Thursday, 27 June 2013

King of Shadows

Back in the 70's, as a young adult, I read quite a lot of childrens fantasy/magic novels - Alan Garner, Susan Cooper, Ursula Le Guin, etc.  So I was quite intrigued when I read about "King of Shadows" on a friend's blog, since it was written by Susan Cooper. Even more so, as it is about 1599.

This is a childrens' book, about a boy who unexpectedly finds himself in 1599, back in the world of Shakespeare and the Chamberlain's Men and the newly build Globe Theatre.  I'll not go into how he gets there, what happens, and how he returns to 1999 - or the ending - which even now has me thinking about what actually was supposed to have happened - you can read the book for that.

I was engaged, the characterisations were good, the ambience and scene setting were well done. I could picture London in 1599. I enjoyed reading it, I certainly would have enjoyed it as a child - even though there really are few female characters to identify with. There is a twist at the end, which by it's nature is left unexplained, but which invites thought and reflection. I suppose my mind wants it explained, but I know that if it were I would be unsatisfied by it. It is best left for you to ponder.

It gives a grounding in history (the political intrigues of that year) and Elizabethan life, and a stirring insight into Shakespeare's plays - in particular, "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Recommended, particularly for children.


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