The Shakespeare Stealer

Gary L. Blackwood, Author, Stephen Alcorn, Author
Gary L. Blackwood, Author, Stephen Alcorn, Author Dutton Books $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-525-45863-0
Reviewed on: 05/04/1998
Release date: 05/01/1998
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-0-14-130595-0
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-0-439-11310-6
Prebound-Glued - 978-0-606-17870-9
Prebound-Glued - 216 pages - 978-0-613-28638-1
Prebound-Glued - 216 pages - 978-0-7807-9977-6
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A myriad of anachronisms mar this predictable tale of a Yorkshire orphan. Widge, the 14-year-old narrator, is sent by a rival theater manager to steal the as-yet-unpublished Hamlet in 1601 London and ends up an apprenticing actor instead. Blackwood (Wild Timothy), a playwright and amateur actor himself, clearly knows Shakespeare, but is a bit cloudy on some details of the Elizabethan era. Widge mentions square city blocks, describes his dinner kept warm on the back of the stove and notes that a man wounded in a duel had recovered in a hospital--this in an age of unplanned cities, meals cooked over open fires and hospitals that were for terminally ill paupers. Blackwood excels, however, in the lively depictions of Elizabethan stagecraft and street life. Lonely outcast Widge is a sympathetic character, but his frequent shifts in voice from Yorkshire dialect to 20th-century American slang may be disconcerting to readers, and the villainy of Widge's nemesis seems all too familiar. Ages 9-12. (May)
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