Historical Drama – The Shakespeare Conspiracy

The Shakespeare ConspiracyThe Shakespeare Conspiracy
By Ted Bacino
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN: 978-1452050669 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1452050652 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1452050676 (ebook)
Pages: 288
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.

The Shakespeare Conspiracy AuthorAbout 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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Biographical/Historical Fiction – The Evolutionist

The EvolutionistThe Evolutionist
By Avi Sirlin
Publisher: Aurora Metro Press
Published: November 2014
ISBN: 978-1906582531
Pages: 334
Genre: Historical Fiction; Biographical Novel

The Evolutionist tells the story of one of Britain’s most controversial and misunderstood Victorians, a man Sir David Attenborough called “the most admirable character in the history of science” —  Alfred Russel Wallace. In 1858, Wallace earned equal credit with Charles Darwin for the discovery of our modern theory of evolution. But in an era that pitted science against faith, Wallace boldly declared his belief in both — thus clashing headlong with London’s scientific elite, including Darwin. More than 150 years later, Wallace has become the forgotten father of evolution.

Book Description/Blurb:
1858. The Malay Archipelago. In these remote tropics, a young British naturalist, Alfred Wallace, toils in obscurity. He collects specimens—beetles, moths, ants and birds—that sell for pennies apiece in England. He also investigates ideas that perplex the world’s leading scientific minds, an elite community that spurns him as a mere interloper.

One night in his isolated jungle hut, suffering from fever and hallucination, Wallace solves the greatest mystery of the era: the origin of species. To circulate his discovery, he contacts a distant acquaintance—Charles Darwin. Unbeknownst to Wallace, Darwin has been secretly penning a near-identical version of the same evolutionary theory for twenty years. Wallace’s fateful decision to confide in Darwin forges a unique bond between the two men. Darwin achieves world-renown and Wallace earns, if nothing else, widespread grudging respect. But then Wallace returns to England and takes up with the spiritualist movement sweeping the nation. Devotion to spiritualism launches Wallace into a headlong clash not only with London’s scientific establishment, but the man at its very center, Darwin.

From oppressive jungle to mid-Victorian London, The Evolutionist tells of one man’s determination to seek out his own truth. It is a story of perseverance and inspiration, science and faith, and ultimately, it is about the resilience of the human heart.

Recent Praise for The Evolutionist:
A strongly impressionistic portrait of an undeservedly little-known scientist, The Evolutionist is a raptly compelling read.” – Midwest Book Review

“Sirlin weaves fact and fiction into an enthralling account .. ” – Natalie Heng, The Star (Malaysia)

“…If you’ve ever heard the theory of natural selection explained and thought, “Why didn’t I think of that?” then read this book and find out why. It took far more than just thinking about it; it took a lifetime of hardship and adventure.” – David Jones, author North American Wildlife

“A wide audience beyond the scientifically curious will find this an easy read and come away with a richer understanding of the rigours of early scientific research – both in the field and in the halls of established theory.” – Professor Gene J. Parola, author The Devil to Pay

“The Evolutionist is a triumph of biographical fiction, an utterly convincing character study of one of the most poignant figures in the history of science.” – Nowick Gray, author of Hunter’s Daughter

“Brimful of factual details … This novel will appeal to any reader interested in … the lives of the intrepid Victorian specimen hunters.” – Historical Novel Society

“An exciting adventure story well told.” – Peter Hobson, Shiny New Books

The Evolutionist AuthorAbout the Author:
Avi Sirlin holds degrees in biology and law. For more than 15 years, he operated a law practice in downtown Toronto, with an emphasis on immigration, refugee and criminal law. He closed his practice in order to focus more on writing. Avi currently lives in Victoria, British Columbia. The Evolutionist is his first published novel.





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Historical Fiction – Kipling & Trix

Kipling & TrixKipling & Trix
By Mary Hamer
Publisher: Aurora Metro Press
ISBN: 978-1906582340
Pages: 361
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fictionalized Biography

Kipling & Trix, winner of the Virginia Prize for Fiction, tells the story of Rudyard Kipling, author of The Jungle Book, and his sister Trix, as they grow up. Both mean to be writers, both are looking for love but they are hampered by the bitter legacy of their childhood. Not quite six, Rudyard and his little sister, Trix, just three, had been left behind in Southsea by their parents when they went back to India.  The children found themselves abandoned to the power of a foster mother determined to break the boy’s spirit and to take the little girl for herself. How will this past shape their future lives? Based on archive research and set in exotic locations across the world, Kipling & Trix is a story to fascinate women and men readers alike.

Praise for Kipling & Trix:
‘Hamer’s book opens up the complex world of the Kiplings, moving between continents and momentous world events’ -Daily Mail

‘Illuminating new study… She writes clearly, pleasantly, and with a blessed absence of jargon.’ -Times Literary Supplement

‘Mary Hamer’s Kipling and Trix elegantly walks the borders between fact and fiction in her retelling of Rudyard Kipling’s story and his relationship with his sister Trix’ – Historical Novel Society

‘The childhood scenes are particularly compelling, revealing how brother and sister, though dependents, were gradually becoming rivals….The book is a rich collage of potent scenes – you shift viewpoint and we see Rud and Trix through the eyes of many others.’ – Pam Johnson, Words Unlimited

“Although based closely on historical fact, Kipling and Trix is a tour-de-force of imaginative fiction as well as a lyrically written, if often harrowing, tale of surprising passion.” – Gina Barreca, Huffington Post

“Truly engaging” – The Writes of Women

About the Author:
Kipling & Trix AuthorMary travels widely and has given talks in many countries. She has been interviewed on television and radio programmes for the BBC, most recently to tell the world about Trix, Rudyard Kipling’s sister. Passionate about research, she’s published four non-fiction books. But it was Rudyard Kipling who lit her imagination as a child and Mary had always wanted to write about him. Realising that the story of his sister, Trix, was just as compelling, she embarked on Kipling & Trix, her first novel, which was awarded the Virginia Prize for Fiction in 2012. She is also the current chair of The Kipling Society.

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Christian Biographical Fiction – Andrew Murray: Destined to Serve

Andrew Murray Destined to ServeAndrew Murray: Destined to Serve
By Olea Nel
Publisher: Calirvaux House
Published: October 2014
ISBN: 978-0992567101
Pages: 316
Genre: Christian Biographical Fiction

Historically accurate, and based upon Andrew Murray’s letters and early biographies

A boyish and fun-loving Andrew Murray arrives back in South Africa after being ordained at the Hague on his twentieth birthday. He soon discovers that his preaching lacks the power displayed by his heroes of the faith. He therefore decides to embark on a quest to become a powerful preacher filled with the Holy Spirit.

But not long after his appointment as pastor to the Dutch emigrants beyond the borders of the Cape, he finds that he is being shunted off course by a frenetic round of preaching tours that sap his energy and leave him little time to spend with God. He also finds himself having to cope with an overly demanding church council, as well as walk a tightrope between the Boer farmers and the British Settler community who are bent on land speculation to the detriment of neighbouring tribes.

Feeling overwhelmed by the task, and knowing that he was pressed into taking it, he starts to doubt his calling. It does not take him long to realize that he has to either man-up or bow out.

WALK with Andrew Murray as he negotiates his first year of ministry to the Voortrekkers in the Orange River Sovereignty and the Transvaal between the years 1849 and 1850.

PLACE yourself with him in the wilds of Africa teaming with game, lions and African wolves.

THROW into this mix the British, who at the Battle of Boomplaats in 1848 have just taken over the land between the Orange and Vaal Rivers.

IMMERSE yourself in a world where the Boer is forever ready to rebel against their British overlords, and where Paramount Chief Moshesh of the Basuto is constantly threatening war against the British and neighbouring tribes.

OBSERVE how Andrew Murray at twenty-one is able to straddle the divide between Boer and Brit and grow into his role as lone pastor, eager to serve his far-flung congregation of over 20 000 souls.

Available For Download For A Limited Time On NetGalley

About the Author:
Andrew Murray Destined to ServeDr. Olea Nel was born in Cape Town, South Africa. After completing her training as a teacher in Andrew Murray’s heartland of Wellington, she relocated to Australia to further her studies. Besides attaining a PhD in Linguistics, she also has qualifications in Information Studies and Theology. Having now retired from her position as a senior librarian at the National Library of Australia, she is able to pursue her passion for research, especially within the fields of church history and biography. Her aim is to share her findings with fellow Christians.



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