Shakespeare’s Rebel


Click HERE to read the tale of this extraordinary evening!

Breaking News! Here’s the first National Press review, in the UK’s Daily Express:

Particularly like (‘cos I’m a Bard nut!):

“Especially powerful is the portrayal of Shakespeare as a real man, one who can bewitch the masses with his Hamlet yet cannot contain his sorrow for his own dead son.

Here’s the cover :

Now available in the UK in March 2013,  Canada June 2013 and the US… to be determined! But it has just been bought by my great publishers, Sourcebooks.

And the tale? Its only about William Shakespeare’s Fight Choreographer!

And another review: from the estimable Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novels Society on ‘Goodreads’:

“This is a spectacularly good historical novel. Lewd, debauched and pungent on the one hand, but genuinely romantic, honourable and deeply felt on the other.”

London 1599, a city on the brink of revolution…

He is Queen Elizabeth’s last, perhaps her greatest, love – Robert Deveraux, Earl of Essex. Champion jouster, dashing general…and the man that John Lawley, England’s finest swordsman, most wishes to avoid. For John knows the other earl – the reckless melancholic – and has had to risk his life for him in battle one time too many.

All John wants is to be left alone to win back the heart of the woman he loves, be the kind of father that his son can look up to, and arrange the fight scenes for the magnificent new theatre, the Globe. To realise these dreams, John must dodge both Essex and his ruthless adversary for the queen’s affections, Robert Cecil, and remain free to help his oldest friend Will Shakespeare finish the play that threatens to destroy him: THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET.

But John is doomed by his three devils: whisky, women and Mad Robbie Deveraux. Despite every effort to evade the clutches of Elizabeth and her cohorts, John is soon enmeshed in the intrigues of court and dragged into the seemingly hopeless war in Ireland, forced to play his part in a deadly game of power and politics, conspiracy and rebellion.

From the scaffold of the Globe to the one in the Tower. From ambush in Ireland to even greater menace in Whitehall, John Lawley must strive to be – or not to be – the man who might just save England.

To preorder:

20 Responses to Shakespeare’s Rebel

  1. Dave Swift (@claiomh_ireland) says:

    Sounds good. Is an audio version likely at all?

  2. says:

    In all you book stores, that have your new novel, you omitted Goldsboro, my favourite and where I just purchased your newest novel.

  3. Rosemary Maher says:

    I have just finished Shakespears Rebel and I feel as though I have experienced Elizabethen
    London in 3D!
    As a Shakespeare fiend and and as someone who earned their living performing his works, not
    to mention being being a Tudor history buff I cannot praise this novel too highly!
    Not only is the storyline enthralling but the attention to so much detail of so many aspects of the
    period left me full of admiration for his skill in weaving together known historical facts and producing such a ripping yarn.
    I didn’t want it to finish!
    I shall now seek out C.C. Humphries other books as I feel I have found an author I want to read
    again and again.

    • C. C. Humphreys says:

      Rosemary, thanks so much for this. I wonder if you’d consider putting it up on Amazon and/or Goodreads as a review? It thrills me when someone who knows her stuff obviously just gets the book. Always makes my morning!

      • Rosemary Maher says:

        Hi Chris happy to !
        I don’t have an account with Amazon so they would not accept it
        However my husband does so look under Sprocket and you should see the review.
        He couldn’t resist tidying up my grammer and spelling!
        He is a writer too.
        Cheers Rosemary

  4. Glenn Krochmal says:

    Well said Rosemary!

  5. Glenn Krochmal says:

    I do have an amazon account and will post on it today!!!

  6. Pamela says:

    Just finished this wonderful book, which charted the often exasperating choices of its hero through the world of Elizabethan London. I loved the descriptions of Bankside, I used to spend many an hour wandering those streets when I was a volunteer at the old globe Museum, and watched the first timber been driven n for the 20th century Globe. The story compelled me onto finish it in just a couple of days and despite the several hints I was left surprised and warmed by the conclusion.

  7. Darlene says:

    Hi Chris, Wanted to say the Shakespeare’s Rebel book launch was easily the best launch I have ever attended. I loved watching your expressions as you listened to others say their lines and read your book aloud. Your enthusiasm for all things Bard is awesome and you’re a pretty good swordsman too. 2 things I learned: Most people would last about 15 seconds in a sword fight; and story time at your house must be amazing. Shakespeare’s Rebel is a staff pick at Book Warehouse. Hope we can help you sell a lot of copies.

    • C. C. Humphreys says:

      Oh, thanks so much, Darlene. As you saw I so enjoyed it and was very moved by the reaction. My kind of night! Hope you sell shed loads!

  8. Colleen says:

    “Absolutely” loved it. Huge fan; the era, the adventure, the humour. Have not read the Absolute series, but after this novel, I certainly will!! Have read and relished the French Executioner series (highly recommend reading those as well either before or after Shakespeare’s Rebel) and Vlad. Thanks for keeping this east coast Canadian entertained!!

  9. Pingback: Words = Energy Squared: Hearing my play | AUTHOR. ACTOR. SWORDSMAN.

  10. Penny Handford says:

    Hi Chris
    I really enjoyed your talk/performance at Bard on the Beach. Thank you.
    I read Shakespeare’s Rebel before seeing the play and enjoyed both.
    Please excuse me if you feel the following comments are presumptuous. I liked the play as a historical drama and have encouraged others to see it. However, I felt that the play would have benefited if we, the audience, had been able to better understand what “drives” John Lawley. There is a scene in the book between Robert Cecil and John Lawley which, while painful to read, explains the deep shame which causes John to act as he does. This revelation was not in the play and I felt that John’s character needed us to have this information so we could have a deeper understanding of what drives his behaviour and so could have more empathy and compassion for him. I think that this would add a lot to the play. Thanks for reading my thoughts. (If you think my comments are a load of old rubbish – so be it!)
    I don’t usually write to authors but somehow I felt strongly about this – a tribute to how well you wrote the book!
    I have not read any of your other books but intend to do so after reading Shakespeare’s Rebel.
    Take care

    • C. C. Humphreys says:

      Penny, thanks so much for taking the trouble to write these very valid comments and concerns. I think you make a very good point about John’s character. Alas, the necessity of the stage requires a lot of changes, cuts. Also, I feel a different take on production and character might have given you the feeling for John you require. Beyond my control, I’m afraid. Maybe next time! But I certainly take your comments on board.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi Mr. Humphreys,
    I am a student from Washington and Lee University in Virginia. I have just finished Shakespeare’s Rebel and thoroughly enjoyed it! It is such a fun read, and quite informative! You’ve created some wonderfully complicated and lovable characters, and enough action to capture the attention of any modern reader! I am currently working on an Essex Timeline, which has compiled entries of books, images, poetry, etc. that have mentioned Essex after his death, providing information and analysis. I am writing the entry for Shakespeare’s Rebel, and hoped to ask you a few questions!
    You mention in your author’s note that a lot of your inspiration came from the play Hamlet. Which of the characters did you intend to be the most Hamlet-like?
    I was also wondering–where did your interest in Essex come from?
    Lastly, I noticed that John Lawley changes his last name to Absolute at the conclusion of the novel, and you have another series entitled Jack Absolute. Is there any relation?
    Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thank you for writing such fascinating works!

    • C. C. Humphreys says:

      Hello Anonymous! (I’d prefer to know your name, of course)
      So glad you enjoyed the book. It is one that is close to my actor’s heart.
      Interesting that you are doing an Essex timeline. Why? An assignment?
      I really think that when writing Hamlet, WS was, as ever, influenced by current events and personalities. And Essex was one of the largest of those. I think there were aspects of Hamlet about him – the indecision for one, the failure to act when he needed to. I also gave him Hamlet’s wonderfully accepting line: ‘Let Be.’ Made up of course, but dramatically it worked for me, to have Essex have some sort of realization at the end of his life. Though Essex is not close to the intellect that WS makes the Dane. But I gave some Hamlet aspects to other characters too. The novel is all about fathers and sons, as Hamlet is to, of course.
      Fascinating, tragic character, Essex. Hubris writ large, Very Shakespearian, hence my interest.
      Yes indeed I am trying to tie all my novels together through characters. John Lawley is the grandson of Jean Rombaud – The French Executioner, my first novel. He is also the great great great grandfather of Jack Absolute.
      Hope this helps, all the best,
      CC (Chris)

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi Chris!
        Thank you for the reply, the Hamlet angle fits the story well!
        I am actually doing summer research with a professor here, and am contributing to his Essex project. I love literature, so it has been such a fun way to spend my summer.
        This has definitely been helpful. I hope you don’t mind if I ask you one more question: What inspired your take on the ring story? It’s seems there are two threads, one with the handkerchief and the other an actual ring.
        Thanks again!

      • C. C. Humphreys says:

        I really shouldn’t reply, since you are still Anonymous!
        I tried to include some myths around the subject too, give them a basis of fact. (I do a lot of that in my book about the Real Dracula – ‘Vlad’). The ring seemed plausible to me, enough to build on the love I created between Essex and Elizabeth. The handkerchief was a useful extra device.
        Do send me a link if the Essex project goes online. Sounds interesting.
        All best

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