Shakespeare's Scribe

Shakespeare's Scribe

3.74 (1,184 ratings by Goodreads)
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When an outbreak of the deadly Black Plague closes the Globe Theatre, William Shakespeare's acting troupe sets off on a tour of England. Widge, the orphan-turned-actor, knows that he'll be useful on the trip. Not only does he love the stage, but his knack for a unique shorthand has proven him one of the most valuable apprentices in the troupe. But then a mysterious man appears, claiming to know a secret from Widge's past-a secret that may forever force him from the theatre he loves. "An exciting, well-written tale that is sure to leave [readers] clamoring for more." (School Library Journal, starred review)
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 265 pages
  • 129.54 x 195.58 x 22.86mm | 226.8g
  • Penguin Books Australia
  • Hawthorn, Australia
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0142300667
  • 9780142300664
  • 238,200

About Gary Blackwood

Gary L. Blackwood sold his first story when he was nineteen, and has been writing and publishing stories, articles, plays, novels, and nonfiction books regularly ever since. His stage plays have won awards and been produced in university and regional theatre. Nonfiction subjects he's covered include biography, history, and paranormal phenomena. His juvenile novels, which include WILD TIMOTHY, THE DYING SUN, and THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER, are set in a wide range of times and places, from Elizabethan England to a parallel universe. Several have received special recognition and been translated into other languages. He and his wife and kids live outside Carthage, MO.
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Rating details

1,184 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 21% (247)
4 41% (481)
3 32% (375)
2 5% (64)
1 1% (17)

Our customer reviews

Widge is a fifteen-year-old orphan boy who has become an apprentice actor in William Shakespeare's troupe, known as the Lord Chamberlain's Men. It is the summer of 1602, and the bubonic plague is rearing its ugly head. Theaters in London are closed down, so Widge goes on the road with the rest of the company, except for his best friend Alexander (Sander) Cooke, who stays behind. When they get to York, Widge visits the orphanage where he was raised and learns a little more about his mother. He also finds a man named Jamie Redshaw who gives some evidence of possibly being his father and begins travelling with the players. Will Shakespeare breaks his arm, and Widge, with his ability to write in shorthand which was taught to him by one of his previous masters, Dr. Timothy Bright, can easily take dictation while Shakespeare strives to continue writing plays. However, a number of strange things start to happen, and they all seem to revolve around Jamie Redshaw. Is he really Widge's father or not? Also, a new apprentice, Salathiel Pavy, seems to be trying to take away many of the roles which Widge has done. Can Widge remain with the troupe, or will he be replaced? And when Widge returns to London, he finds that Sander has disappeared. What has happened to his friend? Shakespeare's Scribe is a sequel to Blackwell's The Shakespeare Stealer, which introduced Widge as a boy hired to steal a play by Shakespeare by copying it down in shorthand who then ends up joining the company. I enjoyed The Shakespeare Stealer, so I thought that I would read the sequel. It gives a good view for young people of what life was like in early seventeenth-century England. A few language issues occur, with a couple of instances of the "d" word and some places where the term "Lord" is used as an interjection. The usual excuse for including such things is to make the plot more "realistic," but for the life of me I really can't understand some writers' compulsion to do such things in a children's book. A number of references to drinking beer, ale, and brandy are found, and there is a somewhat crude joke involving a person's "bum." Some parents may also question the age appropriateness of including the fact that Shakespeare's brother Edmund (Ned) left his previous residence to join the company because he had "gotten a prominent landowner's daughter with child." And, of course, it turns out that Widge's mother was unwed. It is a somewhat mixed bag, but for the most part the story is quite interesting, although I would recommend it primarily for those on the older end of the suggested reading level. There is now a third book in the series, Shakespeare's more
by Wayne S. Walker
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