In this section, I review a Shakespeare book, movie, or TV show that I feel has some kind of value, either as an interpretation of Shakespeare, or a means to learn more about the man and his writing.
- Name: Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrel
- Media: book
- Ages: College to Adult
- Premise: I’ve described this book before as “The DaVinci Code for Shakespearean nerds.” Like the Dan Brown book, it’s a fast-paced novel full of intrigue and excitement whose plot centers on an academic hero solving a real-life historical mystery. As everyone knows, there is a lot of mystery associated with Shakespeare- his infamous lost years, the mysterious Dark Lady, his alleged Catholic sympathies, his lost plays, and of course, the dark rumors that William Shakespeare never wrote the plays that bear his name. Carrel creates a strong heroine, Kate Stanley (a female Robert Langdon) to solve all these mysteries, while also dodging numerous threats to her life! Like Robert Langdon, Kate is a Harvard-trained scholar with a flair for secret scholarship- (she’s an expert on “occult Shakespeare”), but unlike Langdon, she is also an actress and a director, giving her a dramatic flair and spunk that makes her character distinct. In the book, Kate travels the world to find the secret of Shakespeare’s lost play Cardenio, and uncovers a conspiracy to hide the truth about Shakespeare’s life. Kate must find the lost play and escape the snare of her pursuers, who will stop at nothing to keep the Bard’s greatest secret, even murder!
- Favorite Quotes:
- “I like to think the man who wrote these plays had a noble heart.”
- Moments to Watch For (no spoilers)
- Intrigue and attempted murder at Harvard
- Kate’s hare-breadth escape from airport security
- The murder on the steps of the Capital
- The true identity of the fair-haired youth of the sonnets.
- My reaction: I enjoyed this book tremendously- it is pure escapism that transports the reader to exotic locations from the Elizabethan court to 21st century London, Madrid, and Washington DC, among others. Carrell’s ingenious storytelling fills in the blanks to the Shakespeare myth in a smart and entertaining way. That said, the similarities to Da Vinci Code are a bit glaring- a novel constructed as a tapestry of history and fiction with a hero trying to uncover a vast historical conspiracy while being chased by a shadowy agent who is trying to kill them. Plus the notion that the hero is a scholar with training in obscure and secret academic disciplines. If you have the good fortune to have not read the Da Vinci Code before you get your hands on this book, I’d say read it first. Otherwise, you’ll have to accept the glaring similarities and just concentrate on the differences in locations and characters to enjoy the ride. Like a class field trip it will still take you somewhere new, even if you know the vehicle and the driver.
- Recommendation: I’d recommend this book to all college students and fans of Shakespeare.
- Grade: 5 Shakespeare globes.
- Official Website/ Reader’s Guide: http://jenniferleecarrell.com/interred-with-their-bones-2/