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Shakespeare's Rebel
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on 16 March 2015
Love all books by this author - many more to come please
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on 23 March 2013
One has come to expect the best in historical fiction from all the books of the prolific CC Humphreys but his new novel, Shakespeare's Rebel, shows him moving on to new heights.

Set in the romantic and transitional era of Elizabethan London, this new book is not only literary adventure of the highest order, offering up spies,Queens,wenches and the clash of expert swordplay but it takes us deep into what appears to be the author's noblest obsession - the world of the theater stage and more specifically, the works of William Shakespeare.

Humphreys clearly knows the hearts of actors and playwrights very well. He conjures a setting so real that we experience the anguish that old Will went though to bring Hamlet into being on the most personal level and the chapter describing its first performance is the best thing this talented writer has ever done. Few novels can move you so deeply.

Those who know Humphreys' other works will thrill to some new secrets revealed here but newcomers will be swept along by the swashbuckling complexities of John Lawley who finds himself caught up in the middle of the civil war brewing between the mad romantic, the Earl of Essex and the dangerously modern state bureaucrat, Cecil.

As always with Humphreys, there is enough furious action and delightful sex to keep the momentum going at a breakneck pace but woven into the creative arras is a stunning portrait of life as the whole world pivots around the past and the future in the year 1599 and a deeply held respect for the individual and all his strivings.

So, yes this book is exciting and interesting and fun but it also shows a breakthrough for Humphreys to a new level of maturity and commitment and passion as a writer - in as fine a novel as you'll read this year.
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on 23 May 2013
The writer forgets that his obsession may not be that of his customers/readers. There was a good plot there but it was spoiled by the writer's love of actors/players. The modern day phenomenon of viewing the actor as more than just a profession was not matched in history. Patronage may have made some wealthy but patronage was fickle and not widely spread.
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on 29 July 2014
For goodness sake. Once gain I am half way through a book and find out that it is in fact a long term continuation of some of this others. Not one clue to this in the 'product description' which is in fact a load of reviews from somewhere else. Excellent book good story but why oh why can't the publishers give the Kindle book a proper product description and tell us how it relates to his other work.
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on 19 July 2017
First class
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VINE VOICEon 25 January 2014
John Lawley really wants to be left alone—actually, there are three items on his “bucket list”—to win back the heart of the woman he loves, to be a great father to his son, and (and these two are important to theatre lovers!) to arrange fight scenes for the new Globe theater and to help his oldest friend Will Shakespeare finish the play that threatens to destroy him!

Yes, it’s Elizabethan England and in C.C. Humphreys’ “Shakespeare’s Rebel,” we find all the intrigue, drama, deceit, corruption, and even evil-doing in one fell swoop of a novel.

With Elizabeth’s fascination (attraction!) to the Earl of Essex (Robert Deveraux) occupying much of Her Majesty’s attention (she has lots of other things on her mind, too, of course). Essex seems to have no leash on his unfettered actions, much to the dismay and chagrin of many at court. What a mess he can be. And throw in “the troubles” with Ireland (will they never cease?), it’s a wonder Lawley (much less the Queen) can keep sane.

In facing all of these trials and tribs, Lawley also has his own demons in the form of whisky and women. What’s a poor Elizabethan man to do!

But what this reviewer perhaps found most fascinating were the bits and pieces of historical commentary from that period. Humphreys’ work could be scholarly, yet it reads—as it should—as a well-written, easy to follow novel. Lawley’s relationship with the Bard himself certainly creates much literary interest (Will “Hamlet” be completed and known as Will’s greatest work? Will it?). Suspense, period action, intrigue, drama—all add up to an excellent read. The play may be “the thing,” but this novel is worth the price of admission!
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on 4 February 2014
I hadn't read historical fiction in a while when I picked up Shakespeare's Rebeland I have to say it was a great read on a number of levels. It's not the first book I've read by C.C. Humphreys , I 'd previously enjoyed The French Executioner but this far surpassed even that.

The author created a great sense of the London of Shakespeare's time from the filth, to the various street tableaus with the vendors etc., pedestrian crush and general haphazardness along with quite detailed descriptions of the geography of the city. From the start of the story, I liked John Lawley the hero but, again, he is skillfully drawn by the author in that you are drawn to like him but you're not unaware of his failings, most of all his selfishness and undependability - to read a character drawn this roundly is fantastic. The research and detail regarding swordplay is entertaining and educational without ever becoming a lecture on minutia that would be boring.

Beyond all this great stuff, though, there were two elements of the book which I particularly enjoyed. The first was how the capriciousness of the nobility, particularly Essex, Cecil and Elizabeth is portrayed - they all came across as totally ruthless and self-absorbed not caring how they treated their 'pawns' or what affect their decisions had on their lives. It is partially the way they treat Lawley that makes you sympathetic towards him.

The other great element of the book is how well the role the theatre played in society is portrayed and the implications this had for the principals involved such as the writers and actors. More than entertainment or soap opera, the theatre allowed the common populace to give vent to their feelings in relation to the affairs of the day. The theatre had the ability to enflame the passions of the crowd or to lance the boil.

I can't end the review without a quick word on two other items. The scene where Essex rushes back to London with the reluctant Lawley in tow and barges in on Elizabeth is brilliantly written, particularly the climax. And, finally, the author's note at the end of the book is well worth reading, entertaining in its own right and informative.
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on 26 December 2013
I have read quite a few books by this brilliant author but Shakespeare's Rebel is my favourite; the skilful mix of historical and fictional characters in the London of 1599, within a story that mixes wonderful creativity with historical fact, gives the reader a true insight into England in the late Elizabethan era. It's a phenomenal book that entertains and enlightens in equal measure. Simply superb.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 March 2013

When i get to the end of a book im always eager to sit and write the review, to express my opinion and feelings of the work i have just finished. I think this is probably the first time i have been intimidated by the process, worried that i didnt have the right words or the eloquence to do justice to the book.

Yes the book is simply that good.

I have read many stories where the authors love of the subject is clear in the telling of the story. But this time its more than that its a passion for the tale, for the time, for the people and for the subject. This passion leaps from every word, every utterance of every character the very bones and soul of the story.

The synopsis will tell you enough about the plot im certainly not going to spoil a single line of it for you. What my utmost desire is by writing this, is that you go and buy a copy. Because this story has it all; a love story, a family story, History, mystery and intrigue, passion, sex, plots, fighting, infighting, backstabbing...the list could go on and on. Its is the complete package.

A book this good comes along only rarely and deserves to hit the bestseller list.

Highest recommendation


London 1599, a city on the brink of revolution...

He is Queen Elizabeth's last, perhaps her greatest, love - Robert Deveraux, Earl of Essex. Champion jouster, dashing general...and the man that John Lawley, England's finest swordsman, most wishes to avoid. For John knows the other earl - the reckless melancholic - and has had to risk his life for him in battle one time too many.

All John wants is to be left alone to win back the heart of the woman he loves, be the kind of father that his son can look up to, and arrange the fight scenes for the magnificent new theatre, the Globe. To realise these dreams, John must dodge both Essex and his ruthless adversary for the queen's affections, Robert Cecil, and remain free to help his oldest friend Will Shakespeare finish the play that threatens to destroy him: THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET.

But John is doomed by his three devils: whisky, women and Mad Robbie Deveraux. Despite every effort to evade the clutches of Elizabeth and her cohorts, John is soon enmeshed in the intrigues of court and dragged into the seemingly hopeless war in Ireland, forced to play his part in a deadly game of power and politics, conspiracy and rebellion.

From the scaffold of the Globe to the one in the Tower. From ambush in Ireland to even greater menace in Whitehall, John Lawley must strive to be - or not to be - the man who might just save England.
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VINE VOICEon 3 April 2013
Ah, a real joy for me is when I get a book by an author whose name I not only know but one that I've marked in my diary as an author to watch out for because of what's gone before. What CC Humphreys brings to the fore is a story that has solid characters that the reader can identify with as well as weaving a tale that not only fits the time period but treats it with respect.

Add to this solid prose, a wonderful sense of viewing a personal film and when added to the authors cracking style of keeping it not only tightly woven but done in such a way that you can't but help turning the pages just to see who lives and dies, really all round makes this a pleasure just to sit back with. Cracking.
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