Shakespeare Scholar turned director Kate Stanley is happily immersed in her duties directing Hamlet at the Globe in London when she receives a visit from her old mentor, Harvard's Shakespeare Professor, Rosalind "Roz" Howard. It seems Roz has a mystery on her hands and seeks the help of Kate due to her knowledge of occult Shakespeare. While waiting for her rendezvous with Roz, a fire breaks out at the Globe, reminiscent of the fire that claimed the famed theatre in 1613. Once the fire is extinguished, Roz's body is discovered within, murdered in the same manner as Hamlet's father in the Bard's play.
Kate knows that the mystery Roz presented her with is what led to her death and following the clues Roz left her-a catalog card and an old brooch, she embarks on a quest to find out what was important enough to have Roz killed. She soon has her answer-a priceless lost play by Shakespeare may have been discovered. Kate, with the help of famed actor sir Henry Lee and Roz' nephew Benjamin Pearl sets out to track down the lost play, pursued by a ruthless killer who murders all she comes in contact with in manners set forth in various Shakespeare plays. Will she find the play in time or become a victim herself?
I can see where this book merits comparisons to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code as it has the same fast pace and is full of twists and turns. I loved that even though I haven't read much Shakespeare, the author explains everything in such a way that I could understand what was going on. I also liked the interludes at the end of each section where the author flashes back to 1613 and give us a glimpse of Shakespeare and the woman and man he was torn between. Also the story explores the question of whether or not Shakespeare really wrote the plays or whether it was one of several candidates: Edward de Vere-Earl of Oxford, Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Queen Elizabeth, or several people writing together to create them. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The only thing that really bugged me was for such a smart girl, Kate was a bit too trusting. This one kept me guessing til the end.