Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tamburlaine Must Die by Louise Welsh

Author: Louise Welsh
ISBN # 1841955329
Publisher: Canongate Books
1st Published: 2004
149 Pages

It’s 1593 and London is a city on edge. Under threat from plague and war it’s a desperate place where strangers are unwelcome and severed heads grin from spikes on Tower Bridge.

Poet, playwright and spy, Christopher Marlowe has three days to live. Three days in which he confronts dangerous government factions, double agents, necromancy, betrayal and revenge in his search for the murderous Tamburlaine, a killer who has escaped from between the pages of Marlowe’s most violent play . . .

Tamburlaine Must Die is a swashbuckling adventure story of a man who dares to defy both God and state and discovers that there are worse fates than damnation.

Welsh’s style is elegantly lyrical and instantly embroils the reader in the hedonistic and frantic final days of Christopher Marlow, whose death in a Deptford house is shrouded in some mystery to this very day. There’s just enough intrigue to hold the plot for this short novella, so Welsh was wise not to try and expand it to full novel length – it would have felt stretched and forced.

A nice way to pass an idle afternoon.

Rating: 6


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