Alternate Shakespeare

Could it have been a death-cheating Kit Marlowe who conjured the thumb-pricked witches of Macbeth?

The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe History Play: The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe by Rodney Bolt

rating: 4 of 5 stars
My local library shelves this book in the nonfiction section, perhaps because of its biographical nature. But do not be confused. This book is fiction, an alternative history that exposes readers to a good deal of factual Elizabethan history along the way.

The aptly titled History Play refers to Shakespeare’s historical dramas. Of course, the title also winks at what’s going on in this narrative, which assumes that playwright Christopher Marlowe did not actually die in a bar room brawl, and was responsible for the plays attributed to Shakespeare.

Fully disclosing his invented sources in the extensive footnotes, the author charges forth with this ‘biography’ in lively prose. The result is compelling, convincing, and worthy of some lost hours on the living room couch with an ‘uuuge mug o’ ale (ale or Good Earth Tea).

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