Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

Fools and Mortals

A dramatic new departure for international bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, FOOLS AND MORTALS takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – and that of the playhouses, playwrights and...

Details Fools and Mortals

TitleFools and Mortals
Release DateOct 24th, 2017
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

Reviews Fools and Mortals

  • Paromjit
    Bernard Cornwell takes us into the Elizabethan era and the world of the theatre evolving from a transient company of players touring London and other towns to the birth of permanent theatre, with buildings built solely for this purpose. The popularity of plays with audiences puts pressure for new plays on a continuous basis, leading to a demand for writers to satisfy the demands of growing audiences. At the same time, the chill winds of Puritanis...
  • Maureen
    Hmmm, not sure about this one. Did I like it? Yes, in parts, but then other parts fell flat for me.In the latter years of the sixteenth century, the professional theatre as we know it was born. Prior to this time there were plays and actors, but the companies had nowhere to perform other than inns, parish halls and some of the great houses, until permanent playhouses were built in London.It's here that we make the aquaintance of Richard Shakespea...
  • Emma
    This feel-good adventure in the Elizabethan era is full of detail and emotion. Slow to build but well worth the investment, it follows Richard Shakespeare, theatre player and resentful sibling to the talented, Will. Not immediately likeable, this is a journey of Richard's growth as much as anything else, and through his experiences, we are offered an intriguing picture of two very different brothers. Yet their shared home is the playhouse, with i...
  • A Bald Mage** Steve
    via GIPHY Bald Mage Rating 8.5/10I would like to thank HarperCollins UK and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book for free, the release date for the book is 19th October 2017(Things base and vile, holding no quantity, Love can transpose to form and dignity: Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind.)When I got the opportunity to read Bernard Cornwell’s new book I couldn...
  • Lucy Banks
    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.Shakespeare? Check. Intrigue? Check. Plenty of fun? Check. I'm sold!Despite having watched The Last Kingdom on TV, I've never got around to reading any books by Bernard Cornwell, so I was delighted to give this one a go. And very entertaining it was too! The protagonist is Richard Shakespeare, the younger (and better looking) brother of William Shakespeare. He's an ac...
  • Roman Clodia
    A feel-good romp of a novel that bears more than a passing resemblance to Shakespeare in Love, albeit without the romance and emotional edge. Cornwell's research is sometimes worn a bit heavily ('Titania! A lovely name,' Father Laurence said, 'your brother took it from Ovid, didn't he?' 'Did he?' 'From the Metamorphoses, of course') but overall he gives a good account of what it must have been like to be a player in the mid 1590s. I enjoyed that ...
  • Mary Yarde
    “Lord, what fools these mortals be…” Running away from Stratford-Upon-Avon seemed like a sensible thing to do at the time. Richard Shakespeare was sure that his eldest brother, William, would be glad to see him. Alas, that was not the case. But he was here now. There was nothing William could do about that. Following in his brother's footsteps, Richard becomes a player as well as the occasional thief.As the years roll on, Richard Shakespear...
  • Lola Et La Vie
    (2nd half is a close a 4-star!)A story told from the point of view of Richard Shakespeare, brother to playwright William, who is part of a group of players who stage plays at The Theatre.Richard, our narrator, was very likable as a young man who wants to be taken seriously by his older brother and as a player. The tale is well written, and Cornwell manages to bring 16th century London to life. And yet I did not love this book as much was I wanted...
  • Cheryl M-M
    Kudos to Cornwell for giving the works of Shakespeare their dues, especially A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He dissects the piece, as if it were the hottest new reality-soap in town. Leaving the historical references and importance of Shakespeare’s work aside for a moment, what remains are emotional roller-coasters for the masses. Shakespeare gives us drama, laughter, tears,violence and death. His plays were live television.Cornwell is an excelle...
  • Yvonne
    Set in Elizabethan England, at a time when static playhouses are still in their infancy, as the days of players touring the country will gradually decline. The story focuses on one playhouse and it’s players known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. It is here where the reader in introduced to Richard, a small time actor who has followed his estranged brother to London. His brother is the script writer William Shakespeare and scripts are becoming ...
  • Nick
    In one sense, this book is a complete departure from the Bernard Cornwell stories that I'm accustomed to, as it's set in the Elizabethan era and focused on actors and playwrights, rather than warriors and soldiers. Yet at it's core I found much that was familiar: the same fairly succinct narration, a fast paced narrative, and the same types of drama, love, and even violence that are central to Cornwell's other tales. If you enjoyed the stories of...
  • Joanna Lambert
    I've been a long term fan of Bernard Cornwell and enjoyed both his books and the dramatizations done for TV. He is an exceptional story teller. Fools and Mortals is, however, a complete departure from his usual offering and may perhaps to some extent disappoint the die hard fan. However, although this story did not contain the usual fights and battles, it was still an entertaining read. Told from William Shakespeare's younger brother Richard's vi...
  • Eden Church
    4.5/5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟. Upon reading his new novel, Fools and Mortals, one wonders why Bernard Cornwell has spent so much time writing about the Vikings when he was very clearly destined to write about Shakespeare and Elizabethan England. Cornwell brings the city to life, and invites us to live in it, to immerse ourselves in it, to walk the streets of London, to become another player on Shakespeare’s stage, and the effect is exhilarating!...
  • Lucy-May
    Fools & Mortals was a total delight; with sharp & intelligent writing from the very first page, I read the book with a smile on my face throughout. Cornwell has adopted the wit that is shown in William Shakespeare's work & made it entirely his own; whilst bringing to life Richard Shakespeare so well that I felt I knew him. This is one of the most well-written books that I have read this year & has reminded me why I love English history so much. I...
  • Connie
    As a big fan of Bernard Cornwell I couldn't wait to get my hands on this. Fools and Mortals for me was a bit of a slow burner. Set in Elizabethan London it's a story about William Shakespeare and his estranged brother who is a player in William's troop of Actors.The troop have been rehearsing A Midsummer Night's Dream for a grand wedding when the script for this play and Romeo and Juliet have been stolen and Richard vows to steal them back.I did ...
  • Tati
    I'd like to thank NetGalley and Harper Collins for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.I've said this a thousand times before, but here goes another one: Bernard Cornwell is high on my autobuy list. Whatever he writes, I'll read.That being said, this latest work of his sort of fell flat for me. Could it be that I'm not that invested in Shakespeare? Could be. Then again, I wasn't that invested in the Napoleonic Wars, and...
  • Tom Williams
    Fools and Mortals is the story of Richard Shakespeare, William's younger brother. There was a real Richard Shakespeare, but given how little is known of William's early life it seems that Richard’s is likely to be even more conjectural. Although Cornwell provides a long and fascinating historical note, he doesn't say anything about the real Richard. The fictional Richard runs away from Stratford, where he has beaten and robbed the man he was ap...
  • M.J.
    When I first read the blurb for this book (quite some time ago), I was disappointed and felt that despite all of Bernard Cornwell's prior success he had decided to sell his soul to Satan. The Tudors and the Elizabethan period, in particular, have, as far as I'm concerned, been done to death. I vowed I wouldn't read the book - I won't read anything that's Tudor/Elizabethan anymore because I can't believe that there's anything to say about the peri...
  • Cadiva
    Bernard Cornwell is, without a doubt, one of the finest historical novelists writing in the genre imho and this is no exception.It's a slight departure from his usual style as there's no warfare or great battles as in the Sharpe or the Warlord novels, instead it takes the reader firmly into Elizabethan England at a time when William Shakespeare was in the city establishing The Globe theatre and getting into conflict with the Lord Chancellor's Men...
  • Daphne Sharpe
    A marvellous thriller,set in Elizabethan England,where the new fashion is going to see plays and other distractions in newly built theatres alongside the river Thames. Playwrights are much in demand and skilful men of letters can earn small fortunes by writing such plays and becoming attached to titled personages and protected by their patronage. Best known are William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe,and any new play by these people is always at thre...
  • Katie
    I got this book in exchange for a review.Okay, anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell, so it’s no wonder that I’ve requested this book. But I did not expect to be approved!Now, the book is set in Elizabethan England and it is connected to the great William Shakespeare. But the tale is not told from his point of view, but rather from the point of view of his brother, Richard Shakespeare, struggling actor who has to...
  • Tim
    Historical novelist Bernard Cornwell explores the rich backdrop of Elizabethan theatre in his latest novel. Readers who are familiar with Cornwell’s popular Sharpe and The Last Kingdom series may be surprised to find this work set away from battlefields. However, all of author’s dependable trademarks are visible here. The book is well researched, the storyline compelling and interesting characters with competing motivations.One character comp...
  • Julia
    A beautifully written and evocative tale woven around the lives of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the company of actors of the Theatre playhouse in Elizabethan London. The tale is told from the point of view of Richard Shakespeare, younger brother of the more famous William, and the trials and tribulations of the first performance of A Midsummer Nights Dream. There’s sibling rivalry, budding romance, royalty, aristocratic patrons, rivalry betwee...
  • Anthony
    I thought that I would be bored silly. How wrong was I?I waited a year for the next instalment of Bernard Cornwell’s ‘Last Kingdom’ series about Uhtred of Bebbanburg and the struggle between Alfred the Great’s Saxons and the Scandinavian inavaders. The saga is Ten books in and I was expecting this October’s release to be number eleven. He has been releasing a new book once a year, in October and it never occurred to me to check.I was as...
  • Portia Sale
    Thanks to HarperCollins UK and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book for free, due for release on 19th October 2017.Set in Elizabethan times, Cornwell's latest novel focuses on a theatre troop that includes Richard Shakespeare, younger brother of William. It's a fun, easy to read historical novel with well-built, interesting characters, an enjoyable little romance, and lots of literature. The historical research was seamless...
  • Jackie Grebby
    "I died just after the clock in the passageway struck nine." It is said that the opening lines of a novel are some of the most important words in a book. In this case, Bernard Cornwell truly cast a well aimed hook and I was caught. The story is different from his other works that I have read and enjoyed. Well researched, and he gives full credit to his researcher, Amanda Moore, who has done a marvellous job for him, I was drawn into the theatre s...
  • Roger
    I adore Bernard Cornwell and this book lived up to expectations. It's not all-action like the Sharpe series or Uhtred of Babbenburg, but does have a couple of exciting fights that are entirely in context. As usual it's beautifully written so you don't want to put the book down and naturally it is impeccably researched.This story was of particular interest to me as I have taken to a little bit of acting in my retirement and last year appeared in a...
  • Mary
    This is set in a period that, as far as I know, Cornwell hasn't used before. It is based on the happenings around Christmas in the late 1500s concerning the writing and first production of one of Shakespeare's most well loved plays. The main protagonist is Richard Shakespeare. William's younger brother and a member of William's troupe, The Lord Chamberlain's Men. It includes both real and invented characters and brings alive the society and setti...
  • Elise
    No one does historical fiction better than Bernard Cornwell. In his latest book, Fools and Mortals, he brings us into the bawdy, robust and dangerous world of London during the Elizabethan era. Rivalries abound. The theater has become a cultural icon. Plays are worth their weight in gold, and people were willing to do anything to obtain a Shakespeare play.Read the entire review at
  • Lesley
    I was sent a copy of Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell to read and review by NetGalleyThis is the first Bernard Cornwell book that I have read and it is one of his ‘stand-alone’ novels, not part of a series. The author brings to life the life and times of the Elizabethan age and the blossoming art of the theatre. The story revolves around the younger brother of a very famous playwright, who at the time was just beginning to make a name fo...