Shakespeare's Spy
Shakespeare's Spy

Series: Shakespeare Stealer Vol. 3   

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Annotation: The winter of 1602 brings many changes for Widge, a young apprentice at London's Globe Theatre, as he becomes infatuated with Shakespeare's daughter Judith, attempts to write a play, learns more about his past, endangers himself to help a friend, acquires a new identity, and finds a new purpose in life.
Catalog Number: #268547
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
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Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition Date: 2005
Pages: 281 p.
Availability: Available (Limited Quantities Available / While Supplies Last)
ISBN: Publisher: 0-14-240311-3 Perma-Bound: 0-605-37099-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-14-240311-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-37099-9
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2003061659
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
This sequel to The Shakespeare Stealer (1998) and Shakespeare's Scribe (2000) is narrated by Widge, an orphan boy who acts with the Lord Chamberlain's Men at the Globe Theatre. Widge, at the precarious age when his changing voice jeopardizes his ability to play women's roles, becomes infatuated with an older woman, Mr. Shakespeare's daughter, Judith, and begins to write plays in hopes of impressing her. Soon he proves his acting ability offstage by taking on a secret mission for his employers. Blackwood goes beyond mere costume drama here, bringing together actual people, events, and details of daily life from the period and infusing them with an Elizabethan outlook. In an appended note, Blackwood separates fact from fiction. Characters and themes from the earlier books reappear in this story, while the increasingly mature Widge grapples anew with his identity and his place in the world. With a more convincing portrayal of its period than most historical novels, this book is a solid addition to a rewarding series.
Horn Book
Six months have passed since the events of Shakespeare's Scribe, and Widge has grown more confident in his acting and more comfortable in his place both in the Lord Chamberlain's Men and amongst Mr. Pope's charges. There is a lot going on here, but the novel, with its intrigues, romances, and plagues, is an enjoyable read. An author's note separates fact from fiction.
Kirkus Reviews
<p>Street-waif-turned-actor Widge stumbles into adolescence as he makes a third entrance onto the vividly rendered stage of Elizabethan London's "backstreets and snickleways." As the Queen's failing health brings worries that the Puritans will at last be able to close down all the theaters, Widge acquires both a risky new acquaintance who turns out to be a fugitive Jesuit, and a bad case of the wobbles from the sudden arrival of Shakespeare's flirtatious daughter Judith from Stratford. Worse yet, expensive costumes are disappearing from the troupe's stores, and news comes that his stage-struck friend Julia is in desperate straits in Paris. On the other hand, Widge is given a partial script that Shakespeare has given up on, about the changing fortunes of one Timon, and finds himself on the verge of discovering a vocation. Peppered like its predecessors with hilarious wordplay and real stagecraft, with historical incidents woven into a complex but expertly controlled plot, this new act will draw enthusiastic ovations from fans, theatergoers, or otherwise. (Fiction. 11-13)</p>
Publishers Weekly
In the third book in the Shakespeare Stealer series, Shakespeare's Spy by Gary Blackwood, the past seems inescapable for young theater apprentice Widge. Having been a suspect in the series' debut book when Widge was sent to steal the script for Hamlet, he again falls under suspicion with a string of thefts involving Mr. Shakespeare's scripts. The only way to clear his name is for Widge to spy on the rival company and find the real thief.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In this newest addition to the series, the apprentice Widge becomes a spy to determine who is stealing scripts of Shakespeare's latest play from the Lord Chamberlain's Men. After a loud argument, he pretends that the playwright has dismissed him and attains an acting position with the Admiral's Men. His talent for "swift writing" enables him to crack an encoded note that identifies the culprit. While describing Widge's frenetic activities, Blackwood shows the political and religious instability that prevailed due to Queen Elizabeth's failing health. The monarch is a prime supporter of Shakespeare's dramas, and the company members wonder what their fate will be after her death. Meanwhile, they attempt to rid their plays of any reference to Papists so no one will report them to the already insecure authorities. Widge and his friends love adventure; they venture into treacherous, forbidden streets to seek a mysterious and frightening fortune-teller and they taunt one another to cross the frozen river. Readers will identify with Widge's increasing self-understanding and integrity gained from his experiences. Blackwood's well-integrated plot and intriguing subplots ensure a fast-paced tale of Elizabethan England that fans of the earlier novels will love; the author incorporates historical details from the broad political scene to the minute social scene to give authority and excitement to the story.-Susan Cooley, formerly at Tower Hill School, Wilmington, DE Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Word Count: 72,819
Reading Level: 5.7
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.7 / points: 11.0 / quiz: 74074 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.2 / points:17.0 / quiz:Q34354
Lexile: 850L

Things are disappearing mysteriously from Will Shakespeare's acting company, and it looks like an inside job. Everyone's eyes are on Widge, the orphan boy turned actor, and former thief. Widge knows better than anyone that Shakespeare's plays must be protected at all costs. In order to prove his innocence and clear his name, Widge must learn a new role: spy. But can he dig through the suspects and skulduggery and catch the true culprit?

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