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The Playmaker
J.B. Cheaney
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The Playmaker (Richard Malory #1)

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  99 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
The year is 1597. Elizabeth is queen. Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men are packing London’s Globe Theatre. And the severed heads of Catholic insurgents are impaled on the Tower’s gates. One 14-year-old boy should arouse no one’s interest.

But within a week of his arrival, Richard Malory is robbed, beaten, and threatened at knifepoint. Someone wants him to leave L
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 16th 2009 by Yearling (first published September 12th 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Virginia Bigler
Virginia Bigler rated it really liked it
Nov 01, 2008
Alicia Gordon
It was Just alright.
Sort of a mystery book, where you're guessing identities, etc. there's a twist to the plot
Apr 25, 2010 F rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The intended reader for this novel is supposed to be a young adult, age 12+. However, as an adult reader, I would be surprised if the young-set could effectively follow all the book’s narrative, since I at times struggled to follow the changing interlaced mystery. I was intrigued by the London lifestyles in 1597, particularly the Protestant administration versus Catholic uprisings. I enjoyed the Shakespearean details of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men [i.e., William himself, his brother Edmund, Richa ...more
Chelsey rated it it was amazing
Jun 28, 2010
Jan 22, 2011 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, historical
Richard has just arrived in London to seek his fortune when mysterious things begin to happen. He finds things begin to happen. He finds work as an apprentice actor in Will Shakespeare's company. He struggles to learn his new trade and becomes entangled in a plot to kill Queen Elizabeth, and his missing father may be the mastermind behind it!
A brilliant debut. Set in Shakespeare's London a mystery among the players is a great foil and setting for an intriguing mystery. Super into to Shakespeare and his times.
Yael Tischler
Yael Tischler rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2012
Mar 15, 2012 Alethea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book came to my attention when we did the Shakespeare display, last fall, and I have finally managed to find the time to read it. I’m enormously pleased to have done so—the last few teen books I’ve read were somewhat disappointing, so it was a pleasure to be reminded of what a good one can be. This is a coming-of-age story, a novel, and a love poem to the Elizabethan theatre, home of Richard Burbage and Ben Johnson and Will Shakespeare. Richard Malory, an orphan at 14, comes to the London o ...more
I wish I'd known about this book when I was teaching 9th and 10th grade English! A great introduction to Shakespeare's England/stage, and a good story to boot. This is historical fiction done like I like it: major historical figures (such as Shakespeare) are merely side characters. The story revolves around some completely fictitious young people and the setting is merely Elizabethan England and the stage. Thus, we get a good picture of what life may have been like.

There are lots of details of d
Jun 20, 2012 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book give the reader a good sense of life in Elizabethan England, especially the life of the actors in the Lord Chamberlain's company, while providing a mystery to unravel as you go.
Jul 06, 2012 dameolga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
Oh man! How did I forget about this book. I read this when I was in middle school--maybe sixth or seventh grade. I remember that I really enjoyed and got sucked into the story. As I recall, this book is funny and has action, historical figures (notably Shakespeare), and cross-dressing. One scene especially had me laughing out loud. Now that I think of it, I read this book around the time when I first realized the type of stories I soon grew to love. This book is great; in fact, I distinctly reme ...more
Irene rated it it was amazing
Jul 13, 2012
712 Alexander
712 Alexander rated it did not like it
Oct 07, 2012
Jori Richardson
Jori Richardson rated it it was ok
Nov 28, 2012
Zicelly Pineda
Zicelly Pineda rated it it was amazing
Jan 13, 2013
Coustomer rated it liked it
Apr 26, 2013
Shaleia Schoenheide
Shaleia Schoenheide rated it it was amazing
Sep 06, 2013
Mar 07, 2016 Collin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
I read The True Prince waaaay back in '09 before I realized that I'd missed its predecessor. Which was mostly okay, because I can remember loving TTP anyway, but I've been trying to read this book for nearly seven years just so I have a little bit of closure.

It was good. Decent. Maybe I enjoyed it more than I should have because I was invested in liking it - no one wants a seven-year commitment to be for nothing. Or maybe I just really dig Shakespeare stories and like homage to my main Elizabeth
May 22, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. The historical setting is realistic and well-crafted and the plot is interesting. There's a plucky female character, but because the author stays true to the attitudes of the era, the girl gets shut out a lot, both from the emotional and the physical actions of the story. Still, the characters are complex, despite a bit of black-hatting with the Catholics. There are several subplots running through the story, and they get kind of messy at times as they cross and double back. ...more
Sep 15, 2014 Carol rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lena Baioni
Lena Baioni rated it it was amazing
Dec 26, 2014
Julianne Alcott
I really enjoyed this look at backstage life during Shakespeare's times
Richard Malory makes his way to London after he is turned out by his employer. He gets temporary work on the docks but one day he is approached by a young girl, who persuades him to come and meet her master, and try out for the stage. Soon he finds himself among the Lord Chamberlain's Men, performing at the Rose. Shakespeare is not a central character in this book, but the busy, violent world of Elizabethan England is so well-researched and presented that it is a good choice for those seeking co ...more
I remember reading this book in the fifth or sixth grade, and it was incredible. One of my favorites. So much so that I went on a quest to find it again as an adult, now a full-fledged Elizabethan and Jacobean enthusiast.

It ... does not age as well as I'd hoped.

But major props for making my life as a kid - and that's the age group it's actually geared toward, so all the better for that. Would recommend for middle school nerds like I was.
Katie Patchell
Katie Patchell rated it it was ok
Jan 12, 2016
Alicia rated it liked it
Apr 16, 2016
Tatum Gray
Honestly, I could barely keep my eyes open while reading this. I couldn't engage into the story at all, and I found it hard to continue. I didn't completely finish it, but I was close enough to know it was certainly not the book for me.
Isobel DeVille
This book wasn't bad but I just didn't find it interesting. Though if you like the 1500's and a mystery type book I think you would enjoy this one!
Alexander Hutchison
I thought it was a well written book but I found that there was too many characters to keep track of. Overall it was a well written book
John Gurnsey
John Gurnsey rated it it was ok
Jul 21, 2016
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J. B. Cheaney’s The Playmaker was named one of Booklist’s Top Ten First Novels for Teens. She and her husband live in the Ozarks of Missouri.
More about J.B. Cheaney...

Other Books in the Series

Richard Malory (2 books)
  • The True Prince

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“And that, I guessed, was the aim of the Lord Chamberlain's Men: to serve up rich helpings of life to their audiences, to introduce them to people they would never otherwise meet, to stretch their minds and heart to fill a greater world.” 3 likes
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