At the centre of this intriguing, irresistible novel are the young Lambs: Charles, constrained by the tedium of his work as a clerk at the East India Company, taking refuge in a drink or three too many while spreading his wings as a young writer, and his clever, adoring sister Mary, confined by domesticity, an ailing, dotty father and a maddening mother- Into their lives comes William Ireland, an ambitious 17-year-old antiquarian and bookseller, anxious not only to impress his demanding showman of a father, but to make his mark on the literary world. When Ireland turns up a document in the handwriting of Shakespeare himself, he takes Mary into his confidence - but soon scholars and actors alike are beating a path to the little bookshop in Holborn Passage. Touching and tragic, ingenious, funny and vividly alive, this is Ackroyd at the top of his form in a masterly retelling of a nineteenth-century drama which keeps the reader guessing right to the end.
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(241mm x 161mm x 20mm)
Chatto & Windus
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
London 1795 and the literary world is agog with the 'discovery ' of a new Shakspearean drama. Mary Lamb and her brother Charles live unhappy lives; Charles desires a literary life above all else and Mary, strangled by the ties of duty is entranced by a chance meeting with William Ireland. Betrayal pushes Mary over the edge, with dire consequences for all concerned. Is William all that he seems? A short story, which does not reach its full potential with endings, tied up too swiftly. Cleverly written, but lacking depth. ----------------------------------------------------------- REVISED REVIEW FOLLOWS: London 1795 and Mary and her brother Charles both live restricted lives. Mary is dominated by her mother and the restrictions of her class whilst Charles, working for the East India Company is driven to drink by boredom and the desire to become a great writer. Enter onto the scene one William Ireland the son of a bookseller and their fates are sealed. Mary falls for the seventeen year old William and is entranced by his enthusiasm and energy, but mostly by his 'discovery': a lost manuscript, verified as being by non other than The Bard himself! London is set alight by the discovery, but is William all that he seems? Betrayal and deceit are poor bedfellows with desperate consequences for all concerned. An exciting novel of literary London, but hurried at the end. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Peter Ackroyd
Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning historian, biographer, novelist, poet and broadcaster. He is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography, Thames: Sacred River and London Under; biographies of figures including Charles Dickens, William Blake, Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock; and a multi-volume history of England. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.