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London is in the grip of an icy winter and Westfield's Men are out of work. Invited to perform at a manor house in Essex, they accept willingly even though the offer comes with two conditions: they must perform an entirely new play and agree to take a new apprentice, Davy Stratton, into the company.
At first it seems as though Davy is a talented and eager addition to the theater troupe. However, he soon disrupts the group's camaraderie when he quarrels with the other apprentices and runs away on a reconnaissance trip to Essex. Nicholas Bracewell just manages to hold the group together during the rehearsals for their new play, The Witch of Colchester. But when the lead actor succumbs to a series of strange illnesses, identical to those which afflict his character in the play, some members of Westfield's Men fear there may be a witch among them. Then a prominent audience member dies during the opening night performance, and Nicholas Bracewell has to confront the deadliest foe of all.
Rich in historical detail and wonderfully evoking the golden age of theater, The Devil's Apprentice is an exciting, suspenseful addition to this Edgar nominated series.
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Edward Marston is the author of ten previous mysteries featuring Nicholas Bracewell. He is also the author of the Domesday Chronicle novels. A playwright with a lifelong interest in history, he lives in England.From Publishers Weekly:
Murder makes a late entrance in Marston's (The Wanton Angel, etc.) 11th Elizabethan adventure, but enough else of interest is going on to keep the reader engaged. The inn yard of the Queen's Head, London, home of Lord Westfield's Men, lies icy, cold and deserted in the wake of a long bitter winter that has left the members of the company unemployed and desperate. When they get the opportunity to perform six plays at the Essex estate of Sir Michael Greenleaf, the leaders of the company are elated. However, there are two conditions: they must accept Davy Stratton, the son of a successful Essex merchant, as an apprentice, and one of the plays that they perform must be entirely new. An interview with young Davy persuades them to accept him, while a new play, The Witch of Rochester, written by a disgruntled lawyer, promises to be a hit. The joy of the company is short-lived as one catastrophe after another threatens to halt their productions. The playwright lawyer becomes belligerent, an avid Puritan attempts to prevent the company from performing in Essex and Davy himself causes more mayhem and havoc than could ever have been anticipated. When a member of the audience drops dead during one of the performances, series hero Nicholas Bracewell determines to seek the truth. Lively characters, meticulous attention to historical detail, humor and wit more than compensate for the plot's slow evolution. (Aug. 20)including The Wildcats of Exeter (Forecasts, Dec. 4, 2000).
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Minotaur Books, 2001. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0312265743
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