King of Shadows
King of Shadows
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Annotation: While in London as part of an all-boy acting company preparing to perform in a replica of the famous Globe Theatre, Nat Field suddenly finds himself transported back to 1599 and performing in the original theater under the tutelage of Shakespeare himself.
Catalog Number: #171235
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Publisher: Aladdin
Copyright Date: 1999
Edition Date: 2001
Pages: 186 p.
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-689-84445-X Perma-Bound: 0-605-80075-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-689-84445-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-80075-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 98051127
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
A young actor travels back in time to 1599 and performs at the Globe Theatre alongside Shakespeare himself. Nat and Will form an intense attachment, and when Nat wakes again in 1999 he's devastated--even after he learns that his time-traveling saved the playwright's life. Ultimately, Nat learns that love is stronger than death in this powerfully rendered historical novel/fantasy/love story.
Kirkus Reviews
When Nat Field, an orphan living with his aunt, is chosen for an all-boy acting troupe traveling to London to perform Shakespeare in the reconstructed Globe Theatre, he hopes it will help him escape from his family's tragedy. Instead he finds himself switched in time with another Nat Field, who carries the Plague. In the past he performs with the Bard himself, who becomes a surrogate father and helps him deal with his sorrow, while preparing to play Oberon to Nat's Puck in a performance before the Queen. Cooper is in top form here; her confident prose, at once muscular and lyrical, vividly conveys the sights, sounds, and smells of Elizabethan London. Most powerful are her descriptions of the story and imaginative staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which should have readers scurrying for the original. Her poignant characterization of Nat, whose grief is released by Shakespeare and healed by his words, captures perfectly an adolescent in thrall of the theater, in all its grittiness and grandeur. A dramatic and sensory feast. (Fiction. 10-14)
Publishers Weekly

"Cooper brilliantly weaves past and present together, using London's Globe Theatre as a backdrop, to demonstrate the timelessness of Shakespeare's works and the theater at large," said PW in a boxed review. Ages 10-14. (June)

Starred Review for Publishers Weekly
Cooper (The Dark Is Rising) brilliantly weaves past and present together, using London's Globe Theatre as backdrop, to demonstrate the timelessness of Shakespeare's works and the theater at large. The first segment of the novel, set in the present, details Nathan Field's rehearsals for the part of Puck in an upcoming production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, to be mounted in the newly renovated Globe. He has been chosen, along with a group of other boys from America, to travel to England for the performance. When Nat is suddenly stricken with a serious illness, he awakens to find himself once again cast as Puck at the Globe Theatre, but the year is 1599. Cooper meticulously conveys Nat's impressions of the sights, sounds, smells and textures of Elizabethan England. She is equally adept at evoking the boy's respect and awe for his """"new"""" director, the bard himself. Shakespeare, cast as a wise, intuitive father figure, takes orphaned Nat under his wing. In return, Nat saves the playwright's life by unknowingly changing the natural course of history. Through the boy's relationship with """"Will,"""" as Nat calls him, Cooper deftly reveals Nat's unresolved feelings about his own deceased father. The judicious use of quotes from Shakespeare's plays and sonnets will awaken in novices an interest in his works and command respect from seasoned fans. Fascinating details of 16th-century troupe life as well as how costumes, make-up and stage effects were carried out add depth and layers to the depiction of life 400 years ago. An unexpected, appropriately enigmatic ending brings this masterful novel to a close--and brings home the resounding message that the show must go on. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Nat Field is thrilled when theater director Richard Babbage chooses him to become a player in the Company of Boys, an American summer drama troupe that will appear in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the new replica of the Globe Theater in London. Shortly after his arrival in England, though, Nat feels ill and falls into a troubled sleep. To the doctor's astonishment, he seems to be suffering from the effects of the bubonic plague. He awakens in 1599 as another Nat Field, a child actor from St. Paul's School who is about to go to the Globe to rehearse A Midsummer Night's Dream in the role of Puck. In the weeks of rehearsal that follow the time switch, Nat, still numb from his father's suicide some years before, opens up to William Shakespeare, who is still pained by the death of his son. Shakespeare offers his young Puck sympathy, respect, affection, and a sonnet on the constancy of love, which comforts Nat at the time and after his return to the twentieth century. Few writers have used historical characters in fiction with such conviction and grace as Cooper in her down-to-earth portrayals of Shakespeare and theater founder Richard Burbage. Nat's disorientation during his initial illness works surprisingly well as a transition between one time period and the next. The mysterious role Richard Babbage/Burbage seems to play in understanding or directing the time travel is less satisfying. Still, the book provides a sympathetic first-person narrative, a vivid evocation of everyday life in Elizabethan England, and a lively dramatization of the tension and magic as a play moves through rehearsals to performance. As the two companies of players prepare for their productions and the story rises to a crescendo, the play becomes a constant, a fixed point and in both centuries. Part historical fiction, part fantasy, and wholly entertaining reading. (Reviewed October 15, 1999)
Word Count: 48,002
Reading Level: 6.2
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.2 / points: 8.0 / quiz: 34721 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:7.5 / points:12.0 / quiz:Q19083
Lexile: 1010L
Guided Reading Level: Z
Fountas & Pinnell: Z

Only in the world of the theater can Nat Field find an escape from the tragedies that have shadowed his young life. So he is thrilled when he is chosen to join an American drama troupe traveling to London to perform A Midsummer Night's Dream in a new replica of the famous Globe theater.
Shortly after arriving in England, Nat goes to bed ill and awakens transported back in time four hundred years -- to another London, and another production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Amid the bustle and excitement of an Elizabethan theatrical production, Nat finds the warm, nurturing father figure missing from his life -- in none other than William Shakespeare himself. Does Nat have to remain trapped in the past forever, or give up the friendship he's so longed for in his own time?

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