Monday, June 17, 2019
The Assassin of Verona by Benet Brandreth
Venice, 1586. William Shakespeare is masquerading as the steward to the English Ambassador to Venice. But the Ambassador is dead, killed in an ambush by agents of the sinister Pope Sixtus V, sworn enemy of the English Queen Elizabeth. He and his fellow players Nicholas Oldcastle and John Hemminges have taken up the Ambassador's secret mission and now possess the names of the Pope's agents in England who seek to destroy Queen Elizabeth. But their disguise is wearing thin, and the Pope's agents in Venice are closing in. They need to get out of Venice and take their knowledge back to England before they are caught. But Shakespeare refuses to leave his Venetian mistress, Isabella Lisarro. Finally Oldcastle and Hemminges leave without him.
In neighboring Verona, the Lady Aemelia, the only child and heir of the Duke of Verona, is in love with her cousin Valentine. a poor relation who fancies himself a poet. The Duke is desperate to find a warrior to wed his daughter and defend the dukedom from the Pope's ambitions. The Duke is fiercely resisting the Pope's Inquisitor, the sinister Father Thornhill who has been tasked to seek out and destroy all opposition to the Pope's absolute authority.
Will Shakespeare and his friends escape with their secrets - and their lives?
The Assassin of Verona, like its predecessor, The Spy of Venice, is packed with action, intrigue, and rapier-sharp wit, as it speculates on what Shakespeare could have been doing during the seven-year gap in our knowledge of his life between leaving Stratford and establishing himself as an actor and playwright in London.
Benet Brandreth is an intellectual property lawyer, a lecturer on Shakespeare and rhetoric coach for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and created and performed his own one-man show at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival.