver became immersed in bitterness and hatred. He would do anything to regain his rightful place, regardless of the hurt he might cause to others.

Sylvanus, fancier of mortal women, has just lost his wife to childbirth. He takes a solid, and to him immeasurably attractive, country woman, nursing her own child, to be nursemaid to his motherless child-with the intent of making her much more than just a nursemaid.

Will Shakespeare comes come from work one evening to find his wife and infant daughter missing, replaced by sticks of wood. Sick with worry, he sets out on the long walk to Nan's family, in hopes she has been called there to attend a pregnant relative. While passing through Arden Forrest he sees the most bizarre vision: his wife, Nan, dressed in courtly clothing dancing with royalty in a castle set in air that Will cannot penetrate. Quicksilver involves Will in his plot for the throne, throwing the four of them-five if you count Quicksilver's spurned lover-into a plot worthy of the bard himself.

Sarah Hoyt's interpretation of Will Shakespeare's past is novel and enjoyable, with both humor and seriousness. As Shakespeare often did , Hoyt gives the comedy some tragic turns-some, however, that I felt weren't well enough resolved. I would be interested to hear what other readers have to say as well. She gives another nod to Shakespeare by throwing in quotes, tongue in cheek, in a mostly amusing way. Some seemed to forced, but they often brought a grin.

I enjoyed seeing the young, tentative Will who was very much in love with his older wife Nan. He proves himself to be very much the nineteen-year-old boy, who loves both with his heart and with his-well, his other parts. He was no match for the wiles of Quicksilver or for the beautiful mysterious woman. It is said that mortals who have been loved by an elf go crazy-Hoyt points out Kit Marlow and then shows Will following that same path, a nice wink toward his greatness and it's source.

I also enjoyed seeing Anne Hathaway Shakespeare in another role than that of shrew, as so many portray her. In Ill Met By Moonlight, Nan has a strong (though not shrewish) character, both standing up to Sylvanus and looking out for Will's best interest; it is she that I was the most fond of by the end of the book.

Overall, this was a fresh take on an old subject and I found it, if not engrossing, generally delightful. Of all the Shakespeare-as-hero-fiction I've read thus far, this is by far my favorite.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Met 13 Mar. 2003
By Richard Wells - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sarah Hoyt has written a lovely fantasy that has the young Will Shakespeare saving his wife from the world of fairy, meeting his muse, and witnessing an internecine fairy conflict that will become grist for much of his future writing. She has also given us a literary guessing game as characters, quotes, and plots of the Bard's output come peeking around the corners of the story. Ariel is a dream. Her look into "fairyland" is often stunning in its invention. I particularly liked the use of dew drops as a sort of Elizabethan era DVD. There are points where the plot drags, but the book is short enough that we quickly move back along, and the excitement of fairy duels and life at court more than make up for any shortcomings. This book will do well in the hands of an adult, but should do exceptionally well with the "young mature" reader. Recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Original and Wonderful Entertainment 20 Oct. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Ill Met by Moonlight is unique among the few works of fiction that use William Shakespeare as a character. The trouble with most of those novels and films is their lack of daring. The precious few facts we know about the man are treated with such reverence that the author hardly dares to make the most believable addition. Maybe Will played detective and investigated Kit Marlowe's death? Maybe a girl sneaked in to play a girl's part? Maybe the Queen herself dropped by to catch a performance? They amuse us by timidly stepping a toe into the great unknown sea of Shakespeare's personal history.
Sarah Hoyt's Ill Met by Moonlight, on the other hand, is fired by an imagination and daring worthy of the playwright. The premise is simple and grand: what if Shakespeare based A Midsummer Night's Dream on his own encounters with the world of Faerie? And this is not the fairyland of Victorian children's stories that young Will falls into, rather it is the dark ethereal realm our ancestors thought they shared their world with. Kirk's Secret Commonwealth, inhabited by Tam Lin and Allingham's Fairies, in which a man who joins the dance in the fairy circle, may wake up the next day to find twenty years have passed in the world he knew.
Will's wife Nan and young daughter Susannah are spirited away to a crystal palace that appears in an enchanted wood, and Will, going to their rescue, finds himself enmeshed in the political affairs of nearly immortal creatures who, for all their great powers, are as succeptible as mortals to lust and greed and rage and the will to power. And is seduced by the impossibly beautiful Lady Silver.
Ill Met by Moonlight is an original and truly wonderful entertainment.
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