His father has disappeared and his mother has died - 14 year-old Richard sets out to London to seek his father and his fortune - and finds himself an apprentice actor in William Shakespeare's company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men. As he slowly learns the acting trade, he gets embroiled in a dangerous mystery and the on-going struggle of the times between the Protestant and the Catholic faiths. An adequate historical novel and mystery for older children, with some interesting comments on some of Shakespeare's plays, through the eyes of the actors.
The year is 1597. Elizabeth is queen. Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain's Men are packing London's Globe Theatre. And the severed heads of Catholic insurgents are impaled on the Tower's gates. One fourteen-year old boy, seeking his fortune and perhaps the father who abandoned him as a child, should arouse no one's interest.
But within a week of his arrival, Richard Malory is robbed, beaten, and threatened at knifepoint. Someone wants him to leave London, and Richard is determined to find out why. There's only one place he'll be safe: as an actor on the stage. As he begins to unravel the traiterous plot that has ensnared him, Richard must make a difficult decision. Will he play the part set out for him-or can he become the playmaker of his own life?