The Shakespeare Conspiracy
A Novel About the Greatest Literary Deception of All Time
Perfect Bound Softcover
TWO QUESTIONS HAVE ALWAYS PLAGUED HISTORIANS: HOW COULD Christopher Marlowe, a known spy and England's foremost playwright, be suspiciously murdered and quickly buried in an unmarked grave — just days before he was to be tried for treason? HOW COULD William Shakespeare replace Marlowe as England's greatest playwright virtually overnight — when Shakespeare had never written anything before and was merely an unknown actor? Historians have noted that the Bard of Stratford was better known at that time “for holding horses for the gentry while they watched plays.” The Shakespeare Conspiracy is a historical novel that intertwines the two mysteries and then puts the pieces together to offer the only possible resolution. The novel, a wild romp through gay 16th Century Elizabethan England, is a rapidly unfolding detective story filled with comedy, intrigue, murder and illicit love. And most importantly, all recorded events, persons, dates and documents are historically accurate. You will… •Get the scandalous view of the real William Shakespeare, with his sexual peccadilloes, illegitimate children and mistresses… •Wander through the gay world of Christopher Marlowe, when it was acceptable to be homosexual just so long as one stayed within one's own class — as did Kings like James I, Edward II, and others… •Observe Inspector Henry Maunder matching wits with Christopher Marlowe's patron, Sir Thomas Walsingham — one cleverly hiding the facts and other cunningly discovering the truth… •Watch the arguments unfold, showing the actual reasons that many historians believe that it could only have been Christopher Marlowe writing all those great works. It's a tale of murder, mayhem and manhunts in the underbelly of London as the Black Plague scourges the country and the greatest conspiracy plot of all time is hatched. It's… The Shakespeare Conspiracy!
It had been only a few months since Christopher Marlowe and his patron, Sir Thomas Walsingham, had faked Marlowe's “murder.” No one seemed to question the fact that Marlowe, scheduled to be tried for treason, would suspiciously die in a tavern brawl a few days before his sentencing. There were, however, some questions about his being buried immediately (and unceremoniously) in an unmarked grave. Odd for England's most famous author. The problem was that Marlowe kept writing and wanted to see his works staged. In desperation Walsingham found someone who agreed to recopy these plays and take them to the Rose theatre as his own. When he heard about it, Marlowe exploded. “William Shakespeare? The guy who holds horses for the gentry while they're in watching the plays?” Shakespeare, who occasionally did appear on stage, was better known at that time for the horse-sitting job that he did more frequently. “Thomas, he's never written anything.” “That's it exactly,” Walsingham countered. “He'll be just one more unknown, writing for the many theatres in London. Who is ever going to remember a name like ‘William Shakespeare?'” For a while, things were fine. And then, one day, Marlowe's voice boomed throughout Scadbury Mansion…. “No, no, NO,” Christopher yelled. “You may not make changes in the plays. Not the lines, not the titles … nothing!” Shakespeare seemed nonplussed. “Even if it improves it?” Christopher let out a groan and grabbed onto a bookcase to keep from killing him. “Renaming it Like You Like It?” “I thought it had a nice ring.” Christopher took a deep breath and tried to be civil. “In Macbeth, Duncan sees the bleeding sergeant and is supposed to say ‘Go, get him surgeons.'” Shakespeare looked surprised. “Isn't that what I copied?” “No, William. You misplaced the comma and so it came out ‘Go get him, surgeons.'” “Glory, Jesus. So I forgot the common.” “Comma,” Christopher shouted. “It's not what's written on a page that impresses women,” Shakespeare said brazenly. “It's what between your legs.” “Or your ears,” Marlowe muttered to himself as picked up another page of script. “Look at this. It was supposed to read ‘They stole our dogs and raped our women.'” “That's what it says.” “Read it.” “They stole our women and raped our ... oh!” Shakespeare shrugged implying “who cares?” Christopher began going over more pages. Shakespeare, feeling insulted, sat in his usual bench for sulking. He was mulling over a question he had been afraid to bring up. Suddenly he shouted, “You know, Christopher, I was half-way through a tankard of ale at the Owl and the Raven the other night when some bloke across the bar shouts “'Hey, William. Who is your beloved fair youth?' I yell back to him, ‘What are you bloody talking about?' And he says ‘The chap you keep calling my beloved in your new sonnets.'” “I thought you knew,” Christopher replied calmly from the desk. “That was a reference to Walsingham. I wrote them to Thomas.” “The Sonnets were written to another man!?” Shakespeare stood and was turning a shade of royal purple. “They were written to Thomas? Love poems to another man!? All of London must be laughing at me.” “I'm sure Thomas isn't.” “And do you know how people are referring to them around town? The Sugar Sonnets.” Marlowe knew that was true. “Sugar Sonnets, huh? How sweet.” Shakespeare kept muttering over and over again, “Love poems to another man….” Suddenly he shouted, “I was just living down that dedication of your bloody poem “Rape of Lucrece.” Painfully, he recited it from burning memory, “The love I dedicate to your Lordship is without end.” By then he was really angry. “My wife wrote to me. Even she was suspicious.” “Remember what you always say, William: It had a nice ring.” Shakespeare fumed. Finally, he decided to try retribution, “I forgot to mention. King James really liked Macbeth. The new King himself came backstage after the performance.”
TED BACINO has worked as a reporter on a daily newspaper, as a high school and college educator and as a director of stage musicals. He has a BA and MS from Northern Illinois University and a SMG from Harvard. He divides his time between Venice, Italy; Paris, France; and Palm Springs, California. In 2005 he received a Star for directing theater on the Palm Springs Walk of Fame.
The Shakespeare Conspiracy by Ted Bacino Dead Men Don’t Write Plays – Not Even Shakespeare
Questions about who actually wrote the works of Shakespeare have been surfacing for decades. However, this year the New Oxford Complete Works of Shakespeare credits Christopher Marlowe with some of the Shakespeare body of work.
Marlowe, England’s foremost playwright before Shakespeare, was supposedly murdered in 1593, just a few days before he was to be sentenced for treason. He was “immediately buried in an unmarked grave which hasn’t been found to this day.”
Some Shakespeare scholars believe that Marlowe faked his death and spent the rest of his life in hiding as William Shakespeare, an unknown actor who had never written anything before, suddenly appears on the scene writing these classic works.
After 1616, the year the actor died, 14 plays by “Shakespeare” continue to appear, leading some to believe that Marlowe actually outlived the Bard.
My novel, “The Shakespeare Conspiracy” by Ted Bacino, tells the story of Marlowe’s life in hiding as he continues to write. The last third of the book is a supplement detailing the actual facts pertaining to this theory.
The article “Dead Men Don’t Write Plays – Not Even Shakespeare” gives an overview of the New Oxford announcement.
The stage version of the novel has had successful productions in various U.S. cities. The web site is www.TheShakespereConspiracy.com.
Dr. Rufus Cadigan
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