Another book that I am writing a retrospective review of, so not very detailed.
I enjoyed 'Contested Will' so much I decided to follow it up with 1599.
It looks at what Shakespeare was probably (best guess) doing throughout the year. What plays he was writing, what influences there were on him, and there were many. Politics (and conscription for the Invasion of Ireland), the possible second 'Armada' in the summer, building 'the Globe', the sermon he most likely saw preached at Richmond at Easter (Elizabeth made sure that the sermons said what she wanted people to be thinking), the books published, etc. Even the tensions between Shakepeare the playwright, who wanted to project certain ideas in his plays, and Will Kempe, the comic entertainment, or 'clown' of the Chamberlain's Men, who had his own agenda.
It looks at the development of the plays and how Shakespeare moved from a good playwright, to someone who was able to show real depth and character. It looks also at the techniques that Shakespeare developed to give a window into the thoughts and feelings of the characters.
I loved this, it gave a wonderful window into late medieval life in the last years of Elizabeth, giving an idea of the tensions and plots that surrounded her likely succession. Really recommend it for anyone interested in History or Literature. 9.5/10.