University lecturer Daniel Ryhope is stunned when a colleague declares "William Shakespeare was a con man! A faker and a forger!" He had spent his whole career believing that the Bard himself created all his plays and sonnets, but suddenly is plagued with uncertainity. Along with two colleagues and his wife, Beth, he embarks on an academic journey to find out who was the real William Shakespeare.
What I enjoyed about this novel the most was its information. Lawrence-Young delivers real sources and real theories and puts them in an entertaining format. Personally I have a hard time with nonfiction because it can be delivered rather drily. This was the wonderful combination of fact and fiction. I also liked the addition of lines from the plays and sonnets thrown in along with the fact Lawrence-Young didn't leave the ladies out of his speculation. Equal opportunity suspicion. I like it.
I will warn if you're looking for the suspense and action ala the Da Vinci Code, this isn't your book. It's simply not that kind of mystery. There's no antagonist at all even. Just the characters' simple (yet complicated) gathering of sources and information then debating it around the dinner table. In my opinion, the plot didn't need the distraction of a bad guy waiting in the wings, it was good enough to just sit at the table and debate the facts. To keep it from getting stale, the author often used the first person narrative of the sources his characters were investigating, as in the case of Delia Bacon, a writer who participated in the Shakespeare author question.
(review based on ebook received from netgalley.com)