An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason
An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason
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Annotation: In the early sixteen-hundreds, two star-crossed assassins, nineteen-year-old Toby and seventeen-year-old Kit, go undercover as actors in a Shakespeare play in a plot to kill Queen Elizabeth.
Catalog Number: #171828
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 374 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-316-32734-4
ISBN 13: 978-0-316-32734-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017051338
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
It's Elizabethan England: practicing Catholicism can lead to execution, William Shakespeare is working on As You Like It, and Tobias Ellis spies for Queen Elizabeth herself. In Cornwall, Lady Katherine Arundell watches as her father is murdered for his faith, and she becomes entangled in a plot to assassinate the queen. When he catches wind of this plot, Toby sets a trap akespeare's new play, Twelfth Night, will be performed exclusively for Her Majesty d Katherine walks right in. Disguised as a boy called Kit, she joins the troupe, playing opposite a watchful Toby. But Toby, bisexual in a time when same-sex relationships were dangerous, is beginning to fall for Kit, and Katherine has feelings for him as well, despite her guilt over lying to him about her true identity. Opening night approaches, and, one way or another, the truth will out. Boecker (The King Slayer, 2016) spins themes from Twelfth Night into her narrative, while neatly working ideas of gender and sexual identity into historical context. A romantic, swashbuckling adventure that will tempt Shakespeare buffs.
Horn Book
Seventeen-year-old Katherine seeks to avenge her Catholic father's death by masquerading as a male actor to kill Queen Elizabeth I. She and Toby, the closeted-bisexual royal spy charged with foiling the assassination, become mutually attracted while performing the leads in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, a play of disguises, deception, gender, and love. Told via dual first-person narratives, this entertaining historical novel deals with many still-relevant topics. Bib.
Kirkus Reviews
A spy for the queen and a vengeful Catholic intent on regicide bend genders and battle their lovesick hearts in Elizabethan England.When Katherine's father (a Catholic and therefore heretic) is killed by order of Queen Elizabeth I, Katherine escapes and, assuming the male identity of Kit Alban, stage actor, vows to avenge his death. Toby is a royal spy, intercepting coded letters, unraveling secrets, and unveiling traitors (it was his skill that unearthed Katherine's father's plot to kill the queen). Besotted with power and Toby's dreamy blue eyes, HRH enlists him to ensnare her would-be-assassin. His solution? Bait the zealot with a role in Twelfth Night, to be performed mere feet from the monarch. Kit and a team of co-conspiring Catholics bite, arming Kit with a dagger and little hope for escape. Enter stage right: unexpected attraction between Toby and Kit. The first-person, present-tense dual narration of Kit/Katherine and Toby shows their tandem turmoil of pretense: hiding true missions, veiling sexual identity and orientation (Toby is bisexual), simultaneously hoping to actualize and be unfettered from their mutual affection. Though the author's note declares liberties in storytelling, the meticulous design and execution make it read as a scrumptious slice of history. The conflicts of religion, sexuality, class, and gender identity are apropos to contemporary times.Victor, Victoria and Shakespeare in Love: Meet your thrilling new sister. Or brother. (author's note, maps, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 12-adult)
Publishers Weekly
After Queen Elizabeth I-s men kill 17-year-old Katherine Arundell-s father, Sir Richard, for practicing Catholicism in Protestant England, Katherine flees Cornwall for London. Aware that Richard was plotting regicide via mail, Katherine finds his coconspirators and joins them. Nineteen-year-old Tobias Ellis, a royal spy who intercepted one of Richard-s letters, is intent on preventing the queen-s assassination. Toby sets a trap, enlisting Shakespeare to write a seditious play, Twelfth Night, to be performed in front of the queen. Katherine takes the bait, posing as a boy, Christopher -Kit- Alban, to secure the part of Viola. Hoping to ferret out any aspiring murderers, Toby assumes the role of Orsino, but then he and -Kit- fall for each other, forcing both to question their convictions. Katherine and Toby-s alternating voices heighten the tension and drama. Although the book-s middle sags in between its harrowing start and nail-biting conclusion, Boecker (The King Slayer) creates complex characters and a rich historical setting in a story that explores religious extremism, self-identity, and the blindness of love. Ages 14-up. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up A tale of spies and plots set near the end of Queen Elizabeth I's reign. After witnessing her father's death during a raid on their Catholic home, Katherine flees their estate disguised as a boy. She vows to avenge her father's death by carrying out a plan to assassinate the Queen. Tobias, a former printer and apprentice to Christopher Marlowe, is part of Sir Carey's spy and cryptography network. Aware of the plot, he and Carey collaborate with Shakespeare on a new play for the Queen called Twelfth Night , to draw out those involved. Katherine, passing as teen boy Kit, auditions for the play to gain access to the Queen. An attraction between Toby and Kit develops as they rehearse their roles, which complicates everything. The narrative alternates between Katherine's and Toby's perspectives. Questions of gender and identity are explored as Katherine enjoys the freedoms she has in her new gender. Toby knew he was attracted to men, but realizes he might be bisexual. The tension mounts as they perform for the Queen, and a plot change jeopardizes both of them. The ending is surprising with room for a sequel. VERDICT A fast-paced historical mystery rich in period detail that also explores gender and sexuality. A great buy for any library. Tamara Saarinen, Pierce County Library, WA
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A spy for the queen and a vengeful Catholic intent on regicide bend genders and battle their lovesick hearts in Elizabethan England.When Katherine's father (a Catholic and therefore heretic) is killed by order of Queen Elizabeth I, Katherine escapes and, assuming the male identity of Kit Alban, stage actor, vows to avenge his death. Toby is a royal spy, intercepting coded letters, unraveling secrets, and unveiling traitors (it was his skill that unearthed Katherine's father's plot to kill the queen). Besotted with power and Toby's dreamy blue eyes, HRH enlists him to ensnare her would-be-assassin. His solution? Bait the zealot with a role in Twelfth Night, to be performed mere feet from the monarch. Kit and a team of co-conspiring Catholics bite, arming Kit with a dagger and little hope for escape. Enter stage right: unexpected attraction between Toby and Kit. The first-person, present-tense dual narration of Kit/Katherine and Toby shows their tandem turmoil of pretense: hiding true missions, veiling sexual identity and orientation (Toby is bisexual), simultaneously hoping to actualize and be unfettered from their mutual affection. Though the author's note declares liberties in storytelling, the meticulous design and execution make it read as a scrumptious slice of history. The conflicts of religion, sexuality, class, and gender identity are apropos to contemporary times.Victor, Victoria and Shakespeare in Love: Meet your thrilling new sister. Or brother. (author's note, maps, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 12-adult)
Word Count: 94,467
Reading Level: 6.1
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.1 / points: 15.0 / quiz: 199332 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: 900L

Shakespeare in Love meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith in this witty and thrilling story of star-crossed assassins in Elizabeth England, perfect for fans of My Lady Jane and The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue!

When Lady Katherine's father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn't the only secret he's been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father's mission, and to take it one step further -- kill the queen herself.

Katherine's opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare's newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn't know is that the play is not just a play. It's a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.

The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play's leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on.


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