In the spring of 1613 Mr William Shakespeare, a gentleman farmer in Warwickshire, returns to London. It is a ceremonial visit; he has no further theatrical ambitions. But the city is still reeling from the terrorist panic of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, and fate soon forces him to take up his pen again. It was never possible to write about Henry VII while his granddaughter Elizabeth was Queen, but now he must. It is a perilous enterprise: King James I's spies are everywhere. There is no evidence that Shakespeare wrote Henry VII, but in a compelling piece of historical recreation, Robert Winder asks: what if he did? And after 400 years, he gives us a unique world premiere - a brand-new, full-length Shakespeare play, incorporated brilliantly into this extraordinary novel. THE FINAL ACT OF MR SHAKESPEARE is an exhilarating portrait of England's greatest author - not in love but raging against the dying of the light. It is an outrageous tour de force of theatrical imagination, full of the spirit of the Bard.
Robert Winder was literary editor of the INDEPENDENT for five years and deputy editor of Granta magazine. He has written two novels and the bestselling Abacus non-fiction title BLOODY FOREIGNERS.