Thomas Cogswell, James I: The Phoenix King (Penguin Monarchs), (London: Allen Lane, 2017)
Thomas Cogswell’s biography is recognisably one of the Penguin Monarchs series. That means it’s concise (just 109 pages) and informative; a good general introduction to the king who succeeded Elizabeth. For those studying Shakespeare or the Early Modern period, the information about James’ early life is useful and potentially revealing.
It’s also often neglected.
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AD Swanston, Incendium, (London: Bantam Press, 2017)
This is the first in a new series, and much as I love this period (and am increasingly interested in historical fiction) I’m not convinced I’ll follow Christopher Radcliff’s adventures. Not, at least, at full price.
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Michael Bogdanov, Shakespeare : The Director’s Cut (Capercaillie Books: Edinburgh, 2005)
As soon as I read the Introduction to Bogdanov’s book, I blogged excitedly about it – I sensed a kindred spirit: someone I would have enjoyed a boisterous, passionate debate with over a few drinks.
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“A bookshelf is as particular to its owner as are his or her clothes; a personality is stamped on a library just as a shoe is shaped by the foot.” Alan Bennett
This year my book buying AND reading have grown exponentially.
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Laura Ashe, Richard II: A Brittle Glory (Penguin Monarchs), (London: Penguin, 2017)
With a particular connection to Shakespeare’s play about Richard, and a few Penguin Monarchs already under my belt, I’d really hoped for something special from this book.
I was disappointed.
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Helen Castor, Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity (Penguin Monarchs Series), (London: Penguin, 2018)
Helen Castor is – perhaps despite the title – sensibly objective in this short (117 pages) but useful biography of Elizabeth. Early on, she admits that the queen was almost unknowable to her subjects and rivals, let alone to us from a distance of over 300 years.
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Rory Clements, Revenger, (London: John Murray, 2010)
(subtitled: ‘do you know who I’m related to?’)
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SJ Parris, Treachery, (London: HarperCollins, 2014)
There’s a tang of salt in the air as Giordano Bruno and Sir Philip Sidney head to Plymouth in this fourth instalment of his adventures. Drake is about to set out on another quest for fame, glory, and riches, plus of course the opportunity to pull a few Spanish beards … until one of his crew is murdered.
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Robert Hutchinson, House of Treason: The Rise and Fall of a Tudor Dynasty, (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009)
Never mind, DBDDBS*, Robert Hutchinson gives us ample material for a new mnemonic in his account of various generations of the hapless Howard Dynasty.
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Stacey Halls, The Familiars, (London: Zaffre, 2019)
Despite the anachronism of Elizabeth I’s lengthy reign, the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries provide rich pickings for any author attempting to write a feminist exposition of the harsh injustices visited on so many women.
Perhaps there’s none harsher than the treatment of witches …
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