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Elizabethan Theater Books In Order

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Publication Order of Elizabethan Theater Books

The Queen's Head (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Merry Devils (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Trip to Jerusalem (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Nine Giants (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mad Courtesan (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Silent Woman (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Roaring Boy (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Laughing Hangman (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Fair Maid of Bohemia (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wanton Angel (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Devil's Apprentice (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Bawdy Basket (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Vagabond Clown (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Counterfeit Crank (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Malevolent Comedy (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Princess of Denmark (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon

The British writer Keith Miles is well known for writing both mystery and historical fiction, as well as writing for the TV and radio. Working as a scriptwriter prior to turning to novels, he had a great grasp of structure and form, something which he continues to display throughout his career. Writing under a collection of pseudonyms throughout his career too, he is known under many different pen-names, including that of Edward Marston, for which he is perhaps best known. One such series that he has become particularly famous for under this name is that of his ‘Elizabethan Theater’ series of novels. This particular series follows Nicholas Bracewell as its leading protagonist, as he lives and works in 16th century for ‘Lord Westfield’s Men’ theatrical theater company. Working as a book-holder there, he also falls into operating as an amateur sleuth after bodies start to turn up and it’s time for justice to be served.

With over sixteen books in the entire series so far, it is perhaps one of Keith Miles’ longest running and most successful series to date. Starting out in 1988 with the title ‘The Queen’s Head’, it ran all the way up till 2006 with the book ‘The Princess of Denmark’. This series would prove to be one of his most popular and enduring series to date, proving him to be one of the foremost figures currently writing within his field.

The Queen’s Head

First released through the ‘Poisoned Pen Press’ publishing label, this was the title that initially set the entire ‘Elizabethan Theater’ series up. Originally published in 1988, it would mark the arrival of an exciting new franchise and style of storytelling, bringing in the bawdy epic. With more titles to come in the future, it would prove to be a great success on its initial publication, cementing it as a mainstay for many years to come.

Knowing its era and subject matter well, this first title essentially works at bringing the central themes and ideas to the forefront. With clear ideas of the mystery genre too, it manages to reflect the era well through the main characters and the mysteries. It’s obvious that Miles has done his research, as the locations and the people seem really real and alive throughout. Regardless of this extensive research, he hasn’t allowed character to suffer and fall at the wayside either, as each of them come to life throughout. This is especially true of Nicholas Bracewell, as he manages to draw the reader in with his witty and fun take on life. Juxtaposing this up against the turmoil of the time, it really works at bringing him to life and seeing how he copes against all odds. London itself really comes alive too, as it seems that Miles has really done his research into the era and the time, whilst paying great attention to detail. Becoming a character in of its own right essentially, the narrative manages to use the city of London to maximum effect too. In regards to ‘The Queen’s Head’ itself, it really feels like an establishment of the time and one that definitely would’ve existed back then.

Set in 1588 it seems that there’s terror in the air as, following the previous year when Mary Queen of Scots was sent to the guillotine, the Spanish Armada are now afoot. This means that the various inns of London, such as the ‘The Queen’s Head’, are in turmoil, especially after one of the actor’s performing there is killed in suspicious brawl one night. Stepping onto the scene is none other than Nicholas Bracewell, the book-holder of the company known as ‘Lord Westfield’s Men’, as he seeks to uncover the truth. Will he find it? Can he discover the real killer? What really happened in The Queen’s Head?

The Merry Devils

Originally published in 1989 just one year after the first, this was all set to follow on directly from the original novel. Continuing the story, it manages to take the action forwards, as it was also brought out through the ‘Poisoned Pen Press’ publishing label to much acclaim. It would also further develop the character of Bracewell himself, along with the historical period that it’s set within.

With the main themes and ideas having already been set-up in the previous novel, this works at building upon them even further. Further exploring the world, it takes a look at life in theater back then that isn’t usually explored in such great detail. The character themselves are also extremely well rounded, as they essentially reflect many of the core attitudes back then. Once again Nicholas Bracewell returns as well, bringing with him his head for the smaller details and his ability in always getting to the bottom of a case. An astute individual, he’s able to separate the facts from the fiction and find the truth behind what’s really going on. Respected by many, this allows him to find out what he needs, whilst turmoil surrounds him from all angles and directions. London and ‘The Queen’s Head’ come to the forefront once again too, as they provide the stage essentially for what is to follow.

After defeating a treacherous plot against none other than Queen Elizabeth herself, Nicholas Bracewell is all set to bring comedy and laughter to the The Queen’s Head. With a new play titled ‘The Merry Devils’ they’re all set for a grand success, that is until a seemingly real trio of devils are conjured up during the performance. Following this an imp is found dead beneath the stage, leading to another mystery for Bracewell to solve if he wants to keep the show going. Where did these devils come from? Who murdered the imp? Can they make a success of ‘The Merry Devils’?

The Elizabethan Theater Series

As a historical series of novels, these are great for not just fans of the genre, but also for anyone simply looking to pick-up a casual read. With an in-depth mystery each title, they work as intelligent self-contained stories, whilst also relating to the overall arc. Gaining more and more readers ever day, this is a series that isn’t going away anytime soon, as its legacy grows from strength-to-strength.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Elizabethan Theater

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