Deptford calling

19 01 2012

Tamburlaine Must Die by Louise Welsh

It is 1593 and London is a city on edge. Under threat from plague and war, strangers are unwelcome and severed heads grin from spikes on Tower Bridge. Playwright, poet and spy, Christopher Marlowe has three days to live. Three days in which to find the murderous Tamburlaine, a killer who has ascaped from between the pages of his most violent play…Tamburlaine Must Die is a swashbuckling adventure story of a man who dares to defy both God and state – and discovers that there are worse fates than damnation.

A really entertaining Elizabethan thriller which is brief, sparse and yet remarkably intense. Welsh is an excellent writer and this is an extremely powerful novella. To describe it as ‘swashbuckling’ is a tad misleading though.

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