Recently I spotted The Enchantress of Numbers, a novel about Ada Lovelace. If you’re unfamiliar with that name, she’s often credited as being the first computer programmer because of her relationship with Charles Babbage, inventor of the Difference Engine (often heralded as the first modern programmable computing device). As a lifelong computer geek and now the father of two daughters, I’m always interested in the stories of women in science and engineering, so this was a no-brainer.
I would say that I don’t usually like historical fiction, because it’s exactly that, fiction. Where’s the pleasure in reading about stuff that didn’t happen to people that really did exist? I started to say to someone, “It’s not like I’m seeking out Shakespeare historical fiction either…” but then I realized that I quite liked that Will television series that was on this past summer:
When Shakespeare, Kemp, Burbage and the other “moderately historically accurate” characters are on screen, I am enraptured. I could watch it all day. I’ve been telling people it reminds me of the recent “Jobs” movie starring Michael Fassbender, which was basically two plus hours of a universe centered on Steve Jobs. To the degree that this show will be a universe centered on Shakespeare and his circle, you won’t be able to tear me away from the television.
I’ve never actually read anything like that. The only Shakespeare fiction I know is usually young adult stuff to introduce my kids to Shakespeare. People travel through time to meet Shakespeare, or people discover a long lost Shakespeare manuscript. At least once I think I read something from Anne Hathaway’s point of view. But never “Will and the boys.”
So I’m asking. Does anybody know of historic fiction that’s set around Shakespeare, Marlowe, Ben Jonson and their fellows? Ideally something that’s not completely young adult, but I’ll take what I can get. Something that attempts some degree of historical timeline accuracy, but I’m totally ok with filling in the missing pieces.
I may turn out to hate it, who knows. But it dawned on me that I might also love it. Anybody got something that fits the category?