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Book Review: License to Quill

Updated on February 27, 2020
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Reading is a series of human emotions. Writing is the gift of sharing these emotions.


Everyone knew William Shakespeare as England’s renowned playwright. What people didn’t know was the fact that he worked as a double-O agent for the Ordinance Office, operated by Thomas Walsingham (a.k.a “W”), a master spy. As an undercover agent, he was given a mission to spy on a man disguising himself as John Johnson, who was later revealed as Guy Fawkes. He wanted William to write a masterpiece that involved witches, and a message will be conveyed when the play is performed in Scotland. William was tasked to ensure that whatever Guy Fawkes is plotting against the British government shouldn’t succeed. Meanwhile, Christopher Marlowe, a previous agent and poet who staged his own death, somehow gets involved in the plot. He found himself in scrutiny as assassins threaten his life to die for the second time.


First and foremost, how can you put down a book about William Shakespeare, the world’s greatest writer and dramatist? And as if he wasn’t enough, Jacopo aimed to attract the readers with Christopher Marlow, another prominent English playwright and poet during the Elizabethan era. This book is jampacked with historical legends like Former Lord Chancellor and English philosopher, Francis Bacon, Thomas Walsingham (English chronicler), Richard Burbage (famous Globe Theatre actor), Guy Fawkes (famously known as the culprit of the failed Gunpowder Plot in 1605), and more. I also liked the involvement of witches, ravens, and Aston (the silver stallion) because they made the story even more enticing to read. And because Jacopo blessed us with so many interesting characters, the conversations were naturally compelling, and the setting was geographically amazing. If producers would do a movie adaptation, this is bound to have an incredible cinematography.

Frankly, my spirits upon reading “License to Quill” was unfathomable. I couldn’t quite pinpoint if I was ecstatic, woeful, thrilled, tensed or amused; it was a mix of many emotions, but I am certain that the story took me to a long and fast joyride. Overall, the novel was a mix of wacky and intelligent work of art by Jacopo della Quercia and I highly recommend this book to readers who love historical fiction.

© 2019 Shey Saints


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