I read this for the Time Travel Challenge. Yeah, I’m not adhering to my list. TOO BAD. I’m making King of Shadows part of a time travel mini-challenge that I call the Books I Like Because They Contain Time Travel and in Spite of Having Been Written by Authors I Do Not Like as Much as My Big Sister Does Challenge. I shall include Time Cat in this mini-challenge too, because I can do that.
Nat Field, a twelve-year-old with a tragedy in his background, comes to London as part of a company of boys to perform at the newly constructed Globe Theatre. One evening he feels slightly ill, goes to bed, and wakes up in 1599. There he is recognized as actor Nathan Field, come from St. Paul’s to play Puck in a special production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream where Shakespeare plays Oberon; back in 1999, a young actor called Nathan Field is treated in a modern hospital for bubonic plague.
I never cared for Susan Cooper. I didn’t like all that Dark Is Rising business, and I could have lived without The Boggart too. But King of Shadows packs a hell of an emotional punch. My eyes are filling up with tears right now, just thinking about it. It’s difficult to tell why without giving away the whole plot of the book, but I will say that Susan Cooper writes the loveliest darling of a Shakespeare you ever encountered, and his relationship with Nat is genuinely touching. She’s spoiled me for all productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I’m afraid.
This book may have faults, objectively speaking. The plot may be predictable and the subplots insufficiently explored. You read it, and let me know. I can’t see any of those problems, because every time I read this book, it breaks my heart. Read it! If you do not love Shakespeare, this is still a good read; and if you do love Shakespeare, well, then, it’s like an extended edition of the best Shakespeare dream you’ve ever had.
Because it’s not just me, right? Y’all dream about meeting Shakespeare too, right?
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On another note, this is a video of three Supreme Court Justices in 1987 hearing evidence over whether Shakespeare wrote his own plays. When I discovered that they had done this, it made me love John Paul Stevens even more than I used to, but then I discovered that he thinks the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare’s plays. STEVENS THINKS THE EARL OF – I don’t even care if he resigns now!
(I do actually. I love Stevens and want him to stay, and he’s the only Protestant on the Court right now. If he goes, and Elena Kagan gets appointed, as she is favored to do, it’ll be all Jews and Catholics. I mean I like Jews and Catholics, but I think we should have some representation of other faiths too.)