The first of a trilogy, this does not pretend to be scholarly. It is rather, in the author's own words, ""an attempt to imagine what it was like in Stratford-on-Avon when the eldest son of John Shakespeare was beginning the long war he had to win before he could even hope to conquer his greatest antagonist- himself"". Fisher's young William emerges as a temperamental adolescent given to scribbling and spouting poetry to anyone who will listen. Anne Hathaway is a good listener as well as a fetching woman, sympathetic and understanding of the boy's genius. Written with warmth and humor, the book in greater part concerns the conflict between father and son which becomes more overt when William runs away to join Dick Burbage's company of strolling players. Whether the portrait of this impetuous youth foreshadows the work of the mature poet and dramatist is questionable, but Fisher has created believable characters and placed them against the tumultuous background of Elizabethan England which is no mean achievement.