A dramatic new departure for international bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, FOOLS AND MORTALS takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.
‘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’ Philippa Gregory
In the heart of Elizabethan England, young Richard Shakespeare dreams of a glittering career in the London playhouses, dominated by his older brother, William. But as a penniless actor with a silver tongue, Richard’s onetime gratitude begins to sour, as does his family loyalty.
So it is that Richard falls under suspicion when a priceless manuscript goes missing, forcing him into a high-stakes game of duplicity and betrayal, and through the darkest alleyways of the city.
In this richly portrayed tour de force, Fools and Mortals takes you among the streets and palaces, scandals and rivalries, and lets you stand side-by-side with the men and women of Bernard Cornwell’s masterful Elizabethan London.
‘‘Sharp and funny … His combination of wit, adventure and deft characterisation succeeds triumphantly’ THE TIMES
‘Fools and Mortals is a delight. Witty and knowledgeable in its evocation of Shakespearean London … highly enjoyable’ BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE
‘Cornwell not only succeeds in creating an engaging story, but also in celebrating the difficulties and delights, at any time in history, of putting on a show’ THE SUNDAY TIMES
‘Cornwell leads us effortlessly through palaces and playhouses with the skill of a master storyteller who loves this period of history’ DAILY EXPRESS
‘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
‘A cracking novel … the atmosphere and intrigues of this dangerous time are vividly realised. A smash hit’ THE TIMES
‘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:
'Strong narrative, vigourous action and striking characterisation, Cornwell remains king of the territory he has staked out as his own' SUNDAY TIMES
‘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
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.