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“Welsh’s novel is as quick and dark as a child’s nightmare. . . . Fictionalizes Marlowe’s last days with novelistic wit and interpretive imagination. . . . Every line of Tamburlaine Must Die is informed by a thorough grasp of not only the day-to-day of Marlowe’s life but also a sympathetic willingness to imagine the in-between. . . . Welsh gives Marlowe a voice, and it sounds like Marlowe. . . . Welsh’s Marlowe lives and dies by storytelling: Her novelist’s impulse to trade fact for fiction and the known for the felt is a perfect fit with the aggrandizing, enigmatic and story-haunted playwright.” Daniel Swift, The Nation
Tamburlaine Must Die
978-1-84195-625-1 • $18.95 • Cloth • Feb. 2005
A thrilling Elizabethan murder mystery starring Christopher Marlowe, a man with seventy-two hours to live, by the author of the sleeper hit The Cutting Room
Louise Welsh’s riveting, provocative debut novel of psychological suspense, The Cutting Room, was a tremendous international success, translated into sixteen languages, and The Guardian selected it as one of the five best debut novels of 2002. The New York Times Book Review called it, simply, a “knockout debut.” Her much anticipated follow-up is now upon us.
It’s 1593 and London is a city on edge. Under threat from plague and war, it’s a desperate place where strangers are unwelcome and severed heads grin from spikes on Tower Bridge.
Playwright, poet, spy, and man of prodigious appetites, Christopher Marlowe is working on his latest literary effort and enjoying the English countryside at his patron’s estate when his idyll is cut short. A messenger from the queen and the nefarious Privy Council summons his immediate return to London. And in the following three days Marlowe confronts dangerous government factions, double agents, necromancy, betrayal, and revenge in his search for the murderous Tamburlaine, a killer who has escaped from between the pages of Marlowe’s most violent play. Tamburlaine is scandalizing London, mocking its leaders and institutions, and fomenting unrest. Marlowe, desperate and perplexed by who could be using his own character as a mouthpiece to destroy him, must confront his creation, or die.
Tamburlaine Must Die is the gripping, seventy-two hour adventure story of a man who dared to defy both God and his queenand discovers that there are worse fates than damnation.