C.C. Humphreys: Shakespeare’s Rebel (Review)

Author Bio

David Cooper Photography 2007

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys is an actor, playwright, fight choreographer and novelist.  He has written nine historical fiction novels including The French Executioner, runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers; Vlad – The Last Confession,  the epic novel of the real Dracula; and A Place Called Armageddon. His latest YA novel is The Hunt of the Unicorn. His work has been translated into thirteen languages. Find out more about him on his Website

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Title: Shakespeare’s Rebel

Author: C.C. Humphreys

ISBN: 9781492609902

Pubdate: October 6, 2015


Shakespeare's Rebel cover

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To be (or not to be) the man to save England

England’s finest swordsman and fight choreographer at the magnificent new Globe Theatre has hit rock bottom. John Lawley just wants to win back his beloved, become a decent father to his son, and help his friend William Shakespeare finish The Tragedy of Hamlet, the play that threatens to destroy him.

But all is not fair in love and war. Dogged by his three devils—whiskey, women, and Mad Robbie Deveraux—John is dragged by Queen Elizabeth herself into a dangerous game of politics, conspiracy, and rebellion. Will the hapless swordsman figure out how to save England before it’s too late?

Brimming with vivid periodic detail, Shakespearean drama, and irresistible wit, Shakespeare’s Rebel is a thrilling romp through the romantic, revolutionary times of Elizabethan England that will delight historical fiction fans and Shakespeare enthusiasts alike.


“Buffoon!” John bellowed. “Whoreson dog! Do you think I have time to play with fools and children? I am going to pluck out your liver and eat it raw before your fading eyes.” Accompanying this with a great swish down through the air with his cutting edge, he leaped forward, seeming to cover a lot of ground while only taking a pace, then bringing his back edge fast up, steel whistling through the air. Next, he put himself into guard—­but not in a quiet way, for as he yelled again, he took the step back he needed for room, at the same time sweeping his sword up in a great stroke against the edge of his buckler, making the small shield clang. At shout and strike, the men before him again slowed, so once more he brought his sword hard down from the height, ringing metal on metal again, taking another step back. Then, with a final retire and his guard low, he jerked the sword tip hard up in an unmistakable severing of man’s most precious part. All winced as he then aligned his sword’s tip with his buckler, thrusting both forward, peering over the twin steel even as he stepped back once more.

It was a true swashbuckle. He had executed it well, perhaps lessening the memory of his previous slide to the cobbles. A cheer came from the crowd, drowning Silver’s “Oh, sir!” at this breach of English restraint. Yet both men knew also that the noise had caused a distraction. Both used it now.

John heard that swish of steel beside him, a first yelp of pain, the last things he heard. It was ever thus with him in a fight, the near silent place he went to, entering it even as he launched himself. Thought and action, one.

The main threat was in the middle, so he avoided it directly, slamming the blades on his right with both his own weapons, collecting his foe’s with a slight circle of his own sword, before knocking aside the first thrust at his side with a downward sweep of his buckler. The boy who’d delivered it recovered with a step back, taking guard again, giving John the moment to close right, keeping the rapier and dagger he’d gathered with his sword while sweeping his elbow up, driving it into the apprentice’s cheek.

His weight was behind the blow. The youth went down, falling into the butcher’s boy, blocking another advance—­which gave John the second moment he needed. As the apprentice on the other side lunged at his face, from the crouch where his elbow strike had taken him John swept his blade across and hard, knocking the weapon away, exposing the man’s face to the buckler, driven in like a fist, a metaled fist, straight to the nose. The youth cartwheeled backward, dropping both his blades as he went, and smashed into the

eel cart.

“Oy!” the stallholder screamed, steadying his stall, though not enough to prevent some of his produce from flopping onto the cobbles.


When i get to the end of a book im always eager to sit and write the review, to express my opinion and feelings of the work i have just finished. I think this is probably the first time i have been intimidated by the process, worried that i didnt have the right words or the eloquence to do justice to the book.

Yes the book is simply that good.

I have read many stories where the authors love of the subject is clear in the telling of the story. But this time its more than that its a passion for the tale, for the time, for the people and for the subject. This passion leaps from every word, every utterance of every character the very bones and soul of the story.

The synopsis will tell you enough about the plot im certainly not going to spoil a single line of it for you.  What my utmost desire is by writing this, is that you go and buy a copy.  Because this story has it all; a love story, a family story, History, mystery and intrigue, passion, sex, plots, fighting, infighting, backstabbing…the list could go on and on. Its is the complete package.

A book this good comes along only rarely and deserves to hit the bestseller list.

Highest possible recommendation:



French Executioner
1. The French Executioner (2002)
2. Blood Ties (2002)
The French ExecutionerBlood Ties
Jack Absolute
1. Jack Absolute: The 007 of the 1770s (2003)
2. The Blooding of Jack Absolute (2004)
3. Absolute Honour (2006)
Jack Absolute: The 007 of the 1770sThe Blooding of Jack AbsoluteAbsolute Honour
Vlad: The Last Confession (2008)
The Hunt of the Unicorn (2011)
A Place Called Armageddon (2011)
Shakespeare’s Rebel (2013)
Plague (2014)
The Curse of Anne Boleyn (2015)
Fire (2015)
Vlad: The Last ConfessionThe Hunt of the UnicornA Place Called ArmageddonShakespeare's RebelPlague

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Filed under C C Humphreys, Historical Fiction

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