MG Scarsbrook, $2.99
Historical Mystery, 2010
The Marlowe Conspiracy is a historical mystery romp in which Christopher Marlowe is turned into an intrepid investigator, spy, and, of course, playwright hero. Playing his accomplice is another playwright, William Shakespeare. This story is the author’s take on the events that made the last few weeks of Kit’s life a pretty eventful one, with creative liberties taken when it comes to the conspiracies and political intrigues.
From the first few pages alone, I glean a fatal flaw in author MG Scarsbrook’s masterplan: Kit is never as good as the author makes him out to be. When the average person on the street, distraught with overwrought emotions, can still penetrate Kit’s disguise, that’s when I can only question how good a spy our hero must be. He’s supposed to be an actor, no? Kit in this story comes off as far less brilliant than he is built up to be. The author has Kit being somewhat of a political idealist, conflicted by the troubles in England in the 16th century, but who remains loyal to the Queen nonetheless. Alas, the impression I am left with is that Kit doesn’t have the brainpower or the organization skills needed to change the world for the better. Okay, I’d be blunt: he comes off as rather dim.
And since he’s the main character in this story, it’s hard for me to really sink my teeth into this story. I’m too busy cringing at some of Kit’s stunts because while his heart is in the right place, that fellow comes off as being out of his depths pretty often. Then again, perhaps there is some method behind the author’s madness. If Kit is smarter, he’d have lived longer, no?
The Marlowe Conspiracy has plenty of action and intrigue. The limited brainpower of his aside, Kit comes off as someone with the acrobatic vigor appropriate for his role in this story. It’s really too bad that at the end of the day Kit isn’t a better-written character, because his inability to carry the story really bogs this one down.