Longlisted, 2018 International DUBLIN Literary Award
Long-shortlisted, 2017 ReLit Awards
"Complex, lyrical, and with a profound sense of a world long passed and humanity’s eternal motivations." — Quill & Quire
"In Butler Hallett’s hands, Kit comes off as a fascinating and contradictory figure, part martyred freethinker and part unscrupulous opportunist." — Winnipeg Review
"Perfectly paced and gracefully wrought." — Toronto Star
1593. Queen Elizabeth still reigns but grows old. Two rival spymasters — Sir Robert Cecil and the Earl of Essex — plot from the shadows. Their goal: to control succession upon the aged queen’s death. The man on which their schemes depend: Christopher Marlowe ("Kit" to his friends), a cobbler’s son from Canterbury who has defied expectations and become an accomplished poet and playwright.
As the novel opens, Kit Marlowe, fresh from betraying the target of his espionage, is himself betrayed. Fighting to stay one step ahead in a dizzying game that threatens the lives of those he holds most dear, including his beloved Tom Kyd, he comes to question his allegiances and nearly everything he once believed.
In this psychological thriller, Michelle Butler Hallett fleshes out the historical record with insight and the rigor of authenticity. Her 16th-century England, surprising and fresh, offers historical figures both famous and obscure, casual descriptions of quotidian life, and vivid representations of cruelty and violence that reverberate with echoes of our own time.
But it’s Kit, the fascinating Marlowe, an endless source of brilliance, passion and defiance, that brings the novel to life. Writes playwright Robert Chafe, "History’s Marlowe becomes [Butler Hallet’s] own, offering us his wit and wisdom and seemingly new lessons about faith, ambition, loyalty, and yes, love."