(Review) The Spy of Venice, William Shakespeare Thriller 1 by Benet Brandreth

Publication Date: March 24, 2016.
Publisher: Twenty7 Books, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing Fiction.
Genre: Historical fiction, William Shakespeare.
Pages: 448.
Source: Free advanced reader copy from Twenty7 in exchange for a review.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

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About the Author:
Benet Brandreth is a highly-regarded barrister, rhetoric coach and authority on Shakespeare.  He works regularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Donmar and others on Shakespeare’s use of language.  He has also written and performed for radio and the stage.  His one-man show, “The Brandreth Papers”, was a five-star reviewed sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival and on its London transfer.  He is qualified as an instructor in the Filipino Martial Arts and as a stage combat choreographer.  He lives in London with his wife and two sons and is exhausted from all his efforts at becoming a Renaissance Man.

Spring, 1585.
Young William Shakespeare is unhappy living a domestic life. He has a wife and three children. He works in a glove shop. After a short-lived tryst with a young woman, he leaves home for a new life in London. Shakespeare meets a group of players who have plans to travel with England's Ambassador to Venice, Italy. While in Venice, Shakespeare meets exhilarating and mysterious Isabella. Isabella is haunted by her past. Venice is an enticing and romantic city; however, it holds danger and intrigue.
The Spy of Venice focuses on the lost years of William Shakespeare, 1585-1592.

My Thoughts:
I love The Spy of Venice. 
I am a William Shakespeare fan. I was immediately drawn-in to the story about his (unknown) life; including the added elements of mystery, danger, travel, and romance.
The Spy of Venice has an exotic feel. The culture and society of Venice, Italy as compared to London, England is polar in differences. For example: Catholicism rules in Venice. The Protestant Reformation has settled in London. The Spy of Venice characters have a link to the pope. Another example of the exotic feel to the story is in one scene where Shakespeare is walking through the streets of Venice, the people described are of different "colours and fashions of attire, speaking all the languages of Christendom and the barbarous tongues of lands beyond...." London, England is not a metro-cultural-haberdashery of people. It is a land far away from Venice's worldly culture.
The Spy of Venice begins with a three page introduction that left me gasping. I was shocked at the beginning story and had to read-on for the full story's revelation.
The Spy of Venice is a romantic story that is a perfect fit for Shakespeare. He would never settle for a normal status-quo relationship. His heart yearns for a thrilling dramatic affair.
The Spy of Venice is organized by chapters and sections like in a play. For example, Prologue, Act One, and Interlude.
I'm anxious to read future books in this series!


  1. This sounds like a wonderful new series. I'm a fan of Shakespeare and always marvel at the details in his plays. Thanks for the tip.


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