Blood and Ink by D.K. Marley
Publication Date: March 28, 2018
The White Rabbit Publishing
ebook, Paperback, and Audible; 438 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
In the tradition of “The Marlowe Papers” by Ros Barber, the debut historical fiction novel “Blood and Ink” tells the story of Christopher “Kit” Marlowe, the dark and brooding playwright of Queen Elizabeth’s court. Marlowe sells his soul to gain the one thing he desires: to see his name immortalized.
Inspired at an early age on the banks of the Stour River, his passion for a goose quill and ink thrusts him into the labyrinth of England’s underworld – a secret spy ring created by the Queen’s spymaster, Sir Frances Walsingham.
Kit suffers the whips and scorns of time as he witnesses the massacre of Paris, the hypocrisy of the church, the rejection from his ‘dark lady,’ the theft of his identity as a playwright, and wrenching loss breathing life into many of his unforgettable characters.
As he sinks further into the clutches of Walsingham, a masque is written by his own hand to save his life from shadowing betrayers, from the Queen’s own Star Chamber, and from the Jesuit assassins of Rome, thus sending him into exile and allowing an unknown actor from Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare, to step into his shoes.
And so begins the lie; and yet, what will a man not do to regain his name?
“DK Marley’s exhaustively researched and spryly written novel Blood and Ink follows in the tradition of such minor-key classics as Anthony Burgess’ A Dead Man in Deptford, and the central premise of Marley’s book—that Marlowe only faked his death in 1593 in order to escape the attentions of the Privy Council—will be familiar to followers of the Shakespearean authorship question (Shakespeare, needless to say, features prominently here). Marley has sifted through a phenomenal amount of research, but along the way she hasn’t forgotten to tell a first-rate and gripping story, adorned in many places by some very pretty turns of phrase. We may never have a final resolution to the tangled questions Marley raises, but as long as we get such strong and enjoyable novels as this one out of the tangle, we shouldn’t complain.” -Historical Novel Society
My Review: I absolutely adore the Elizabethan Era. If a novel has anything to do with anything whatsoever within this time period, sign me up and count me in.
Now, while I am familiar with William Shakespeare’s work, I confess to only having a basic working knowledge of the man’s life. So, while patiently (impatiently) awaiting my copy of Blood and Ink to arrive, I did a bit of research on William Shakespeare and was blown away to discover how many believe that Shakespeare did not, in truth, write a single word of the work attributed to him. In fact, it is a very popular opinion, indeed. Therefore, when my book arrived, I could hardly wait to dig into it, and did so right away. (You guys, oh my gosh. The introduction! The last line of the introduction, to be precise. Talk about the power of a perfectly constructed/placed sentence.)
This book was a force to be reckoned with. I have heard of novels being described as intoxicating before; now I understand. This book was heady and impossible to walk away from. The talent of the author was on display with every page, every chapter, every plot twist. The historical characters were fleshed out perfectly, each with their own voice and authenticity, each developing as the plot deepened. (Which, admittedly, not all authors are great at.) I felt as though I was given the gift of a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a (very plausible) theory regarding the work of Shakespeare. Not to mention, I feel as though Christopher Marlowe is a permanent fixture in this reader’s heart.
A brilliant…and newfound favorite…novel that lovers of all genres would enjoy.
About the Author
D. K. Marley is a historical fiction writer specializing in Shakespearean themes. Her grandmother, an English Literature teacher, gave her a volume of Shakespeare’s plays when she was eleven, inspiring DK to delve further into the rich Elizabethan language. Eleven years ago she began the research leading to the publication of her first novel “Blood and Ink,” an epic tale of lost dreams, spurned love, jealousy and deception in Tudor England as the two men, William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe, fight for one name and the famous works now known as the Shakespeare Folio.She is an avid Shakespearean / Marlowan, a member of the Marlowe Society, the Shakespeare Fellowship and a signer of the Declaration of Intent for the Shakespeare Authorship Debate. She has traveled to England three times for intensive research and debate workshops, and is a graduate of the intense training workshop “The Writer’s Retreat Workshop” founded by Gary Provost and hosted by Jason Sitzes.She lives in Georgia with her husband and a Scottish Terriers named Maggie and Buster.
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Interview at What Cathy Read Next
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Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
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