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King of Shadows

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,136 Ratings  ·  211 Reviews


Only in the world of the theater can Nat Field find an escape from the tragedies that have shadowed his young life. So he is thrilled when he is chosen to join an American drama troupe traveling to London to perform A Midsummer Night's Dream in a new replica of the famous Globe theater.

Shortly after arriving in England, Nat goes to

Published September 2000 by Scholastic (first published January 1st 1999)
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Honya I loved it. Obviously, that doesn't guarantee that you will as well, but I definitely recommend this book--as well as basically all of Susan Cooper's…moreI loved it. Obviously, that doesn't guarantee that you will as well, but I definitely recommend this book--as well as basically all of Susan Cooper's writing.(less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 26, 2008 GraceAnne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is excerpted from a review I wrote for the now-defunct Riverbank Review.
Susan Cooper, who won the Newbery Medal for The Grey King (of the Dark Is Rising sequence) has full control of her magic. In King of Shadows (the title of the book comes from Midsummer Night’s Dream) she shows that she understands the magic of the theater; how a group of people in an enclosed space can make the impossible happen. In this splendid novel for young people, she has translated this understanding into a ravis
Claire Watson
Aug 14, 2015 Claire Watson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written tale of time travel wrapped around some of Shakespeare’s most famous works. The central character, Nat, is a member of a theatre troupe for boys who perform Shakespeare’s plays as they are meant to be performed- at the Globe Theatre in London with an all male cast. They will be performing ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and Nat has been chosen to play the part of Puck. During a warm up exercise, Nat begins to feel very dizzy and sick and blacks out. Upon awakening he finds himself tra ...more
LH Johnson
Oh this is good.

The protagonist, Nat Field, is a young actor who has come over to play at the Globe with his company. Somehow he goes to bed feeling ill and then wakes up in Shakespearean England. With Shakespeare. The rest of the novel is concerned with his adventures in this time period and also what happens when he returns to his 'normal' life.

And like I said, it's very very good. There's a heartrending moment when Nat almost falls in love with Shakespeare and Cooper conveys this hero worshi
I had to read this for school.

I'm not saying it was a terrible book, but I don't really think it was worth my time.

If I hadn't been assigned it for school and if half my grade hadn't depended on it, I would never have picked it up. It was a book for a twelve-year-old, not a high school student.

It had an awesome storyline, good characters and a great ending, but it just lacked addictability. I fell asleep reading it.

Maybe its because our teacher forced us to read it and said 50% of our grade depe
I remember reading Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series as a kid and loving it. When I needed a book with Shakespeare as a character for a reading challenge this season, this seemed like a decent choice. Not really recommended for adult readers, but might be a good choice for a teen who is also reading Shakespeare in school, especially if reading A Midsummer Night's Dream. Indeed, I reread A Midsummer Night's Dream in parallel with this since the actors in this book are putting on the play. ...more
Sep 19, 2009 Kendra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book as much as i love Shakespeare which is a LOT!!!!!!! It's a 5 star rating by far.

When Nathan (the mane part beside Shakespeare) leaves the wonderful play write Shakepear i cried and i garenty you will to.
Feb 10, 2014 Lesli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was another 7th grade reading level book to read at the same time my son was reading it. It was a fine example of a book, that technically he could read, but emotionally did not get, because of his young age. During the first 50 pages, I wondered why we were reading this, but then once Nat went back in time to Shakespeare's time, the book got a lot more interesting. The last third me and my son both very much enjoyed. In fact I was enjoying it enough, that I took the book with me to the hos ...more
Review to come in March. Book Battle book.

Book battle over, can now post my review

King of Shadows is about eleven year-old Nat, an aspiring theater actor who wakes up one morning and realizes he has gone back four hundred years in time to 1599 and has to act alongside William Shakespeare (!!!). And yes, Nat is just as freaked out about that time jump (and Shakespeare) as you would imagine. Nat is really personable and I really grew to like him by the time I finished reading. I will admit that I
Ryne Steinacker
Jan 07, 2016 Ryne Steinacker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Read several years ago; reread now)
Rating: Probably a 4.5 if we're going to be exact.

Goodness, but this book is even better than I remembered. This is excellent storytelling with extremely interesting characters (well, mostly Nat and Shakespeare, but the others are all right). As a first-time reader of the novel, I was fascinated with the descriptions of Elizabethan England. This time I was especially drawn to the characterization for Nat and Shakespeare, and to the details about the "magic" of
I loved this, but can fairly give three stars. My reasons: Susan Cooper is just so incredible, and I'd rather rate her against her Dark Is Rising series here. So, on a scale of 1-5 in Cooper-tastic ness, three. Three and a half. ;) Magic abounds here. I love Cooper's turn of a word; she makes the craft of writing seem easy and elegant, without spoiling the effect of an 11-year old narrator. There's a bit of borrowing from Shakespeare in Love (?)(although a re-imagining of the Bard is not new to ...more
Houlahan houlahan
Very serviceable story of a young actor who goes back in time and acts in Shakespeare's Globe. A quick read. Not brilliant but it does convey some of the sights and smells of Elizabethan London well. Good one for younger readers.
Kyell Gold
Mar 07, 2014 Kyell Gold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Susan Cooper's books are some of the first I remember reading (the wonderful "Dark is Rising" series), and having just written a book about a guy who gets inexplicably dropped back in time, I was rather surprised to find this book, written fifteen years ago by one of my favorite authors, about a boy who gets dropped back in time. So of course I had to check it out.

Nat Field is a young American actor given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to perform at the reconstructed Globe Theater in London in 19
Rachael Eyre
Unlike many of the reviewers, I'm not acquainted with Susan Cooper's previous work, so I was attracted solely by the premise. Ever since I fell in love with Tom's Midnight Garden as a kid, time travel has been one of my favourite genres. Since I'm also a Shakespeare and theatre enthusiast, this book was bound to fall into my lap sooner or later!

As a primer to A Midsummer Night's Dream, I doubt it could be bested- as well as explaining the play's convoluted (and slightly daft) plot in terms that
Michael Morpurgo had once described Susan Cooper as "a storyteller of immense power". Only after reading one of her books, the 'King of Shadows', for myself that I can fully appreciate Morpurgo's approbation.

There is one particular scene in one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, 'Julius Caesar', that is as revealing as it is memorable. I am referring to Act 4, Scene 3 of the play, in which Brutus, the Roman patrician, gently puts his serving-boy, Lucius, to bed after he had fallen asleep whil
Feb 10, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I have an old copy from the library with a strange cover ... the new updated cover is much more interesting. The main character is a boy actor visiting London, and getting ready to perform as Puck in the newly renovated Globe Theater. Then ... TIME TRAVEL! Our hero travels back to 1599 where he finds he is performing the same play, alongside Shakespeare himself. The author has woven together history about the Globe Theater, Shakespeare, Richard Burbage, A ...more
This book is a well written little jaunt into the past. The ending is interesting and makes me wonder if it could be tied in with The Dark is Rising! Not the most complex plot, but interesting nonetheless. I suppose it could do with some more period detail, but it's a children's book, so the question is whether the target audience would be that interested in that.
Mar 11, 2015 Kelsey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I seem to have an unpopular thought upon this book for I was one that wasn't that pleased with this novel. It was a short and easy read but I often felt as if I was simply reading a summary of the Shakespeare play "A Midnights Summer Dream." The character of Nat seems to become really close to Shakespeare after only being with the man for a week, yet the attachment is quite fast. I also feel as if Nat is a character with not many flaws and even the flaws he does have, he soon over comes them. Th ...more
Susan Cooper is one of the authors that I respect very much, and I always look forward to discovering her books. King of Shadows is no exception. The writing style is accessible and beautiful both, and the characters are brimming with personality. I’ve enjoyed Shakespeare’s writings for quite some time, but gained a greater appreciation for what his works say about him as a person through this story. The repetition of elements and themes found in A Midsummer Night’s Dream tie the story together ...more
Jun 15, 2016 Mery rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Este libro fue una lectura obligatoria del colegio en la que el único objetivo de su lectura era el comenzar a acostumbrarnos a la lectura en un idioma ajeno a nuestra lengua materna.
Mar 07, 2014 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: budding actors, Cooper fans, 11 or 12 year olds upwards
As I expected from Susan Cooper, this was a great read. I really became very engaged with the characters. Cooper has an amazing ability to get right into the head and life of a character in an unusual setting and give us a detailed and rich description of their viewpoint. In this case she has gone into the stage acting world and took me very much with her. (I had to skim read the bear baiting scene. OMG)

Alas, from my point of view there was a significant flaw in the premise of the story as expla
Apr 29, 2009 Stacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an indulgent read this was for me. How enjoyable it was to read of the boy traveling back in time and getting to work with Shakespeare. Great fantasy.
Robert Bozulich
May 05, 2016 Robert Bozulich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little kid wakes up in a bed he has never slept in and wakes up to a little boys face named Henry. He thought he was dreaming but realized he wasn't dreaming. Henry had long dark curly hair down to his shoulders, and black eyes, and he was very worried about the plague. Read the "king of Shadows" by Susan cooper to find out what the plague is and what happens in it. This book is a very good book, it is a mysterious book that could get confusing at times but it all connects together at the end. ...more
I really like the way that this novel is original in its teaching about Shakespeare and Elizabethan England. The use of time travel as a theme is clever and engages contemporary young readers.

For me, the protagonist was a bit boring and one-dimensional, and the plot was slow at times. I wasn't engaged and I am an adult who is very interested and has done a lot of work on Shakespeare, so I do wonder about how teenagers will get on.

Be aware that the lexis is quite advanced for the seemingly targe
OH. This is one of those books that didn't become 5 stars until the very end, but it was WONDERFUL.
Jay Daze
A wonderful fantasy time travel story of a theatre kid being transported back to Shakespeare's England to play at the Globe. Cooper is an elegantly simple writer who can conjure the sense of time and place that other authors would struggle to do in books five times as long. What strikes me most about the book is the naked pure heartedness of the story and the main character Nat. It captures an entirely uncynical, wounded boy and his struggles coming to terms with the death of his parents and how ...more
Mar 24, 2011 Bette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maureen E
I had read this book years ago and decided that my good memory of it was worth going back and trying it again. I was right. This is one extremely well researched, thought out, and written book.

Nat Field is a young actor recruited by a somewhat mysterious man named Arby to play Puck in Arby's version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". The company of actors are all boys aged 11-18. They will play in the brand-new reproduction of Shakespeare's Globe. Just before the play opens Nat falls ill. He is tak
Rachel Lehman
Dec 05, 2010 Rachel Lehman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nathan Fields, who goes by Nat, is a member of a group of boys in a summer Shakespearian program. The boys go the england to perform in the Glob theater. HOWever, Nat gets instead an incredibly unique once in a life time experience. This book helps kids to experience Shakespeare in an entirely new way.

I found this book to be on that was very good. It is clearly a book for younger readers but i was still able to enjoy reading it and to me that is the mark of a good book. Susan Cooper was able t
Dec 04, 2013 Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Actors, orphans, Shakespeare nuts, children, people who still have an imagination
King of Shadows is the first book I've read by Susan Cooper that wasn't a part of The Dark is Rising Sequence, one of my favorite book series when I was a child, and which I have read many times since. I think, if I had come across this book instead, I probably would have liked it a lot more, because it featured all of the things that I was interested back then or that I related to - an American child who doesn't fit in, transported to a strange place. Shakespeare. Acting. A Midsummer Night's Dr ...more
Lachlan Smith
This book was written on an interesting premise, however it was let down by the writing. It starts as typical teenage fiction, and I often think that the problem with teenage fiction is that it is generally written by adults. The main character, Nathan "Nat" Field, seems to find the drama exercises at the beginning of the book boring, and moans and complains about many of the other characters. This makes him not in the least likeable, and it seems as though the author has adopted a slightly patr ...more
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Quotes 1 14 Jun 26, 2011 10:46AM  
KING OF SHADOW? PLZ ANSWER ASAP! 4 52 Mar 22, 2011 08:47AM  
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Susan Cooper's latest book is the YA novel "Ghost Hawk" (2013)

Susan Cooper was born in 1935, and grew up in England's Buckinghamshire, an area that was green countryside then but has since become part of Greater London. As a child, she loved to read, as did her younger brother, who also became a writer. After attending Oxford, where she became the first woman to ever edit that university's newspap
More about Susan Cooper...

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