A clever, pacey thriller set around the search for a lost Shakespearean play.
Tap-tapping the keys and out come the words on this little screen, and who will read them I hardly know. I could be dead by the time anyone actually gets to read them, as dead as, say, Tolstoy. Or Shakespeare. Does it matter, when you read, if the person who wrote still lives?
These are the words of Jake Mishkin, whose seemingly innocent job as an intellectual property lawyer has put him at the centre of a deadly conspiracy and hunt to find a priceless treasure connected to William Shakespeare. As he awaits a killer-or killers-unknown, Jake writes an account of the events that led to this deadly endgame, a frantic chase that began when a fire in an antiquarian bookstore revealed the hiding place of letters containing a shocking secret, concealed for four hundred years. In a frantic race from New York to England and Switzerland, Jake finds himself matching wits with a shadowy figure who seems to anticipate his every move. What at first seems like a thrilling puzzle waiting to be deciphered soon turns into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, where no one – not family, not friends, not lovers – is to be trusted.
Moving between twenty-first-century America and seventeenth-century England, ‘The Book of Air and Shadows’is a modern thriller that brilliantly re-creates William Shakespeare's life at the turn of the seventeenth century and combines an ingenious and intricately layered plot with a devastating portrait of a contemporary man on the brink of self-discovery . . . or self-destruction.
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Praise for the HB:
"In this ingenious literary thriller from Gruber, the lives of two men are changed forever by William Shakespeare and the letters of Richard Bracegirdle, a 16th-century English spy and soldier. . . They mysterious murder of a Shakespearean scholar, shootouts in the streets of Queens and an unlikely romance all combine to make for a gripping, satisfying read."
Publishers Weekly (*starred review*)
"A wonderful story with absolutely superb casting."
Kirkus Reviews (*starred review*).
"Gruber deftly raises the thriller stakes and accelerates the plot while still creating convincing personal journeys. . . All that and a tantalizing imagining of Shakespeare's personality, too."
Booklist (*starred review*).
"Not since A.S. Byatt's Possession (1990) has an author so successfully combined literary puzzle, tempestuous duplicity, human adventure and good old-fashioned story-telling. Gruber's highly recommended novel about the search for that which would be 'the greatest single event in Shakespeare studies' – a quest full of chases, murders, mysteries and eccentric characters – is engaging, fast-moving and hilarious.
Don't miss it!"
Michael Gruber has a Ph.D. in marine biology from the University of Miami. He lives in Seattle, Washington, and is currently at work on another novel.
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