The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe

The Reckoning The Murder of Christopher Marlowe In the brilliant but controversial young playwright Christopher Marlowe was stabbed to death in a Deptford lodging house The circumstances were shady the official account a violent quarrel over

  • Title: The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe
  • Author: Charles Nicholl
  • ISBN: 9780226580241
  • Page: 108
  • Format: Paperback
  • In 1593 the brilliant but controversial young playwright Christopher Marlowe was stabbed to death in a Deptford lodging house The circumstances were shady, the official account a violent quarrel over the bill, or recknynge has been long regarded as dubious.Here, in a tour de force of scholarship and ingenuity, Charles Nicholl penetrates four centuries of obscurity to reIn 1593 the brilliant but controversial young playwright Christopher Marlowe was stabbed to death in a Deptford lodging house The circumstances were shady, the official account a violent quarrel over the bill, or recknynge has been long regarded as dubious.Here, in a tour de force of scholarship and ingenuity, Charles Nicholl penetrates four centuries of obscurity to reveal not only a complex and unsettling story of entrapment and betrayal, chimerical plot and sordid felonies, but also a fascinating vision of the underside of the Elizabethan world Provides the sheer enjoyment of fiction, and might just be true Michael Kenney, Boston Globe Mr Nicholl s glittering reconstruction of Marlowe s murder is only one of the many fascinating aspects of this book Indeed, The Reckoning is equally compelling for its masterly evocation of a vanished world, a world of Elizabethan scholars, poets, con men, alchemists and spies, a world of Machiavellian malice, intrigue and dissent Michiko Kakutani, New York Times The rich substance of the book is his detail, the thick texture of betrayal and evasion which was Marlowe s life Thomas Flanagan, Washington Post Book WorldWinner of the Crime Writer s Gold Dagger Award for Nonfiction Thriller

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    1. Charles Nicholl

      Charles Nicholl Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe book, this is one of the most wanted Charles Nicholl author readers around the world.


    1. According to the coroner's report, Christopher Marlowe was fatally knifed following an argument with friends over a dinner bill. Rumor later augmented this story, making Marlowe's killer a romantic rival and the location of their fracas a bawdy house. In fact, it wasn't a bawdy house but a respectable inn run by a widow of means, and Marlowe's killer was a con man, as proved by surviving legal documents, just as documents of a more clandestine nature prove that one of the witnesses to Marlowe's [...]

    2. Here is a totally misleading phrase:"Provides the sheer enjoyment of fiction, and might just be true."I was totally mislead by this critic's statement, and duped into reading this scholarly tome. No, I am not using the word, "tome" to show off. It's the best word choice, because it describes exactly what this book is: "a book, especially a large, heavy, scholarly one."Other reviewers have said that this book reads like a John le Carre novel. It doesn't. It reads like a scholarly exploration of a [...]

    3. A good attempt at unravelling something which is probably going to be shrouded in mystery for ever. The questions about Marlowe's life and interests make him a fascinating figure in late Elizabethan London; stir in his ambiguous sexuality and the possibility he was a paid agent of the English intelligence service and you have a rich brew for a novel, let alone a history.

    4. What's known is always limited, the present only views a partial past. What Charles Nicholl does with Christopher Marlowe's murder is examine it from every known angle, like a wet weapon found in an empty room, then share his findings: "Posterity prefers poets to spies, but this young man could not be so choosy. He lived on his wits or else went hungry[.]" For fans of Marlowe, espionage, history, and those who wish to consider the workings of government, then and now.

    5. Marlowe is an author I've dedicated a lot of attention to and who has weirdly meant a lot to me since I was fifteen or so, which I can't entirely explain to others. This is a book I've known about for ages. I remember in my first English class at university the professor spoke about this book when filling us in on Marlowe's biography, and I meant to read it then. I meant to read it at so many different times in the intervening years, and this very website repeatedly recommended it as a book alig [...]

    6. The death of Marlowe in 1593 is the start and end point of this dense and detailed investigation as Nicholl attempts to uncover what really happened on that day in Deptford. His archival research is exemplary but I found myself less and less convinced by his theory as the book went on. The 'evidence' is so fragmentary, fraught and fluid that it could be made to tell other stories than the one that Nicholl tells here, and there is nothing that privileges the one he chooses, other than his own con [...]

    7. Nicholl makes a very strong case for his theory of political intrigue as the motivation behind the murder of Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe. Nicholl’s scholarly and convincing arguments notwithstanding, I find in my 2000 edition of The Oxford Guide to English Literature that “Marlowe died in a knife fight in a London tavern.” Old myths die hard.The Elizabethan era was a brutal one. The plague was claiming hundreds of victims annually, the antagonism between Catholics and Protes [...]

    8. As he did in his book on Shakespeare, The Lodger, Nicholl teases out seemingly unconnected pieces of evidence, here concerning the death of Marlowe, and shows a likely relationship between them. Using the same technique that a classical era detective might apply to traces of a crime, but without bringing in a man with a gun, Nicholl makes the reader aware of a lot of Elizabethan history not usually mentioned in the history books, but true nevertheless. The Elizabethan age turns out to have been [...]

    9. This is essential reading for anyone interested in Elizabethan Theater and the enigma that was Christopher Marlowe. It reads like a mystry novel and focuses on the events surrounding his murder. Nicholl introduces all the protagonists and the myriad of theories as to why by whom and how Kit Marlowe was killed. A Wonderful read.

    10. Any account of Christopher Marlowe's untimely death at the age of 29 is fraught with questions. Charles Nicholl presents a highly engaging and intelligent analysis of why Marlowe died and who was ultimately responsible, unhesitatingly labelling it 'murder'.This was one of the first books I read about Marlowe, and I loved it. It inspired a desperate desire to know as much as possible about Marlowe and the dangerous times in which he lived.Coming back to Nicholl's book years later, and I'm a littl [...]

    11. On 30 May 1593, Elizabethan playwright and spy Christopher Marlowe was stabbed to death at the age of 29 under questionable circumstances in a lodging house in Deptford. The official account calls it self-defense after an argument about the bill got out of hand. The truth, however, seems a lot more complicated. With detailed research and plausible argumentation, Christopher Nicholl lays out a case for deliberate murder in connection with Marlowe's secret government work and associations, examini [...]

    12. How wonderful it is to find something so in depth about a man that is not given nearly enough recognition for who he was. This is a brilliant fete of research and investigation and argued in very interesting and unique points. I did find it sad reading about the death of one of my favourite figures in history but the amount I learned from this book was well worth it. Not only does it explore the life of Marlowe but others around him that could have been connected to him. Very interesting.

    13. My rating is 4 star mostly because I had a hard time following all the references. I don’t know a lot about this period so it is my fault I found it hard to grasp. However, I recommend this book to anyone interested in the Elizabethan period. I think the author did an enormous amount of research. Through deduction he has concluded, in my opinion correctly, that Christopher Marlowe was murdered because of his involvement with the politics of the time.

    14. This is not a book for someone to skim through expecting easy answers. It is dense, and contains a great deal of information about the Elizabethan secret state, politics and the histories of the people surrounding Marlowe who may have contributed to his demise. It is intriguing, though, and its central hypothesis plausible. Best digested in moderate sized chunks.

    15. CSI: Marlowe. This book changed my life. After reading it, I confirmed to myself that I wanted to embark on the Renaissance studies program that I continue to enjoy.An utterly addictive read into what happened to Marlowe. For centuries, we all assumed that we would never know the true reasons behind Marlowe's murder, or worse yet, believed the establishment line that he was killed in a barroom brawl over a tab. Then, this book emerged in the early 90s and blew open the investigation. Newly disco [...]

    16. Prompted by the lack of concern shown by most biographers of Marlowe to the circumstances of his violent death, Nicholl sets out in this book to discover what brought about the death of one of the best remembered Elizabethan literary figures.Of the exact cause of his death there is no doubt; the inquest was overseen by the coroner to the royal household. It found that that during a scuffle the blade of a 12 penny dagger entered Marlowe's forehead making a wound two inches deep and one inch wide, [...]

    17. An extensively, well researched book centered around the murder of Kit Marlowe in a lodging house in Deptford. This is one of the great literary mysteries of both England and the world surrounded by shadows and numerous questions - Why, was he murdered? Did it have to happen? Could the man with the gentle soul of a poet really get into a knife fight over a bill? These are the questions that ran through my mind as I opened this book but unfortunately none of them were answered. The book open and [...]

    18. Christopher Marlowe may have been as great as his younger contemporary, William Shakespeare,had he not been murdered at such a young age in 1593. A great playwright before his death, his life was about as complicated as they come. This book begins with his killing in a bar and then goes on to discuss the Elizabethan age with details I had not previously learned.For example, Catholics were as suspect in England as Communists were in 1950's America. If a person were Catholic, his life was at risk. [...]

    19. An amazing book. Nicholl writes brilliantly and he is a clever and obsessive researcher. He shows that Christopher Marlowe was not killed in a drunken tavern brawl but rather at the end of a small day-long meeting in an upscale lodging house. The other men with Marlowe were all, like him, small time government informers, sharps and spies.Nicholl's theory is that Marlowe was murdered as a result of the rivalry between the factions of Essex and Raleigh in the court of Elizabeth. His book brilliant [...]

    20. You just don't find books like this very often that can take a relatively obscure event and create a compelling book-length story out of it. And this one comes complete with an intriguing history lesson. The Reckoning is one of my favorite books. The author, Charles Nicholl, takes the murder of Christopher Marlowe, an ahead-of-his-time Elizabethan playwrite and contemporary of Shakespeare—and spins into the wonderful mystery/murder story that it actually is! Readers are taken on a journey of s [...]

    21. This was read along with 2 other books about Marlow some time ago. The facts,ambient history as described and the tantalizing connects/research of this one were most interesting and all-in-all quite fresh. Old Kid was a Caravaggio type (And somewhat contemporary) with perhaps a bit more classic spy to his record or at least agent provocateur than most realize.but he was the one who wrote "the face that launched 1,000 ships." If you love books that get behind the story to the other story this is [...]

    22. I found this a fascinating book. And during the course of it, came across two other books about Marlowe - I haven't read them yet -Louise Welsh's "Tambourlaine Must Die" and Anthony Burgess' "A dead Man in Deptford". I think they are better read against the backdrop of "The Reckoning." Because this book gives the factual background of what was going on at the time. All of the espionage that led up to the man dying in Deptford and why. A lot of it is supposition, but Nicholl has facts to back up [...]

    23. Nicholl does a fabulous job of reconstructing some of the clues and historical evidence to fashion a fascinating insight into the dark underbelly of the Elizabethan world. His theory of why Marlowe really died is convincing and exhaustively researched, and invokes an era of extreme paranoia, intrigue, espionage and religious bigotry - everyone's out to get each other behind each others' backs, and you might survive if you say you believe in what the majority believes in. However, the book, thoug [...]

    24. A long and scholarly investigation into the underside of the Elizabethan police state, with its informers, provocateurs, traitors, infiltrators and victims: all too often the same people. The thread that binds and motivates the work is the events leading up to the sudden and violent death of one of England's great poet/playwrights in a Deptford boarding house. Was it a pointless brawl over a disputed bill, as the official investigation claims? Or the last desperate move in a conspiracy gone wron [...]

    25. I read this after it was included in a list of nonfiction that reads like fiction. I wouldn't say that. I never really cared about Christopher Marlowe and this book didn't change my mind. I ended up abandoning it after the third or fourth chapter that ended saying something to the effect of ' this line of inquiry is a dead end." If you want a scholarly book on Marlowe's death, this seems like it.

    26. It was a good complement to A Dead Man in Deptford as Anthony Burgess used the findings from this book to craft his fictional tale of Marlowe. This book was confusing because the events and people were confusing - not the author's fault and the main points were accessible. It did take me a WHOLE WEEK to read though (fell asleep quite often) so something lighter would be good and that will be the end of my reading about Marlowe ;-)

    27. A tour de force of literary research, beautifully structured around the day that Christopher Marlowe was murdered in a house in Deptford, possibly (or possibly not) in a fight over the bill for entertainment (the reckoning). Nicholl takes this as a jumping off point for an exploration of the evidence for Marlowe as a spy. The book has a great sense of atmosphere, and is a wonderfully vivid account of the shady side of Elizabethan politics. Highly recommended.

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