Please. No more Temples or Templars! Despite this exclamation from main character Kate Stanley, Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell is a rollicking adventure in the style of The DaVinci Code and all the other great-scandals-of-history books that have flooded the marketplace in recent years. No Templars here, though, but another history-mystery, all about the “Sweetest Swan of Avon,” the Bard himself, William Shakespeare.
The story begins with Kate Stanley, a former Shakespearean scholar who has ditched life in academia in favor of directing the man’s plays at the Globe in London, much to the dismay of her mentor, Roz Howard. Kate knows something’s up when Roz visits her in London, gives her a mysterious box, and then is promptly killed, all while the Globe burns on the anniversary of it’s destruction by fire in 1613. As Kate begins to unravel the mystery, she discovers that it centers on a lost play of Shakespeare’s, Cardenio, which was performed only twice before it disappeared for good. Kate’s search for answers takes her to nearly every important depository of Shakespearean scholarship on the planet, all the while accompanied by mysterious Ben Pearl, who appears just in time to save Kate from an even more mysterious and deadly stalker.
Eventually, the age-old question of the true authorship of Shakespeare’s plays comes into the story. That gnarly question, combined with a few flashback chapters to 1598 – 1612 which feature a mysterious dark woman, an angelic blond boy and the Great Man Himself, serve to muddy the waters. Although a generally ripping good tale, the author introduced way too many characters in both present and past time. By the end of the book, I really didn’t care who Shakespeare was, who he slept with, who could have written the plays, or how many children he fathered. I only wanted to know who killed all the Shakespearean scholars that litter the pages of this book.
The author handled the present-day story skillfully and kept the action moving right up to the surprising ending. I confess, I skimmed over much of the “who wrote the plays” business and concentrated on Kate’s quest to find the missing play. And really, that was enough to keep my interest….the rest was superfluous. Overall, a tasty mystery with a decent dose of history. No Templars, but plenty of intrigue. Recommended.
2 thoughts on “Interred With Their Bones”
I don’t know if you saw, but they recently verified that Cardenio was almost certainly written by Shakespeare. Of course now I can’t find the article.
(It’s not a bad play, actually. I was in a staged reading of it once. If it isn’t Shakespeare it’s a really good fake!)
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