(From the publisher):
Before he was William Shakespeare, playwright and poet, he was simply Will, a young man who dreamed of the writer he would someday be.
This graceful historical novel traces Shakespeare's momentous path of creative and emotional self-discovery focusing on his apprentice years and concluding before the great plays that would earn him his fame. It begins with the glover's son roaming the fields of Stratford, hungry for knowledge and restless to escape the boundaries of his small town and loveless marriage. Leaving his family for the turbulence and excitement of London, Will becomes a struggling actor whose charmed, reckless circle of literary and theatrical friends includes John Heminges, Ben Jonson, and Christopher Marlowe - men who will in time create an unforgettable period of theater. All the while, however, Shakespeare continues to challenge himself as a writer; soon he is selling his plays and earning acclaim in the world of the London theater and aristocracy.
Yet perhaps his finest and most heartfelt writing of the period can be found in the sonnets written for the Earl of Southampton, the beautiful young lord whose affection and aloofness stir the poet's soul. The Earl becomes Shakespeare's patron, friend, romantic rival, and eventually, his lover. With the Earl and the bewitching Italian musician Emilia Bassano, Shakespeare plunges deep into a tempestuous love triangle that will threaten both his desire to write and his sense of himself.
(from the publisher)
Original title: The Players: A Novel of the Young Shakespeare
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ European→ British Isles→ England