A tour de force in the tradition of "Hawksmoor" and "Chatterton," Peter Ackroyd's new novel of deceit and betrayal is a witty reimagining of a great nineteenth-century Shakespeare forgery.
Charles and Mary Lamb, who will achieve lasting fame as the authors of "Tales from Shakespeare" for children, are still living at their parents' home. Charles, an aspiring writer bored stiff by his job as a clerk at the East India Company, enjoys a drink or three too many each night at the local pub. His sister, Mary, is trapped in domesticity, caring for her ailing, dotty father and her maddening mother. The siblings' enchantment with Shakespeare provides a much-needed escape, and they delight in reading and quoting the great bard. When William Ireland, an ambitious young antiquarian bookseller, comes into their lives claiming to possess a "lost" Shakespearean play, the Lambs can barely contain their excitement. As word of the amazing find spreads, scholars and actors alike beat a path to Ireland's door, and soon all of London is eagerly anticipating opening night of a star-studded production of the play.
The perfect, lighthearted follow-up to Ackroyd's magnificent biography of Shakespeare, "The Lambs of London" transforms the real-life literary hoax into an ingenious, intriguing drama that will keep readers guessing right to the end.