Monday, February 9, 2009

King of Shadows

Susan Cooper
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1999

Young actor Nat Field is enjoying the opportunity of a lifetime - the chance to travel to England to perform a Shakespeare play in a replica of the Globe Theater. Then, shortly after he arrives in London, he becomes seriously ill. The next morning he wakes up as young actor Nat Field of 1599, recently recruited to join William Shakespeare's players at the original Globe in the premier of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Is it a dream come true, or a nightmare?

Susan Cooper paints a vivid picture of Shakespeare's England complete with open sewage, cut-purses, bear pits, plague, and all those other unglamorous aspects of the age. Nat muddles along as best he can, finding refuge in the familiar lines of the plays and forming a friendship with the playwright he'd admired across the centuries.

This is the sort of story that only Susan Cooper could come up with and pull off so well. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

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