Short, action-packed chapters convincingly portray the sights, smells, and sounds of lower-class Elizabethan England in 1593.
Rescued from servitude and on the run from the cutthroat Gamaliel Ratsey, young Tom finds himself adrift in the bustling and dangerous city of London. Befriended by expert pickpocket Moll Cutpurse, he lands a job as an apprentice actor with a troop of mysterious men who have been hired to perform a comedy for the queen. Increasingly suspicious of his fellow actors, Tom risks his own life to save that of the aging queen, resulting in an astonishing discovery for them both. Sinister criminals, good-hearted ne'er-do-wells, and Shakespeare himself are all described with sly touches of whimsy that adds to the story's appeal.
This unique blend of fact-based characters and inspired storytelling will appeal especially to readers who enjoy an imaginative, no-holds-barred approach to historical fiction. (Fiction. 10-14)