The Shakespeare Plot 1: Assassin's Code by Alex Woolf

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The Shakespeare Plot 1: Assassin's Code by Alex Woolf

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: A lively and colourful adventure, the first in a new series by a very popular and successful author. Set in Elizabethan London, we meet a couple of likeable young characters who get mixed up in a terrible plot to assassinate one of the most important people in the land.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 312 Date: February 2017
Publisher: Scribo
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781911242383

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Shakespeare's London – a vibrant, colourful city rich with promise, new discoveries and great art. A place, too, rife with conspiracies and schemes for murder and mayhem. Add to the mix a mysterious code, a girl disguised as a boy and a young servant asked to spy on his aristocratic master, and the stage is set for thrills and adventure.

It is a well-known fact that girls were never allowed to work in the theatre in Elizabethan England. So, when Alice Fletcher and her brother escape from the orphanage and find work at the Globe, she is forced to cut her hair and wear boy's clothes. For a while all is well: Richard makes such good progress as an aspiring player that he is about to take on a major role as Ophelia on Mr Shakespeare's new play Hamlet, and Alice enjoys her work as a stagehand. But then Richard disappears while on a mysterious errand, and Alice is ordered to take over his role. Disaster - not only has Alice lost her beloved brother, but if she is too successful in the part and people realise she is really a girl, she will be ejected from the only place she has ever been happy, thrown onto the streets with no home and no friends.

Fortunately she meets up with Tom Cavendish, servant to the power-hungry Earl of Essex, and they decide to solve the code Alice's brother left behind, in order to find him and avert a terrible disaster. Their quest takes them all over London, from the court of the Virgin Queen herself to the slums near the Lud Gate and the putrid banks of the Thames. It would be too easy for an author to overload such scenes with detail after detail, in order to impress on young readers what life was really like in Elizabethan London, but the plot in this excellent book gallops along at such a brisk pace that the few bits of information given simply add to the drama. A thrilling climax, which takes place at Shakespeare's Globe itself, will have young readers on the edge of their seats, frantically racing through the pages to discover what happen to the two young friends.

There are some excellent historical novels for young people out there, which combine all the excitement and danger of contemporary adventures with authentic, well-researched settings. Another story centred around Shakespeare's theatre and the court of Elizabeth I is Road to London by Barbara Mitchelhill, and further conspiracies abound in The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands, set in the world of the seventeenth century apothecaries. For a more recent historical setting readers could try A Medal for Leroy by Michael Morpurgo, which has as much to tell young readers about war and colour prejudice as any school textbook.

Buy The Shakespeare Plot 1: Assassin's Code by Alex Woolf at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Shakespeare Plot 1: Assassin's Code by Alex Woolf at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Shakespeare Plot 1: Assassin's Code by Alex Woolf at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Shakespeare Plot 1: Assassin's Code by Alex Woolf at Amazon.com.


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