Shelf Control #67 – 14/07/2023

It’s the end of the working week, so it can only be time for a Friday feature. This week I’m back with a Shelf Control post. I have the pleasure of featuring a stand-alone historical fiction novel that I’m excited to pick up! I have already read several books by this particular author, all from this best known series which has been televised in recent years.

Before we jump into the details of the book, let’s recap what Shelf Control is all about!

Shelf Control is a regular feature on my blog – a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.


Fools and Mortals – Bernard Cornwell


Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: 19 Oct 2017



Goodreads – Fools and Mortals


Lord, what fools these mortals be . . .

In the heart of Elizabethan England, Richard Shakespeare dreams of a glittering career in one of the London playhouses, a world dominated by his older brother, William. But he is a penniless actor, making ends meet through a combination of a beautiful face, petty theft and a silver tongue. As William’s star rises, Richard’s onetime gratitude is souring and he is sorely tempted to abandon family loyalty.

So when a priceless manuscript goes missing, suspicion falls upon Richard, forcing him onto a perilous path through a bawdy and frequently brutal London. Entangled in a high-stakes game of duplicity and betrayal which threatens not only his career and potential fortune, but also the lives of his fellow players, Richard has to call on all he has now learned from the brightest stages and the darkest alleyways of the city. To avoid the gallows, he must play the part of a lifetime . . . .

Showcasing the superb storytelling skill that has won Bernard Cornwell international renown, Fools and Mortals is a richly portrayed tour de force that brings to life a vivid world of intricate stagecraft, fierce competition, and consuming ambition.


My Thoughts

I’m interested to see what I make of Bernard Cornwell’s writing given that Fools and Mortals is a completely different setting to The Last Kingdom. I’ve come to really enjoy his writing on that series, having read the first 6 books of that series so far.

I’ve featured Fools and Mortals in a First Lines Friday, and I was drawn in by the introduction. I’ll link that post in case you’re interested to see it!

As a former performing arts student, I’m looking forward to seeing whether I like the setting of the stage and theatre. It’s something I’ve enjoyed in other historical fiction books, so I have all my fingers crossed that I’ll like it!

If I go on to enjoy this book as much as I think I will, then I’ll definitely consider reading some other stand-alones by Bernard Cornwell. Some of his other ones were published quite a bit earlier than Fools and Mortals, but that’s okay! He also has a number of other series I could try!

Thanks for reading my Shelf Control post!

Have you read Fools and Mortals, or any other books by Bernard Cornwell?



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