|4 out of 5 stars|
It’s a tribute to William Shakespeare that we are still interested in him, 400 years after his death. His life provides just the right mix of known facts and mysteries. We know the bare bones of his life—who he married, how many children he had, details of his career, and elements of his reputation.
What’s missing are the personal details—how did he feel about things? What kind of person was he to work with? What were his religious beliefs? Was he a faithful husband? Who was that Dark Lady of the sonnets, anyway? Did he really write all those things attributed to him?
This leaves authors lots of lee-way to write their own adventures for the Bard. I’ve enjoyed the likes of Shakespeare Undead and The Dark Lady's Mask, not to mention a short story involving Atticus O’Sullivan of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series (Goddess at the Crossroads). Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of collated list of fiction featuring Shakespeare as a character, but No Bed for Bacon is the earliest that I have yet encountered. I’m surprised that there aren’t many more novels with Shakespeare figuring prominently as a character! If you know of any, please let me know in the comments, I’m intrigued to read more. There are tons of books written as reinterpretations of his works, but fewer which feature the Bard himself.
Despite being first published in 1941, No Bed for Bacon still feels remarkably fresh to me. Reputedly, it is the basis for the movie Shakespeare in Love.