Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – and that of the playhouses, playwrights and actors vying for acclaim and glory – propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal.
Showcasing his renowned storyteller’s skill, Bernard Cornwell has created an Elizabethan world incredibly rich in its portrayal: you walk the London streets, stand in the palaces and are on stage in the playhouses, as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.
About the author
Bernard Cornwell was born in London, raised in Essex and worked for the BBC for eleven years before meeting Judy, his American wife. Denied an American work permit he wrote a novel instead and has been writing ever since. He and Judy divide their time between Cape Cod and Charleston, South Carolina.
‘With all the vivid history that is his trademark, Bernard Cornwell transports the readers to the playhouses, backstreets and palaces of Shakespeare’s London with added depth and compassion, and a likeable hero.’ Philippa Gregory
‘Story and characters crackle off the page as do the stink and violence of Elizabethan London. The author of the Sharpe and Last Kingdom bestsellers has pulled off a surprise for his readers — and a terrific one at that.’ Elizabeth Buchan, DAILY MAIL
The Times Saturday Review Book of the Month
‘Cornwell is an enthusiastic amateur dramatist. His portrayal of the actors’ rivalries and superstitions is sharp and often funny. His combination of wit, adventure and deft characterisation is a triumphant departure from his usual territory.’ THE TIMES
Praise for Bernard Cornwell:
‘Like Game of Thrones, but real’ OBSERVER
‘Blood, divided loyalties and thundering battles’ THE TIMES
‘Strong narrative, vigourous action and striking characterisation, Cornwell remains king of the territory he has staked out as his own’ SUNDAY TIMES
‘A violent, absorbing historical saga, deeply researched and thoroughly imagined’ WASHINGTON POST
‘The best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present. Cornwell really makes history come alive’ George R.R. Martin
‘Cornwell draws a fascinating picture of England as it might have been before anything like England existed’ THE TIMES
‘He’s called a master storyteller. Really he’s cleverer than that’ TELEGRAPH
‘A reminder of just how good a writer he is’ SUNDAY TIMES
‘Nobody in the world does this better than Cornwell’ Lee Child