Benet Brandreth calls himself a rhetoric coach and an authority on Shakespeare. He works regularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company and others on Shakespeare’s use of language. Which makes him a perfect choice to write about Shakespeare, but did he succeed?
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Unfortunately, Brandreth decided to let the narrative get in the way of the action. It takes an overly long time before Shakespeare does some actual spying. When the story finally moves on to Venice there's not much of a mystery left, because Brandreth has been telling us in considerable detail what the various plotters had in mind.
So, what do I think of 'The Spy of Venice'? While reading, I felt a bit like a child being led on by a parent. I had hoped that this novel would be something like a spy story by John le Carré but set in Elizabethan times. Not so. The style of writing was longwinded and I really disliked the way William Shakespeare was portrayed by Benet Brandreth.
Still, the novel is the first in a trilogy. Maybe by the next installment we can expect a (better) plot.