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The Ghost Theatre: A Novel

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by Mat Osman (Author) 

A wild and hallucinatory reimagining of Elizabethan London, with its bird worshippers, famed child actors, and the Queen herself; a dazzling historical novel about theatre, magic, and the dangers of all-consuming love


London, 1601—a golden city soon to erupt in flames. Shay is a messenger-girl, falconer, and fortune teller who sees the future in the patterns of birds. Nonesuch is the dark star of the city’s fabled Blackfriars Theatre, where a cast of press-ganged boys perform for London’s gentry. When the pair meet, Shay falls in love with the performances—and with Nonesuch himself. As their bond deepens, they create the Ghost Theatre, an underground troupe that performs fantastical plays in the city’s hidden corners. As their fame grows the troupe fans the flames of rebellion among the city’s outcasts, and the lovers are drawn into the dark web of the Elizabethan court. Embattled, with the plague on the rise throughout the country, the Queen seeks a reading from Shay, a moment which unleashes chaos not only in Shay’s life, but across the whole of England too.


A fever-dream full of prophecy and anarchy, gutter rats and bird gods, Mat Osman’s The Ghost Theatre is a wild ride from the rooftops of Elizabethan London to its dark underbelly, and a luminous meditation on double lives and fluid identities and the bewitching, transformative nature of art and power, with a bittersweet love affair at its heart. Set amid the vividly rendered England of Osman’s imagination and written in rich, seductive prose, The Ghost Theatre will have readers under its spell from the very first page.

"Smart, bold, and original, The Ghost Theatre brings to life a slantwise Elizabethan London where appearance is everything and nothing you see can be trusted. Every page is alive with the heady, dangerous energy of an opening night, and Shay and Nonesuch are unforgettable. For readers who like their historical fiction with imagination and flair, this book is a must-read."―Allison Epstein, author of A Tip for the Hangman

"The star of the show in The Ghost Theatre is Osman's fanciful rendering of Elizabethan England, sometimes dreamlike, sometimes apocalyptic, depicted with such a wealth of sensory detail that it blurs the line between memory and fantasy."―Dexter Palmer, author of Mary Toft; Or, The Rabbit Queen

Categories: Historical Literary Fiction


Publisher ‏ : ‎ Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Publication date ‏ : ‎ 2022

Language ‏ : ‎ English

Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled

File ‏ : ‎ EPUB, 1.74 MB

Print length ‏ : ‎ 320 pages

You will get a EPUB (2MB) file

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