In this historical novel the author once again proves that he can write about any era. He describes the London of the 16th century exactly as how I would imagine it- the sights, smells, the state of the Thames at this time, the political intrigues and tensions in society, the poverty and squalor of the poor and the danger in the street from pickpockets and thieves. The writer describes things in such detail that you can't help but be transported to Shakespeare's London and have a good look around!
This is the second in a series involving the cousin of, and with the same name as, William Shakespeare. To save confusion, I'll refer to him as Will. Will has moved to London to get a job working in the theatre but he has no skills and is mostly only useful for moving heavy things about. He ends up sharing a room with his cousin and owing him money for rent. That is until he decides to set up business as a 'discoverer,' and is hired to retrieve some letters from some shady and villainous characters.
Will's interactions with other people lend a lot of humour to the story. This includes much banter between he and his cousin, William Shakespeare, and with his cousin's mistress.
On top of trying to make a success of things in his working life Will tries to straighten out his romantic attachments. Unfortunately for him, he is in love with, a not very likeable, married lady, Elizabeth Walsall, and is constantly at odds with himself and her over their feelings for each other. This relationship is set up to evolve and continue into the series.
Will is quite a bungling character but he is good natured which holds him in good stead. His adventures in the big city are all the more humorous for this and I look forward to reading more.