The Shakespeare Conspiracy
By Ted Bacino
ISBN: 978-1452050669 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1452050652 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1452050676 (ebook)
Genre: Historical Comedy-Drama
England’s foremost playwright is suspiciously murdered days before he is to be tried for treason. And an unknown actor suddenly becomes England’s star playwright virtually overnight. Murder, mystery and manhunts in 1593.
How could Christopher Marlowe, a known spy and England’s foremost playwright, be suspiciously murdered and quickly buried in an unmarked grave just days before he was to be tried for treason? How could William Shakespeare, an unknown actor who “held horses for the gentry while they watched the plays”, become England’s star playwright virtually overnight?
“The Shakespeare Conspiracy” is a comedy-thriller that intertwines the two mysteries. It’s a wild ride through the gay London theatre world as the city fights the black plague, the hunt for Catholics, and the questions about Marlowe’s murder.
As Marlowe and his sponsor/lover, Sir Thomas Walsingham realize that the sentence for heresy is always death by being “drawn and quartered.” So they fake Marlowe’s murder and arrange for an unknown actor to front the new works by Marlowe.
Quickly the crown becomes suspicious of Marlowe’s mysterious murder and the similarities of his works with those of Shakespeare’s. (There are actually more than 100 identical or similar lines in the works of the two authors.)
A manhunt begins with Marlowe being chased from city after city in Italy. He flees the Venetian city just as he finishes “The Merchant of Venice” and “Othello.” He runs from Padua as he writes “The Taming of the Shrew” and he must leave Verona after a close call while he tries to finish “Romeo and Juliet” and “Two Gentlemen of Verona.” The chase continues to Rome and Sicily where Marlowe in finally cornered.
Meanwhile back in London, Shakespeare is trying to hide from the investigations of Constable Maunder and defend his writing of plays he’s never read. And the homoerotic references in the recent works plague Shakespeare with his drinking buddies, his concubines and his wife. The whole chase culminates in a final confrontation of excitement and murder.
All the historical facts presented in the book are accurate except for one date (which is explained in the preface). The last third of the book is a supplement verifying the facts in the novel.
The book has been made into a stage play that has had successful productions nationwide and the novel has been optioned for a movie.
About the Author:
Ted Bacino has had a wild career as a newspaper reporter, high school and college educator, executive-assistant Secretary of State in Illinois, and vice-president of a chain of banks. He has also directed more than 100 musicals for three colleges, a dinner-theater, and Starlight Theater. As a writer he has lived in Germany, London, Venice, and Paris. He is now 82 years old and resides in Palm Springs, CA. He has a BA and MA from Northern Illinois University and a KSG from Harvard.
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