Saturday 6 October 2018

#BookReview — Blood and Ink by D. K. Marley #Shakespeare #Marlowe @theRealDKMarley

Blood and Ink
By D. K. Marley

History shows Kit Marlowe died in a tavern brawl in Deptford in 1593, but did he? England is torn apart by religious metamorphosis and espionage. The stages of England and bright intellectual boys are used to bolster Queen Elizabeth I's reign and propagate the rising Protestant faith. At the age of eight, Christopher Marlowe, the muse's darling, is sucked into the labyrinth of secret spy rings, blood, murder, and betrayal, while his own ambition as England's favorite playwright slips further from his grasp.

As Christopher grows to manhood, he sinks further into the darkness, and a chance meeting with an unknown actor from Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare, sets him on a path of destiny; a fate of forced exile and the revelation that the real enemy is not the assassins of Rome, but a man who stared into his eyes and smiled. One he did not expect

“Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more…”
Macbeth — Act V, Scene V.
By William Shakespeare

When a sparrow falls from the sky, God sees, he knows. Christopher Marlowe was born in humble circumstances, but under the brightest of stars. From a tender age, he saw the world differently from how others saw it. His world was one of poetry and prose, sonnets and blank verse, and with his muse, Calliope, whispering in his ear, his future as a playwright was assured. But then on one ordinary and unassuming day at The King’s School in Cambridge, Kit happened upon a man who would take this would-be-playwright into the dark and dangerous world of espionage and murder.

From lofty heights, did Kit’s ambition grow. However, he soon learned a bitter lesson which was that *Hell hath no limits… and where Hell is there must we ever be.

From the banks of the River Stour to the elegant grandeur of Queen Elizabeth’s court, Blood and Ink by D. K. Marley takes us on an unforgettable journey about one man’s hope for immortality.

What can I say about this book? For the pages speak for themselves. It is the story of not one man, but many. As the players fan out upon the stage, Marlowe, and indeed all the principle historical characters from that time, put on a play for your enjoyment.

For fans of Shakespeare, this book poses an age-old question — did Shakespeare, a skilled player, really write 37 plays and 154 sonnets? This story, says no. This story argues so elegantly on the side of Marlowe, and in such a way, that I, a lifelong lover of Shakespeare, found myself at times swept along with the whole argument! With the language of the bards ringing so gracefully in the words that inked the pages, and the atmospheric setting of a book so well drawn that I was oblivious to everything that was going on around me, this story, this book, is the best I have ever read about this era and these people. I cannot commend D. K. Marley enough for this beautiful story. She has brought Marlowe and Shakespeare back to life in this magnificent retelling.

The dialogue is as rich as a Shakespeare sonnet, the darker moments, as terrible as the Massacre of Paris, and the lighter moments as amusing as anything that William wrote. I adored the interpretation of both Marlowe and Shakespeare. So although this is very much Kit’s story, there would not have been a story without William’s running along side it.

This book asks many questions and D. K. Marley has tried to give plausible answers. And although we will never know if Kit really did die in that dreadful fight in a house in Deptford, or if William really did pen the worlds most beloved plays, this story has something for anyone who is interested in these poets and the world in which they lived in.

If you were to read only one book this year, then let it be this one.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

*Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

D.K. Marley

DK Marley is a historical fiction writer specializing in Shakespearean themes. Her grandmother, an English professor, gave her a volume of Shakespeare's plays when she was eleven, inspiring DK to delve further into the rich Elizabethan language. Eleven years ago she began the research leading to the publication of her first novel "Blood and Ink," an epic tale of lost dreams, spurned love, jealousy and deception in Tudor England as the two men, William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe, fight for one name and the famous works now known as the Shakespeare Folio.

She is a true Stratfordian (despite the topic of her novel "Blood and Ink"), a Marlowe fan, a member of the Marlowe Society, the Shakespeare Fellowship and a signer of the Declaration of Intent for the Shakespeare Authorship Debate. Her new series titled "The Fractured Shakespeare Series" will tackle adapting each play into a historical fiction novel. She has traveled to England three times for intensive research and debate workshops and is a graduate of the intense training workshop "The Writer's Retreat Workshop" founded by Gary Provost and hosted by Jason Sitzes and Lorin Oberweger. She is also a blogger for her blog "The Jabberwocky Blog" on Wordpress. She lives in Georgia with her husband and two Scottish Terriers named Maggie and Buster.

Connect with D.K. Marley: Author Website • Facebook • Twitter • Instagram: @theRealDKMarley •Amazon Author Page • Goodreads • Jol's Book Club.


  1. Great review! Questioning the past and what we think we know makes for some interesting reading.

  2. I loved this book, Ms Marley is very clever with the way she has interpreted the history. There are a lot of, "that could so of happened," moments!

  3. I wonder how much of it really did, and was either brushed beneath a rug (so to speak) or was simply forgotten. Fascinating!

  4. This book has now made it onto my Christmas wish list. It sounds fabulous.


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx