Interred with Their Bones

Interred with Their Bones

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Overview

The big book at the 2005 Frankfurt Book Fair-with rights now sold in seventeen countries and counting-Jennifer Lee Carrell's Shakespearean thriller Interred with Their Bones is the most eagerly anticipated debut thriller of 2007.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143142393
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/20/2007
Series: Kate Stanley Series , #1
Edition description: Unabridged, 12 CDs, 14 hours
Pages: 1
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 5.68(h) x 1.54(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Jennifer Lee Carrell holds a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Harvard University and is the author of The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox and the novel Interred with Their Bones. In addition to writing for Smithsonian magazine, Carrell has taught in the history and literature program at Harvard and has directed Shakespeare for Harvard’s Hyperion Theatre Company. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION
Jennifer Lee Carrell’s literary thriller Interred with Their Bones introduces readers to the cryptic and fascinating world of “occult” Shakespeare, the study of the word games, puzzles, and ciphers found throughout the Bard’s works. Kate Stanley, a noted Shakespearean director and expert in the arcane puzzles found in Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays, is preparing the stage direction for a radically modern production of Hamlet at the newly rebuilt Globe Theatre. When Roz Howard, a preeminent Shakespearean scholar at Harvard and a former mentor of Kate’s, approaches her with a cryptic request for help, it triggers a horrific series of events that begins with Roz’s murder and the torching of the Globe itself, and leads to a deadly chase that spans two continents and nearly four hundred years in search of the fabled—and priceless—lost William Shakespeare play Cardenio.

From London to Harvard to the American West, Kate races to evade a killer and decipher a tantalizing string of clues hidden in the words of Shakespeare, clues that may unlock the literary world’s greatest secret.

 


ABOUT JENNIFER LEE CARRELL

Jennifer Lee Carrell holds a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Harvard University and is the author of The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox. In addition to writing for Smithsonianmagazine, Carrell has taught in the history and literature program at Harvard and has directed Shakespeare for Harvard’s Hyperion Theatre Company. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

 


A CONVERSATION WITH JENNIFER LEE CARRELL

1. One of the most intriguing things mentioned in your book is the surprising relationship between the writings of Shakespeare and pioneers of the American West. Can you tell your readers a little more about this? Why were cowboys so fascinated with the Bard?

In the nineteenth century American West, Shakespeare hadn’t yet become Literature with a capital, elitist “L.” He was simply the best storyteller out there. His popularity is actually less of an oddity than it might seem—it’s a holdover from earlier periods, all the way back to Shakespeare’s day, when his plays belonged to everyone, from the King down to the lowliest London apprentice ducking out of work to stand in the Yard of the Globe with his mates, gaping up at the shenanigans unfolding on the stage.

In the American West, Shakespeare’s stories tended to be heard, not read. If you’d had any schooling at all, you’d probably learned some long passages by heart, reciting them in front of everyone in the one-room schoolhouse—and listening to everyone else recite their passages. His language would not have seemed as foreign as it does now. If you’d ever been to church, you’d heard the rich poetic cadences of the King James bible, published in Shakespeare’s day, read aloud. Very likely, someone at home read long passages from the same Bible aloud in the evenings and on Sundays too. Just about everybody knew the sound and feel of Shakespearean language on their own tongues.

Of course it helps, too, that Shakespeare’s plays tend to be epic tales of love or war, their emotions sized XXL. Even his silliness tends to be outsized, sometimes literally, as in the comic character of jolly, rumbustious, drunken Sir John Falstaff. In thinking about Shakespeare’s popularity among cowboys in particular, it’s worth remembering that many of them were veterans of the Civil War. After the fighting stopped, they turned their backs on the cities and farms of their boyhood, choosing instead to wander professionally through vast, little-known, and often dangerous territory. (I sometimes wonder how many of them, brought forward in time, would be diagnosed with PTSD.) It’s my hunch that the grandness of Shakespeare’s stories—the cruelty, killing, laughter, and loving—just made sense to them. There’s a tale of a Montana rancher reading Julius Caesar to his cowboys in the 1880s. When he finished the “dogs of war” passage, one of the top farmhands shook his head and said, “That fellow Shakespeare could sure spill the real stuff. He’s the only poet I ever seen what was fed on raw meat.”

In the Wild West, theater kept its sense of “play” longer than it did in the more sophisticated cities. Audiences felt free to cheer, boo, hiss, whistle, applaud, and throw anything from flowers to rotten eggs onto the stage during a performance. During the gold and silver rushes in California, Colorado, and Arizona, famous actors from New York and London would travel out to the roughest of boomtowns, because the enthusiastic miners paid well, often in gold: The actors could make as much in a week in the mining camps as they might make in a month in the cities. In the absence of professional actors, though, entertainment-starved people banded together for amateur performances. Thus in Texas, a young lieutenant named Ulysses S. Grant was drafted to play Desdemona in an Army production of Othello.

Failing the willing numbers for a performance, intrepid storytellers would take it on themselves to recount the plays as stories. After hearing from an Army officer that Shakespeare was the greatest author ever, in 1863 the mountain man Jim Bridger made his way to the Oregon Trail and found someone willing to trade a yoke of oxen for a volume of Shakespeare. As he was illiterate and had no interest in learning to read, he hired a boy to read the book to him. Thereafter, he became famous for entertaining fellow mountain men around campfires by reciting his favorite plays—especially Richard III—from beginning to end. Apparently, he liked to salt his Shakespeare with oaths of his own, just to see if anyone could tell which bits were Shakespeare and which were Bridger.

American pioneers liked Shakespeare because they liked his stories and they were comfortable with his language. Nobody had told them to sit still, be quiet, and show respect in the presence of the Bard. Nobody had held up Shakespeare under glass on a silver platter and said “Look, don’t touch.” Nobody had said, Must have college degree to appreciate, much lessmust have plummy upper-class English accent to speak aloud.

If anybody had said any of those things, they would likely have been chased out of town with a volley of rotten tomatoes.

2. Having invested so much time and research in Shakespearean conspiracy theories in order to lay the groundwork forInterred with Their Bones, is there any particular theory that you think might actually hold water? If so, why?

On the question of Shakespeare’s identity, I’d say that I’m happily agnostic: I like the mystery. The writer of the plays was probably William Shakespeare of Stratford, but there are enough gaps in the evidence that it only seems responsible to admit that we don’t know “who did it” with certainty. To put it in legal terms, by the standards of a civil trial (“preponderance of evidence”), I would cast my vote to convict the actor from Stratford. By the much more demanding standards of a criminal trial, however (“beyond a reasonable doubt”), I could not, because to my mind somebody else might well be the guilty party.

That said, most of the commonly proposed alternates have serious problems. For example, Edward de Vere, the seventeenth earl of Oxford, died in 1604—although new Shakespearean plays look to have gone on premiering until about 1613.

The alternate who most intrigues me at the moment is William Stanley, sixth earl of Derby. Unlike Oxford, he had the right life span, which makes Derby possible as a candidate. But he’s also seductively plausible.

Derby is known, for instance, to have written plays (though none survive), and he was a fine musician (at least one of his compositions, a pavane, does survive). He also knew all the right things: He was well educated (including a stint of legal training at the Inns of Court) and widely traveled, and seems to have enjoyed such aristocratic pastimes as hunting and hawking (he certainly indulged in them). His family was (and is) famous for horsemanship, horse breeding, and horse racing (from their title comes the noun derby, meaning “horse race”). He grew up in a household widely acknowledged to be England’s grandest, outside the queen’s. Theater was literally in the house—his father and elder brother, Lord Strange, were two of the theater’s greatest patrons. Both the Earl of Derby’s Men and Lord Strange’s Men seem to have performed some of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, before he became the queen’s playwright (as part of the Chamberlain’s Men—essentially the queen’s company).

From infancy, Derby knew court, courtiers, grand living, and political infighting, but he never expected to be a peer himself—he was a younger son. In fact, he seems to have been something of a wild child for much of his youth, pulling himself back to the straight and narrow only when his elder brother died unexpectedly in 1594, leaving him the burden of one of England’s most powerful earldoms.

He seems to have been properly Church of England, at least on the surface, but he grew up in Lancashire, a stronghold of Roman Catholicism and of Catholic discontent—at a time when that roused suspicions of treason. His father routinely shielded Catholics from the full brunt of the increasingly ferocious laws aimed at crushing them—while managing to keep the queen’s trust. So Derby grew up surrounded by Catholic sensibilities (as well as a sense of protective duplicity), familiar—as was the writer of the plays—with such notions as confession and purgatory, with figures of friars and nuns, and with the folklore of ghosts and fairies that seems to have survived much longer in the conservative Catholic countryside than in urban Puritan neighborhoods.

Through their mother, Derby and his brother had royal blood—they were great-great-grandsons of King Henry VII through his daughter Mary Tudor (King Henry VIII’s younger sister and Queen Elizabeth’s aunt). Both brothers thus spent their lives aware of being carefully, even anxiously watched by the government, by would-be Catholic plotters, and by all those with a dangerous taste for speculating on who might succeed Queen Elizabeth. (For a sense of how solid his royal claim seemed at the time, the man who eventually became Elizabeth’s heir, King James, also claimed the English throne by virtue of being the great-great-grandson of King Henry VII—through the elder daughter, Margaret. Though Derby’s claim came through the younger daughter, he was preferred to James in some quarters because he was English, while James, as King of Scotland, was a foreigner.) Derby was, for all that, one of the Queen’s few male relations on the royal Tudor side to survive into old age without losing his head or even doing a stint in the Tower. That in itself suggests a man of no mean political and diplomatic savvy, as well as an insider’s understanding of the lures and perils of great power.

If there is a quintessentially Shakespearean topic, it is surely the tangled and twisting lures, responsibilities, and perils of power.

Derby has links to specific plays as well. The Stanleys had helped to put King Henry VII on throne, at the end of the Wars of the Roses, and Shakespeare’s history plays highlight the role of the house of Stanley. Derby also has intriguing links toLove’s Labour’s Lost and The Tempest. His turbulent relationship with his wife, Elizabeth de Vere (eldest daughter of the earl of Oxford)—which seems to have included meddling deceit on the part of a trusted lieutenant—bears at least a passing resemblance to the plot of Othello.

Derby’s status—first as the cadet of a major aristocratic dynasty, and later as the earl of Derby and head of the family—would explain why, if indeed he had a hand in composing Shakespeare’s plays, he hid his identity behind a pseudonym. Writing for the public stage would have been almost immeasurably beneath his family’s dignity. On the other hand, his exalted status would explain why Shakespeare seems to have waltzed unscathed through crises and scandals that would have landed other playwrights in scalding water—such as the playing of Richard II, with its touchy subject of deposing a monarch, on the eve of the Essex rebellion.

Given all of the circumstantial evidence, I have no idea why Derby has always been such a dark horse candidate. But he’s never had the cachet of Bacon or Oxford or even Marlowe. Perhaps it’s because he didn’t leave a body of writing behind—though to my mind, that’s perversely in his favor, since to my ears the writings of Bacon, Oxford, and Marlowe don’t sound anything like Shakespeare’s work.

Unfortunately, the Derby seat of Lathom House, for centuries one of England’s largest and finest castles, was razed to the ground by Cromwell’s army during the Civil War, with such savage finality that it no longer seems to be quite clear exactly where it stood. Any papers that might have clarified Derby’s relationship to a certain player from Stratford were likely burned then (just a few years after Derby’s death), if they had not already been destroyed. The other main palace of the earls of Derby, Knowsley Hall, still exists as one of the great stately homes of England—but since the sixth earl’s time it has been rebuilt, enlarged, and refurbished out of all recognition. However suggestive Derby’s life, learning, and character may be, real links between him and Shakespeare remain elusive; the closer you look, the more they dissolve, like the remnants of a dream.

In the end, the lack of irrefutable evidence linking anyone—including the front-runner William Shakespeare of Stratford—to the writing of the plays keeps me in the agnostic category. It’s still a mystery, and I like it that way.

But history is full of quirks. It’s always possible that something has survived and will eventually come to light.

3. You’ve directed Shakespeare for the stage; in writing this book, did you develop a different kind of relationship with the works of Shakespeare than you’d had as a director?

Thinking about whether writing Interred with Their Bones gave me a different relationship with the works of Shakespeare than directing them did—I think I’d have to turn that question inside out. Writing the novel didn’t rearrange my experience of the plays so much as directing the plays taught me how to write a novel.

As a director, it’s your job to find the “through-story” of the play at hand—the story that you want your production to tell, the linear path down which you’re going to lead your audience. With Shakespeare, that’s a harder task than with many other playwrights—but also more exhilarating. Shakespeare is one of the most generous storytellers I’ve ever run across, in that he doesn’t try to ride herd on his readers’, actors’, and directors’ imaginations. He gives almost no stage directions, and his indications of setting are brief to the point of near-blankness. Compare Beckett or Shaw or O’Neill, for example—wonderful storytellers all—but their stage directions tend to be controlling and insistent. Shaw and O’Neill can go on for what seems like pages. Beckett’s estate still famously refuses to license productions that do not adhere to the particulars of his stage directions.

By comparison, a Shakespearean play seems lush, loose, almost wanton with possibilities. Each of his plays can be tailored to tell a number of very different stories. In fact, many of his plays need streamlining in order to run in anything approaching the two hours’ time that seems to have been the usual allotment for plays in Shakespeare’s day as well as in ours. This very richness is one reason Shakespeare is hard to read: He makes his readers do a lot more imaginative work than most other authors do. In the theater, the job of meeting him halfway goes to the director. As director, you have to pick one main story that will make sense and develop it, distilling it out to clarity as you go.

Together with your actors, you have to figure out why each character must say these words, and not any other words, at just this point in time. How are they said? To whom? Why? And, once said, what effect do they have on the world of the play? When you, as a company, get it right, you know it: The words begin to conjure up a believable world, which in turn supports the words. It’s this give-and-take—this resonating feedback—between words and the world in which they’re said that makes them, in the end, so very powerful.

In a way, directing a Shakespearean play is a piece of detective work: piecing together evidence—each piece building on the next—to make, in the end, a story so plausible, so compelling, that the audience members will lose themselves in your fictional world, at least for a little while. By intuition and hard work, you have to figure out what’s necessary to that story, and have the courage and conviction to pare away what’s not—whether that’s your own pet interpretation or an arcane phrase, confusing subplot, or out-of-date joke of the playwright’s. It’s this behind-the-scenes work—the investigative rehearsals leading up to performance—that are part of what I love most about theater. No doubt that’s one reason I’m a director/writer rather than a performer!

With the novel, I started with a basic idea: a deadly treasure hunt that would lead to a lost play, and a letter that might—or might not—reveal the “real” identity of the playwright. Very early on, a clear vision of the ending—the cave, the flash flood, the final death—just appeared in my imagination. Some time after that, I just “saw” the beginning: Kate sitting on a hill with the golden box on her knees. I didn’t know what was in the box, or what she was doing there. But I knew the Globe was burning below. (What was going to end in water, somehow needed to begin with fire.) To write the novel, I had to find a “through-story” that would link this beginning with the ending, somehow picking up lots of odd Shakespearean clues and theories along the way. As I worked, the process of plotting and writing the novel came to seem very similar to the process of directing—only I was alarmingly alone, without a script for guidance.

So, I wouldn’t say that writing the novel made me think about Shakespeare in a new light because it’s about Shakespeare. I’d say the novel gave me the chance to put into practice lessons I’d learned from Shakespeare in the theater about how to tell a story, how to make a world with words. The experience of storytelling “from scratch,” as it were, embarking on making a story without a script as guide, has only deepened my awe for him as a supremely gifted teller of tales.

4. Were you given access to one of the First Folios during your research?

While researching this book, I needed to look at the First Folio time and again. Fortunately, I did not need to handle an actual First Folio—and doubly fortunately, good facsimile copies are not hard to come by. That’s what I used when I needed to see what particular pages looked like, or get the wording (and spelling) of particular phrases. There’s also a superb “library” of early Shakespeare editions, including the First Folio, online at Internet Shakespeare Editions (internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/index.html).

In my work as a scholar, I have handled many books from Shakespeare’s era, so I know the marvelous feel and smell of books like the Folio . . . and the visceral horror at the thought of their desecration.

When I taught at Harvard, I used to have my students go look at the First Folio on display in Widener Library—both to see what the actual book looks like, and to think about the implications of the way in which the University displays it—along with a Gutenberg Bible, as it happens, in a case that looks a little like an altar, in a room that looks a lot like a shrine. Many of them would come back calling the place “The Church of Shakespeare”!

Giving myself a similar assignment, while researching the book I also visited displays of First Folios at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and the British Library in London, and displays of fine facsimiles at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, and in Nash’s House (next to New Place) in Stratford-upon-Avon.

While plotting the novel, I very much wanted to have a First Folio found at the library of the Royal English College in Valladolid, though I knew they did not have one. I consoled myself, however, with the idea that it made plausible sense, historically, that one might have found its way there. Then, during a marvelous private tour of the college, I learned from the librarian that they had indeed once possessed a First Folio, but had sold it off many years ago. . . . Sometimes fiction has a sly way of sidling up to fact!

5. Why do you believe that the works of Shakespeare still hold such relevance in these modern times?

Shakespeare wrote about the fundamental experiences of life: love, hate, greed, jealousy, laughter, death. He could focus intensely on one aspect of such an experience—say, first love in Romeo and Juliet—without getting stuck there, so that his plays about love grow and change as he did, moving from first love, to middle-aged passion, to the love of aged fathers for their daughters. He could write equally well—often in the same play—about the murderous drive to revenge and the mischievous delight in laughter. And he had a special affinity for the showing the soul tangled in the lures and perils of power. Furthermore, he wrote about all these subjects with startling clarity and sometimes almost unbearable beauty, all the while keeping sentimentality at bay with a sharp, skeptical edge of irony.

All that is just to say that he was a great writer, who knew the human soul well and could show us ourselves—or who we might turn out to be, in extreme circumstances. But there are other writers who have done all these things. What sets Shakespeare apart even from other great writers is, as I’ve said above, his imaginative generosity. He does not insist that this story be told in such-and-such a way, in any particular setting, with any particular ulterior motive or political message. He does not insist on his interpretation.

Which means that his stories—as tied as they are to the core of what it is to live a human life—have a remarkable elasticity that allows them not only to change and grow with one reader across a single lifetime, but also to make sense in widely different times and places. Hamlet is the quintessential tale of English aristocratic angst; it has also been enjoyed in the East African bush as a tale of witchcraft and proper punishment. Coriolanus has been produced as a Communist play; it has also been produced as a Fascist play. Lear and Macbeth make sense in Japanese as samurai films. Henry V has been produced as an adventure glorifying the heroics of war, and as a tragedy lamenting the waste of war.

Shakespeare is great because he wrote beautifully and powerfully about the most fundamental of subjects. He is still relevant, after four hundred years, because he not only allows but requires his readers to remake his stories into tales that make sense for them.

 


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • One of the pervading themes of Interred with Their Bones is the gap between the academic and the practical when it comes to the works of Shakespeare. The great gap between Roz Howard’s “ivory tower” approach to Shakespeare and Kate Stanley’s need to have the actual hands-on experience of directing a Shakespearean play provides the opening conflict of the novel. When it comes to classic theater, is studying the plays and the playwright enough? Is it important to experience Shakespeare’s works in the way the playwright intended, performed before a live audience?
     
  • In chapter two, Sir Henry makes the comment: “A secret is a kind of promise. It can also be a prison.” What does he mean by this? Is he trying to subtly give Kate a message about his own future actions?
     
  • One of the more fascinating characters of the novel isn’t a person at all; rather, it is a book, Shakespeare’s First Folio collection. How does the author use this book to lay the framework for the rest of the novel?
     
  • The title of the book comes from a quotation by Shakespeare: “The evil that men do lives after them / The good is oft interred with their bones.” How does this still hold true today? Why do we so often remember the names of criminals, but not the names of those who capture them?
     
  • Throughout the novel, a number of different theories emerge about the identities of possible alternate authors of Shakespeare’s work. If it was ever proven that Shakespeare did not actually write the plays attributed to him, would it lessen the importance of those plays?
     
  • This lost play is the equivalent of the Holy Grail for Kate. She seems to place the utmost importance on discovering it over all else. Do you share, or understand, her feelings about the play? What kind of artifact would be your Holy Grail?
     
  • The killer recreates murder scenes from some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. What is the significance of this and why?
     
  • In his own time, Shakespeare was considered lowbrow, an entertainer who pandered to the lower classes; time has since proven his critics wrong. Are there novelists and playwrights living today who may one day be considered the “new Shakespeare”?
     
  • One of the more fascinating details revealed in the book is Shakespeare’s unusual influence throughout the American West. Why do you think the pioneers and cowboys were drawn to Shakespeare? What purpose did Shakespeare’s works serve in their lives?

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Interred with Their Bones 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was looking forward to this novel. Ever since Byatt's Possession, I've been looking for the next great literary mystery. This, however, was not it. The writing is uneven, and the plot is ridiculous in that the characters behave in ways that don't make sense and don't seem to fit with how they are characterized elsewhere. Specifically, I find it absurd that Kate Stanley would pursue this the way she does. Moreover, Carrell draws on 'occult Shakespeare' in a way that is ludicrous--I nearly fell of my chair with laughter when the whole Psalm 46 theory was actually brought up and treated with some seriousness by Kate and the others. As an academic, I find this treatment of academics to be completely unrealistic. This novel smacks of conspiracy theory in a way that only Dan Brown comes close to, and no, I didn't think much of The Da Vinci Code either. I'm all for fantasy, but this kind of pseudo-historical fiction just doesn't work in many cases, especially not when as ill-thought-out and poorly written as Carrell's work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I personally enjoyed this book very much. While the first couple pages were slow, the storyline picked up fast and kept me intrigued throughout the whole novel. I found myself gasping out loud several times with the plot twists near the end of the story--overall, I would recommend this book to anybody.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you enjoyed the DaVinci Code, you'll love Interred. It has the same exciting pace and historical attention to detail. I'm not a Shakespeare buff but enjoyed learning about the history and mysteries that abound around this famous writer. This would make a great movie.
eas311 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
it's the Da Vinci Code for Shakespeare! (Which I know totally helped the author get a book deal, but also probably really pisses her off. I heard an interview where she talks a little about this, but I forget exactly what she said.)
LynnSigman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Starts out with fast paced action and cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. However, Shakespearean theories difficult to follow as clues and connections developed. Otherwise, fun read.
Maggie-the-Cat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Any book that can make me put down "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" should be put above many others. A quest for a missing Shakespeare manuscript has our heroine leading adventures all around the world. The resting place is where no one could ever imagine.
Jim53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a very enjoyable read. It's told in the first person by Kate Stanley, a Shakespeare scholar who has left academia to pursue a career as a director. While preparing a presentation of Hamlet, she receives an unexpected visit from Roz, an old colleague/mentor, who gives her a mysterious box but is killed before she can explain it. Roz has told Kate that if she opens the box, she must follow where it leads.Where it leads is through numerous searches for the doscovery that Kate believes Roz had made, possibly a copy of Shakespeare's lost play, Cardenio. She is assisted by Roz's nephew Ben, who has a security company and provides protection as Kate chases after wild geese from England to America and Spain. Suspense is provided by a mysterious killer, who after killing Roz also murders several others to whom Kate goes for help, each in the manner of death of a Shakespearean tragic hero.Along the way, the story is interweaved with the question of who wrote Shakespeare's plays: could a mere lower-class playwright have possibly created these works of genius? Kate's knowledge of the candidates and theories is impressive; indeed, the primary failing of this excellent book is that she knows so much, thanks so fast, and is right so much of the time. But the developing story is interesting enough to get past that quibble. I had guessed (partially) the murderer's identity fairly early, but the whodunnit aspect is a pretty small part of the story, and she does a nice job of providing some confusion on that score. Following along with Kate's pursuit of the possible maunscript, and learning the stories of the individuals involved in its history, was great fun. The book is long but moved along nicely. Highly recommended for those with an interest in Shakespeare.
anneko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The author would have been well served to take the thesaurus off her lap while writing - clumsy adjectival additions that deleted from rather than adding to the book. This 637 page book needed an editor, is a little internally inconsistent - but nevertheless I read the whole thing forgiving its faults - and I enjoyed myself.
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In a word, fantastic. Kate Stanley is on the brink of her directorial debut in London's famous Globe theater, when her mentor, an eccentric Shakespearian scholar appears, her a mysterious gift., and is promptly murdered. Kate can't resist the lure of the challenge, and sets off on a continent hopping race to find Roz's killer, with an arsonist/murderer hot on her heels. Riveting, scholarly, and fast paced enough to keep you turning pages long past when the lights should be out. It reads like a combination of the Da Vinci Code and a really good Barbara Michaels (a.k.a. Elizabeth Peters) romance/mystery. If there are a couple of weak spots in the action, it's forgivable. I finished with a strong desire to refresh my knowledge of Shakespeare, and also to check into some of the historical detail more closely.
Cauterize on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has been described as "The Da Vinci Code meets Shakespeare" and I think that pretty much sums it up. The heroine is a Shakespearean scholar/director who is given a mysterious quest by her old mentor to find a long-lost Shakespeare play. I was only "meh" about this book, I felt there was a bunch of plot holes and the author could only make all the secondary characters suspicious by telling the reader nothing about them. Many times, secondary characters withheld information about themselves that a reasonable person wouldn't, and I think it was just so the author could create the *gasp* twists and turns later. I don't think that is good mystery/thriller writing. The historical mystery was good; the setup of the lost play and who was the Dark Lady and the Golden Youth are explored here. So I would say that Shakespeare buffs will like it but hardcore mystery lovers won't like the confusion.
bolgai on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fans of Dan Brown, rejoice! Here¿s a fast-paced mystery that¿ll hold your attention. The scholar is a Harvard-educated authority on Shakespeare, the goal is to find the long-lost manuscript and may be even find out the true identity of the legendary poet. There¿s murder, a handsome stranger, cryptic letters serving as breadcrumbs showing the way and friends who may be enemies and vice versa. It is a satisfying read that keeps you turning the pages despite all the many Williams of Shakespeare¿s time that are so hard to keep track of. I enjoyed the fact that it was written in the format of a play with acts and interludes and that the villain wasn¿t who I thought it was (oh, I thought I was so clever!). I think I would have enjoyed it more if the author gave us glimpses of the villain along the way, the way Dan Brown does. This device serves to speed up the pace and with the entire story done from the perspective of the scholar it got bogged down in the academic explanations a couple of times. All in all it is a very good debut novel and I can only hope that one day textbooks will be written in a similar style ¿ we¿d have so many more erudite people if they were!
ImBookingIt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a hugely fun chase through Shakespeare's work and Shakespeare's lore, including the question of who wrote the works we give Shakespeare's name to.This book was exactly what it set out to be. Cryptic clues! Chases! Near Escapes! I know enough about Shakespeare that most of the references in the book rang a bell, but not enough that I could say if any of the conclusions they drew from the clues actually made sense. They all sounded good in the book, though.With any book of this sort, you have to suspend disbelief. Mostly, this isn't a problem for me. I did have one issue with this book, that still bothers me after finishing it. Once people continue to be murdered, why does Kate believe her new allies over the police? She realizes at various points that they will believe it isn't her if she talks to them then, and she realizes everyone she is talking to about her quest is being killed, but she still doesn't bring in the police! It seems out of character. The again, it is only a book.
MacFly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interred with their Bones, by Jennifer Lee Carrell, is a thriller where the characters race against each other to discover a lost manuscript by William Shakespeare. It reads a bit like a Lara Croft movie with lots of action, double crosses and ancient crypts. There is a great amount of detail about the life of Shakespeare including various theories on whether or not he actually wrote the plays that have been credited to him. The book was good although a bit complicated with all of the historical information. Carrell is an author I will check out again.
ahduval on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The main character's old professor, finds mention of a missing Shakespeare play. After the professor is murdered, it sets the main character jetting from Britain to the U.S. and to Spain. As she tracks clues to the location of the book, someone is murdering the people that helped her.The history background of the book seemed solid. The story is well paced and there are a few unexpected moments in the book.
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A smarter, MUCH better written Da Vinci Code, only with a lost Shakespearean play instead of Da Vinci...
TamiHindes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I couldn't wait to read this - historical mystery dealing with theatre - and more specifically the Shakespeare controversy. What a let down. The story was so convoluted and far-fetched that it was hard to follow. Starts off with a conspiracy of the burning of the Globe - then moves to the present with a fire at the Globe and a murder. The story jumps geographically all over the world. There are many murders - most of them were senseless except I guess it keeps the cops following the main character. In the end, a new Shakespeare play is produced at the Globe. For theatre scholars - disbelief; for mystery enthusiasts - confusing. Brush up your Shakespeare before reading this - and your English noblity history.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Did William Shakespeare really write all of those masterpieces by himself? Are there missing plays? Did you like "The DaVinci Code"? If the first two make you curious and the answer to the last is yes, then you will really enjoy this book. It is fast-paced and well-written, but is full of a boatload of Shakespearian history and trivia, which can drag at times for the non-expert, such as myself. Not bad.
VivalaErin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very interesting. It's always fun to listen to all the mysteries surround Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare, always have and I don't feel the need to try and see if he was just one man from Stratford. He was a poetic genius, and I am so glad I never became a Shakespearian! This book had some great ideas, and making the story into a murder mystery 400 years after the fact was a good idea. I wish I had liked Kate more. Sometimes it seemed like she forgot she's smart. Some things were a little too convenient - and I hate it when the heroine falls for it. Good twists, a bit dark, and no cheesy romance slowing the plot down. I definitely recommend.
Djupstrom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Extremely smart literary thriller. It has been described as a Da Vinci code with Shakespeare. I have been to a lot of the places they go in the book, so that my be why I connected with it so much. But I think it was Great!!
PatriciaUttaro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
mramos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this novel our heroine Katherine Stanley is directing Shakespeare's "Hamlet" at London's Globe Theater. Yet before the curtain can go up her Harvard mentor, Professor Rosalind Howard offers her a chance for an adventure which must be accepted with blind faith. But along with this unknown adventure is a warning. She is warned that if she chooses to accept the adventure she must follow wherever it leads her. We see that Katherine is wary of taking on this adventure. But fate makes her choice for her as the Globe is set ablaze ending her opening night, a treasured copy of Shakespeare's works is stolen and Rosalind is found murdered. With no choice left to make, Katherine embarks on the adventure that will lead her across he globe. What will she find? Will it be the lost Shakespearean play or the stunning revelation that Shakespeare never existed? The author's has created a gripping story that is well written and researched. This book will be a good read for any who have an interest in either a good mystery or a love of Shakespeare. If you like both, you will love this book.
bcquinnsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Almost 400 years to the day that the original Globe Theater burned, The new Globe suffers a mysterious fire. A very good friend of the protagonist (Kate Stanley) in this story dies, just as she's begun to intrigue Kate regarding a mystery. When all is said and done, Kate's friend turns out to have been murdered. From that point on, Kate's life is a whirlwind tour of England, the United States, and Spain, all based on some hidden clues that she's found regarding Shakespeare, as well as the disappearance of a number of first folios. But wherever Kate goes, someone is following her, the pursuit always ending in death -- with each death mimicking a character in a Shakespeare play. Now besides her unknown pursuer, Scotland Yard is after her as well, as she seeks for something unknown, but obviously important enough to kill for. That's the basic underpinning of this story; you really must read it for yourself. It's a fun novel, filled with a LOT of conflicting theories about Shakespeare's true identity and the nature of the authorship of his works. This is one of those novels where no matter what situation our heroine finds herself in (pardon my very poor grammar), somehow the proverbial "deus ex machina" manifests itself so that the quest can continue. In this sense, it may seem a bit over the top and highly improbable, but let us not forget that this is a suspense/thriller kind of book. There are enough suspects to keep the reader happily occupied trying to figure out the whodunit part (although I must say that there are times when it's obvious) and enough twists and turns in the clues Kate finds to keep the story hopping and to keep the reader interested enough to turn the next page. At several stages in the action, there are "interludes" of action during Shakespeare's time which are relevant to Kate's modern-day quest. Personally I wouldn't consider it material that gives you that "edge-of-your-chair" type suspense, and some parts are just very highly improbable, but for the most part, it's a decent read and you will learn a lot about Shakespeare, the politics of British royalty and nobles during Shakespeare's time, and the crazy divisions among scholars who are trying to figure out exactly who Shakespeare really was. I would recommend it to people who are interested in Shakespeare, or to readers of mysteries in general. You don't really have to know anything about Shakespeare to understand this book, because the author does a pretty good job of explaining everything (sometimes the explanations are a bit tedious, but oh well). Or if you like stories that contain cyphers, hidden clues and a lot of action, then you'll enjoy this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A historical mystery at its finest
carlosmock More than 1 year ago
Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell It's June 29, 2004. On the eve of Hamlet's revival at the Globe Theater in London, Kate Stanley is surprised by her mentor, Rosalind Howard, with news of a groundbreaking discovery about Shakespeare. Rosalind bestows Kate a gift with the words, "if you open it you must follow where it leads." Kate is directing the revival, so she asks Roz to meet her later that night. Before they can meet, the Globe burns to the ground and Roz is found dead. The significance of the fire is not lost in Kate, since on the same day in 1613, the Globe also burnt to the ground. Kate is an authority on Shakespeare and Roz has given her a brooch, with the words: "Keep it safe." Kate finds herself on the search for an unpublished new play by Shakespeare - Cardenio - that is based on Cervantes' Don Quixote. To find the play, Kate becomes a pawn in the puzzle that sets her off on a deadly, high stakes treasure hunt. Aided by Benjamin (Ben) Pearl, and by Sir Henry Lee, Kate races from England to America, and Spain - not knowing who's a friend and who's trying to kill her alongside everyone else who she seeks help in solving the puzzle. Narrated from Kate's first person point of view, Ms. Carrell unlocks a four-hundred year-old literary mystery. Unfortunately, the book is too heavy on Shakespeare. i must confess that I was not able to appreciate the craftsmanship of the work because i am not too knowledgeable in the subject. I think the book is very well written, but obviously I am not part of the audience for which it was written. A must for any Shakespeare lover....