A great way to introduce kids to Shakespeare and the exciting and dangerous times of Elizabethan England is to offer them well-written, exciting, adventures involving a young orphan thief who is sent by his master to steal from Will Shakespeare and company. Gary Blackwood has written a trilogy of stories involving 14-year-old Widge, an indentured servant in the beginning who has been taught shorthand by a former master and is now called upon to use this skill to copy Hamlet for a rival theatre group. Attending a performance, Widge manages to write everything down but in the crowded streets of London, his pocket is picked and, fearing for his life, he decides he must join the actors of the Globe Theatre and steal a copy of Shakespeare’s newest, unpublished play, Hamlet. Once in the theatre, he is playing a double role, the one he must play on stage and the one he must continually play to survive, keeping his true purpose from the actors and apprentices who make him feel welcome and part of a family for the first time in his life. The Shakespeare Stealer (1998) is full of the sights and sounds of 16th century London and the theatre life. The plot has many twists and turns to keep young people on the edge of their seats.
Blackwood’s two sequels, Shakespeare’s Scribe (2000) and Shakespeare’s Spy (2003) continue to follow the complicated and adventurous life of Widge as he faces betrayal within the company, learning to fence, rivalries, suspicions, duels, the plague, touring the countryside, discovering his real name and a man who claims to be his father.
This exciting trilogy is also available from Amazon in a boxed set called The Shakespeare Adventure Pack. Adults will enjoy this captivating series as much as young people.