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The Lambs of Londonby Peter Ackroyd
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of Chatterton and Shakespeare: A Biography comes a gripping novel set in London that re-imagines an infamous 19th-century Shakespeare forgery.
Charles and Mary Lamb, who will in time achieve lasting fame as the authors of Tales from Shakespeare for Children, are still living at home, caring for their dotty and maddening parents. Reading Shakespeare is the siblings' favorite reprieve, and they are delighted when an ambitious young bookseller comes into their lives claiming to possess a "lost" Shakespeare a play. Soon all of London is eagerly anticipating opening night of a star-studded production of the play not knowing that they have all been duped by charlatan and a fraud.
"Following up on his recent nonfiction Shakespeare: The Biography, Ackroyd brings readers forward to London at the turn of the 19th century, and to denizens who are preoccupied with the Shakespearean past. The plot is a lightly fictionalized story about real-life essayist Charles Lamb and his sister Mary, both passionate devot es of the Bard, and their fraught friendship with William Henry Ireland, a bookseller who unearths a trove of Shakespeare documents, including what seems to be an unknown play. The mystery of the play's origin shapes an enchanting, slightly melancholy, exploration of Regency society. The young characters struggle with the constraints of their day — the brilliant, fragile Mary feels suffocated by the strictures of feminine domesticity; William chafes against his father's domination-but they do so without craning their necks toward modernity as an escape route: Ackroyd knows that the past is another country; there his characters live, and there they stay. Steeping readers in revealing but unobtrusive period detail, Ackroyd once again delivers a psychologically rich evocation of a vanished time." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Ingenious and mesmerizing....A dazzling novel about false truths and real-seeming lies." The San Francisco Chronicle
"Gothic and wry, with a sweet-and-sour mix of tragedy and comedy worthy of a Romantic-period Shakespeare forgery, The Lambs of London builds to...a moving crescendo." Newsday
"The ale houses, antiquarian bookshops, and seedy south side of Shakespeare's London come to life in Ackroyd's richly atmospheric tale, which entertainingly mixes the bawdy with the brainy." Library Journal
"Ackroyd very effectively delivers to us the city in all its cramped and noisy splendor....But what makes this book particularly gratifying is that Ackroyd also knows something about life." Christian Science Monitor
"Ackroyd does not entertain us at the expense of mood and character; the novel mixes wit with warmth." Boston Globe
"[A] clever and enthralling piece of entertainment." Minneapolis Star Tribune
About the Author
Peter Ackroyd (CBE) is a master of the historical novel: The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde won the Somerset Maugham Award; Hawksmoor was awarded both the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Guardian Fiction Prize; and Chatterton was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His most recent historical novels are The Clerkenwell Tales, The Trial of Elizabeth Cree, Milton in America, and The Plato Papers.
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