cover image The Nine Giants

The Nine Giants

Edward Marston. St. Martin's Press, $17.95 (235pp) ISBN 978-0-312-06426-6

Marston's fourth novel set in the world of Elizabethan theater will have its audience calling for encores. Brimming with life, colorful dialogue and, of course, drama, the story follows the tribulations of Nicholas Bracewell, stage manager of the acting troupe Lord Westerfield's Men. As he oversees rehearsals and performances, Bracewell must also salve the fragile egos of actor and ladies' man Lawrence Firethorn; lovelorn and talented playwright and actor Edmund Hoode; and even aspiring poet Abel Strudwick, a humble waterman who ferries passengers across the river Thames. On Strudwick's boat Bracewell and the waterman discover a corpse in the river that may be linked to misfortunes assailing the company and to a crime that is close to home for Bracewell. Young hatter apprentice Hans Kippel, who works for Bracewell's landlady and lover, Anne Hendrik, returns from an errand traumatized and with alarming loss of memory. Has he witnessed something terrible? Meanwhile, the landlord of the inn that is home to the players plans to sell his premises. At another inn, known as The Nine Giants, the actors try out a new venue and the drama comes to a stirring conclusion. (Sept.)