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The Shakespeare Stealer (Shakespeare Stealer, #1)
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The Shakespeare Stealer (The Shakespeare Stealer #1)

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  4,151 ratings  ·  356 reviews
Widge is an orphan with a rare talent for shorthand. His fearsome master has just one demand: steal Shakespeare's play "Hamlet"--or else. Widge has no choice but to follow orders, so he works his way into the heart of the Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare's players perform. As full of twists and turns as a London alleyway, this entertaining novel is rich in period details, ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 1st 2000 by Puffin Books (first published May 1st 1998)
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King of Shadows by Susan CooperSaving Juliet by Suzanne SelforsOphelia by Lisa M. KleinShakespeare's Spy by Gary L. BlackwoodThe Shakespeare Stealer by Gary L. Blackwood
Children & YA Shakespearean Novels
4th out of 29 books — 28 voters
The Westing Game by Ellen RaskinA Single Shard by Linda Sue ParkThe Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary SutcliffThe Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGrawThe Second Mrs. Gioconda by E.L. Konigsburg
6th Grade Read Alouds
7th out of 14 books — 16 voters

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Community Reviews

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I really hated this book in the being but in the end i came to like it. The book involves a lot of sword fighting, weird, HUH? The book really comes to show that everybody is not who you thought they were. Sometimes people hide their identity for goo reasons and sometimes for bad reasons. This book really comes to show that loyalty is important and you need to be careful who you trust, because you never know who is hiding their identity!! I would definitely recommend this book, It is a quick and ...more
I personally did not like this book. I thought it was really slow and boring and didn't get interesting till the end. To really understand the book you have to know the language. There is a lot of older language that some people might not understand. The book is kind of confusing at some points and really strange at other points. I would recommended this book to anyone that likes Shakespeare or likes kind of mysterious books. This is also a quick and easy book so if you needed an extra historica ...more
Kristen McDermott
This young adult novel follows the adventures of an Elizabethan orphan named Widge, who is sold into service to an unscrupulous theater director. Widge knows the new art of shorthand, and he is ordered to attend a performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Globe Theatre, copy down the text of the play, and return it to his master, who will mount an unauthorized production. But Widge is discovered by the players, who take him in as an apprentice.
Blackwood has done his theater-history homework, an
( ●—● ) Evelynn
This book was different than my usual literature.

Yes, it is historical fiction. Yes, it has a bit of mystery in it. Yes, both are genres that I avidly read. But these two genres in this particular book was different.

And I think it was because of the theater aspect.

I don't usually read about the theater. And I didn't know much about Shakespeare, the theater, or the process of being a prentice or an actor back in the 16th century before I read this book. I did know that women weren't allowed to pe
The other John
Despite it's klugy beginning, this one's a pretty good book. The premise is that there's this orphan lad, Widge, who's apprenticed to this odd doctor who had developed a form of shorthand. Widge is the guinea pig in this project and indeed is the only one who knows how to write in this unique script. Another man, one Simon Bass, reads about the good doctor's method and arranges to buy out Widge's apprenticeship. You see, Mr. Bass owns a company of players and he's looking for some good material ...more
Stella  ☢FAYZ☢ Chen
Had to read this in grade 6. Two words: Le creys.
Robert Moushon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sydney Markson
I felt that the Shakespeare Stealer was not a good book because I usually did not understand what was happening in the scenes. This is a book about a boy who is taken to a new master who gives him the task of stealing the play Hamlet from Shakespeare himself, but the boy gets caught doing so and has to pretend to have been an interested actor wanting to become an actor(So he would not get hit). Over the coarse of the book he finds himself falling in love with acting and wants to be apart of the ...more
Carolyn Shields
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I thought this book was awful. I had to read it for our reading groups in L.A. The most eventful thing in the book in my opinion is when Widge found out the Julian was actually a girl. The beginning of the book was boring, but by the middle it got better, but the ending went right back down hill again. I would not suggest reading this book.
Jennifer Siddiqui
This book is written for middle grade children,but can be confusing due to its old style language. I found the book interesting and learned some things I did not know about Shakespeare.
Bᴏᴏᴋ ● Oᴡʟᴇᴛ
May 03, 2015 Bᴏᴏᴋ ● Oᴡʟᴇᴛ rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers who enjoy mystery and historical fiction
Recommended to Bᴏᴏᴋ ● Oᴡʟᴇᴛ by: School
Good book. It was interesting and a very quick read. 57% as a rating.
I by no means loved it, but it was fine. Better than I thought it would be anyways... :)
Had to read it for school (yep, I don't usually read books about Shakespeare).

Setting: London, Late 1500s to Early 1600s - the Globe Theatre

Interesting plot actually and I enjoyed how the Shakespearian English world was introduced.

My favorite part of the book? ((see below only if you already read the book (hence the 'view spoiler')))
(view sp
The book follows Widge, a young orphan who is spectacular at writing. He is bought by several masters. The first teaches him a way to write super quick, so that Widge may copy down quickly as the master dictates. Widge is then bought by a master named Simon Bass, who wants to put Widge's skills to good use. Simon wants Widge to attend Hamlet and copy down the play, word-for-word, so that Simon's company (a group that performs plays) may perform it themselves and earn money. However, Widge's plan ...more
Young Widge, an orphan, has never had an easy life, first being placed in an orphanage and then as an apprentice to Dr. Bright. At the orphanage he learns how to care for and defend himself. From Dr. Bright, a clergyman and healer of sorts, he learns how to write a form of shorthand, which he uses to steal sermons from other ministers for the lazy doctor. This skill makes him valuable enough to be sold to a new master, a theatrical manager, who orders him to attend a performance of Shakespeare's ...more
probably one of the best well-written books I've ever read. The beginning was terrible and kind of clunky but it got better as it went on. I was a bit frustrated with the main character, Widge. He was very...slow and unintelligent to the point it was irratating. But I loved how his character developed and how he learned of the oddity of friendship and love that was so unfamiliar to him. I don't know why but the story touched me in a strange way. It was comforting to find that even he could learn ...more
The Shakespeare Stealer is interesting in that it is from the perspective of a young boy. Granted it is a young adult book so it kind of stands to reason but the from what I've read the characters portrayed (at least some of them) are real or based on real people and all the plays mentioned are real. That is fascinating. It adds a realism to an otherwise fiction tale. It also gives it some life.

Widge (the main character) is a young boy that starts out as an orphan who is essentially bought to b
Rated PG.

Did you ever wonder whether people plagiarized Shakespeare's work? After all, he was the Bard!

Travel back in time to a crueler and more dangerous world in which young boys, particularly orphan boys, could be sold as apprentices to unethical masters without payment or protection. Meet Widge, one such boy, who is purchased by men who teach him how to write in shorthand and steal others' work--and then sic him on Shakespeare.

When Widge gets to London, though, he finds himself in a quand
I just finished The Shakespeare Stealer. This is a fast moving historical book by Gary Blackwood. It is about an orphan that ends up becoming an actor. He does not have the ability to read or to write, but he does have to follow orders. Shakespeare has a part in the Globe Theater but has to play a part of his own life.

I really liked this book because it was a mystery if Shakespeare would get the part of Hamlet that he wanted. There was a lot of things that I didn’t expect while I was reading.
Jorge Macias
This is a great book if you know Shakespeare and like his plays.This takes place in 1587 when Shakespeare wrote his play "Hamlet". I like the fact that they use the historical language they used back when Shakespeare was around but could be rather difficult to understand.The conflict was good as it was self vs. self.In this case a boy gets raised by a mean man that wants to steal Shakespeare's script but is offered to be in the play by Shakespeare himself and has to decide to join Shakespeare or ...more
I enjoyed the twists and turns in this book. Each chapter ended with a cliff-hanger. It was a good book to read aloud as a bed time story for my daughter.
Dayna Smith
The first book in The Shakespeare Stealer series. Widge is an orphan, he is given as an apprentice to a country doctor who creates his own unique "secret script". One night he is bought by a frightening cloaked man and ordered to make a copy of Shakespeare's Hamlet for a rival theater company. When his copy is stolen, Widge becomes a part of the Globe players and is ordered to steal the play. As Widge gets to know the Shakespearean players, he discovers what it means to have a family. Will he st ...more
Hudson Galdamez
This is perhaps my favorite children's book ever. I remember reading it in the 7th grade (i think), and being just blown away in the end.
The novel has just so many superb scenes, i remember being surprised by many of the twists. then with the wonderful character development i learned to love each person in the book. A book full of wonderful events.
There is one thing i can think of that i disliked about this book, however it would seem perhaps odd to some.
Ultimately i strongly recommend this
Allison C
This book was interesting in some parts, but in other parts, I felt that it was repetitive and almost as if the author was running out of things to say. Sometimes, I found myself almost wanting to put the book down and get another book. I think if there was some more humor, the book would have been more interesting and I would have enjoyed it more. Overall, I liked the plot and mostly, how events were organized in the book. I might recommend this to someone who wants to read a more interesting h ...more
Widge is a character that really gets you rooting for the underdog. Versed in a special shorthand and sent to steal a script from Shakespeare's Globe company, Widge finds himself between the rock of duty and mission and the hardplace of having a choice in his future for the first time in his life. With lively characters and unexpected twists, this story was a quick but fun read. The writing was very clever, with lots of wordplay that even adults will enjoy, and a lighthearded touch with sneaky j ...more
Laura Verret
A historical novel set at the Golden Theatre during Shakespeare’s reign there!

The Story.

I’ve never had a proper name – never known me mum or dad, neither. The only name I’ve had in this life was called me at the orphanage – Widge. It’s the name I’ve been known by for all me fourteen years, and it tells a truthsome tale – that there are none who know and love me.

Dr. Bright took me in when I was a puny lad of seven. He seemed favorably disposed towards me and even taught me to read and write a spe
This book was selected for the June read for our girls' local library book club. They really did not like the book and did not even finish it. For that reason and just because I procrastinated, I've just now gotten around to reading it myself two months later.

Despite the poor reviews our girls gave the book, I was rather impressed by the tale. I liked the descriptions of life during that period in history and the plot was sufficiently engaging. It reminded me of a middle grade version of Sharon
Even though this novel had promise I can't bring myself to give it more stars, I want to, but there were too many gaps and the author didn't have very good writing. The plot was interesting- being set in Shakespeare's time and that's mostly why I liked this book. The characters made it exciting and that's how the author got through, not because of good writing or description. The main character, even though, made the story line move along and was a very well developed character, the author didn' ...more
Book Concierge
This is a very nice young adult read about honesty and trust, loyalty and friendship, family and home. Widge is plucked from the orphanage at age seven and apprenticed to Dr Bright – a parson and apothecary. His life there is better than at the orphanage, but mostly that of a servant/apprentice. Still, he learns to read and write in English and Latin, and learns basic medicine. He is also taught a form of “charactery” (i.e. stenography) that Dr Bright has invented, and with that skill Widge is s ...more
Abigail Geesey
The characters were really interesting and I loved how the author gave a sort of family atmosphere on the story. The story had some cool surprises like Julian actually being a girl and Nick. I don't know why but I thought Nick would be the typical Tsundere character. I just used an anime term but its the best descriptor for the type of character. A Tsundere character is one that is hard on the outside and kind on the inside. Nick was surprisingly enough not that character, he was just mean
Widge is delighted when Dr. Bright takes him away from the orphanage in Yorkshire at age seven to be his apprentice. Vain, melancholy and unaffectionate Dr. Bright educates Widge to read and write in English, Latin, and a kind of shorthand of Dr. Bright’s invention called “charactery,” and then sells his apprenticeship to a brooding, gruff, mysterious, silent, and deadly stranger when Widge is fourteen. Eventually Widge comes to know him as Falconer. Without hesitation Falconer marches Widge off ...more
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He grew up in rural Cochranton, Western Pennsylvania. He attended school in a one room schoolhouse. He graduated with a B.A. in English from Grove City College in Pennsylvania. While a college student, Blackwood published his first short story, Cliffs of Gold, in Twelve/ Fifteen magazine. Blackwood's first book was The Lion and the Unicorn, which he published when he was nineteen. Blackwood sets h ...more
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Other Books in the Series

The Shakespeare Stealer (3 books)
  • Shakespeare's Scribe (Shakespeare Stealer, #2)
  • Shakespeare's Spy (Shakespeare Stealer, #3)

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“This business of friendship was a curious thing, almost as difficult to learn as the busuness of acting. Sometimes you were expected to tell the truth, to express your thoughts and your feelings, and then other times what was wanted was a lie, a bit of disguise.” 13 likes
“Besides, there are other concerns. Suppose this—What did you call him?” “Falconer.” “Suppose this Falconer sells the play to a printer, who publishes it and has it registered. Then the Chamberlain’s Men lose all legal right to perform it ourselves.” “Oh. I didn’t ken.” “We generally delay publication as long as possible. Some companies care little for registrations or rights, and to print the play is the same as saying ‘Here it is, and welcome to it.’ Yet if we don’t publish it ourselves, someone will sell a pirated version. It’s a tricky and an unfair business.” “Aye, I see that now.” I felt more ashamed than ever of the part I’d played in the whole affair. I wanted to believe that we still might retrieve the play book, but knowing Falconer, I did not hold out much hope. Even if we did catch up with him, he was not likely to just apologize and hand it over. By the time we reached St. Paul’s and turned on to Aldersgate Street, I was sweating and trembling as if in the grip of the ague. But with the gate in sight, I managed to push myself yet a little farther. A ragged, legless beggar sat by the gate. Mr. Armin crouched and dropped a” 0 likes
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