By: M. J. Trow
220 pages (Hardcover)
Christopher “Kit” Marlowe, playwright, is called upon by the Queen to investigate the disappearance of another agent. This request sends him to an island community with eccentric inhabitants.
I know I said I was going to focus on all the unread books I currently have in my possession, but somehow I managed to wander into the library again, and I saw a couple of books with shiny covers that I had to bring home. This book was one of them, my previous review was the other. I really can’t help myself.
For me though, this book didn’t really live up to its shiny cover. I enjoy the occasional historical mystery, and this one being just over 200 pages, I figured I couldn’t lose. Unfortunately, I just had trouble with this one, mostly because it was often confusing. There were a lot of historical references that I just didn’t get, which isn’t the author’s fault necessarily, I suppose I should learn more history. It wasn’t just that, however, the story often seemed more about the military history of the region than it was about a mystery. I often had trouble finding the mystery. Then, there was the perspective problem.
I’ve been dabbling in the art of writing myself, and am far from experienced in that area, but I noticed that the perspective in this story seemed to occasionally jump around. I could be wrong, but it seemed that details were revealed suddenly that the main character, who’s perspective I presume I was following, couldn’t have known, or the thoughts of someone else would jump into the narrative. I probably don’t know what I’m talking about, and maybe I wouldn’t have even noticed if I wasn’t a little more focused on those details in an attempt to learn more about writing. Regardless, I found it to be abrupt and confusing. Add this to the historical bits and pieces I wasn’t familiar with, and 220 pages starts to feel an awful lot longer.
There were a few things I did like though. There were some amusing moments, a hint of irreverent humor, which I always enjoy, and a little toying with history. A lesser-known Shakespeare makes an appearance, especially at the end, which I really liked. It was subtle, but fun.
I like history and I like Shakespeare, but this combination didn’t quite work for me. The “strange inhabitants” of the island were oversold on the cover. They were really just mildly strange, and not in any truly unique ways. I felt like I was missing something. Perhaps the plot line of the mystery got lost along the way. As promising as this book seemed at first, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. Until next time…