Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Intelligencer” as Want to Read:
The Intelligencer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Intelligencer

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  1,117 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
On May 30, 1593, London's most popular playwright was stabbed to death. The royal coroner ruled that Christopher Marlowe was killed in self-defense, but historians have long suspected otherwise, given his role as an "intelligencer" in the queen's secret service.
In sixteenth-century London, Marlowe embarks on his final intelligence assignment, hoping to find his missing m
ebook, 352 pages
Published February 24th 2004 by Atria Books (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Intelligencer, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Intelligencer

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 27, 2013 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: untumbled-turds, blog
There's a certain kind of novel that I like to blame on the Indiana Jones franchise. It appeals to academics and hobbyists who dabble in and become experts in little pockets of knowledge that, frankly, the rest of the world just doesn't give a damn about. They know their stuff, they've read their books, they're ready for the pop quiz--but it's a quiz that's never coming. All that's left is to sit back amongst one's dusty tomes and simply daydream about excitement and adventure in a foreign land ...more
May 29, 2009 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's a 16th-century manuscript/compilation in this novel called The Anatomy of Secrets, and really it's the maguffin that holds the whole plot together. My bet is that Silbert originally called her novel The Anatomy of Secrets, but then some bright spark changed the title.

Speculation, of course. This is one of those novels where there are two parallel narrative strands, one relating derring-do going on in the historical past while the other concerns itself with derring-do going on in the pres
I almost gave this one star, but then I thought, it wasn't an unintelligent book, even if I didn't really like it. The main downsides for me were the jumping back and forth between time lines, the unnecessary and obviously gratuitous details about life in the 16th century (they didn't know what a fork was! Lettuce was an exotic delicacy!) meant to impress us with how much research the author had done, the seeming meandering tangents that shoot off, with no clear inkling as to how they tie into e ...more
Feb 02, 2011 Jeanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leslie Silbert presents a very enticing book, using two different story lines, one in England at the end of the sixteenth century and one in the present. These events are of course interrelated, making the book a very enjoyable read and allowing us to understand better what is happening in our times. It is easy to notice that Silbert has a fair amount of knowledge about the historic topic she explores and the writing in the passages set in the times of Elizabeth I is great. However, when she get ...more
Aug 07, 2011 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely closer to 3.5 stars... 3 stars for the first half of the book, and 4 for the second half. The protagonist is a former grad student turned private investigator (as is the author) - yes, I'm a sucker for books written by and/or featuring academics, but mostly if they're doing something cooler than what we typically do. :) It mixes a historical fiction mystery with a current-day mystery. The first half of the book takes awhile to get into - partly because so many characters are i ...more
Sep 21, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book that combines history and a thriller, combining action from the past and the present. There is a lot of intrigue and everything sounds so plausible! Maybe because the author is herself a spook and has a master's degree in science history. I could not put this one down. Unfortunately, I discovered a newly placed signpost while reading this book on my walk to work. Ouch.
I bought this book at a little book cafe called "Grounds For Reading". I wanted some books for summer similar to Da
Jul 02, 2007 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical mystery fans
Shelves: goodbooks
I'm a sucker for historical mysteries that have a present-day element and this one didn't disappoint. "As The Intelligencer's interlocking narratives race toward a stunning collision, and Kate closes in on the truth behind Marlowe's sudden death, it becomes clear that she may have sealed a similar fate for herself. Propelling us from the shadows of the sixteenth-century underworld to the glitter of Queen Elizabeth's court, from the dark corridors of a clandestine American op-center to the cliffs ...more
Erin Newell
Apr 09, 2012 Erin Newell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My mother gave me this book. You might notice a trend in my books. I really enjoy reading books that take place in London or England. This book is not well known, and I believe it's the only book about the main character. The author sets it up for there to be more, but I don't think she's finished them?? But I did really enjoy this book. There were lots of twists and turns, and I couldn't put it down. It goes back and forth between present day London and 16th century London. It also has a lot of ...more
Carolyn F.
Audiobook - abridged

This was narrated by Jan Maxwell and Alfred Molina who did a great job. The story though, I wish it would have been about Phillip Marlowe or about Kate Morgan not both. Even when their stories somewhat (but not really) intertwine I still would have preferred the story to be about one or the other.

I liked that it had a "happy for now" ending, without everything ending in rainbows and daises. 3-1/2 stars
Apr 01, 2012 Karyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Not sure why this got such terrible reviews. A sucker for anything having to do with Elizabethan England, and especially Renaissance intrigue, I truly enjoyed this. It's intelligent (a lot of solid historical scholarship here) and sophisticated, and a first-rate thriller, just what I would expect from an author who received an M.A. from Harvard in the History of Science, studied Renaissance literature at Oxford, and who currently works as a private investigator in NYC. Have seen it compared to T ...more
Christian D.  Orr
The book is basically two stories in one novel, a present-day storyline and a hisorical (Renaissance-era) one, and they both grab your attention and don't let go. Full of action, intrigue, clever dialogue, intellectually-stimulating historical fact, excellent character development, and plots twists toward the end that that throw the reader for a loop.
May 08, 2012 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Silbert has taken her academic research and her personal work to make a story quite real. She works a time warp between Elizabethan times and today into a tight suspense story. Most compelling!!!! I hope that Silbert has another great story in her pen.
Olivia Winter
I like spy novels and historical/literary puzzles so this was completely up my alley. It's a smart story, unfortunately a little too slow-moving and characters a little too plain to draw me in.
Oct 16, 2016 Jehnie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I gave this book too much of my time. If you're a fan of Dan Brown spy/conspiracy books this might interest you but I found myself skimming through the last third just to be done.
Apr 16, 2011 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd call this book a good read, not great, but it was solid. Not the type of book I couldn't put down, but looked forward to reading nonetheless. The main character, Kate, is a Renaissance scholar who also happens to be a PI for a covert government-type unit. She takes on a case regarding an antique manuscript after an attempted robbery of that manuscript in London, which resulted in the death of the thief. She believes the manuscript may have been created during the reign of Elizabeth I, as a c ...more
Anna Ligtenberg
ISBN 0743432932 - Touted on the cover as "The International Bestseller" and "A Thriller", The Intelligencer strives to be all that the Da Vinci Code could be - and was. Unfortunately, that was much more than this book could be, leaving me with the feeling that I just read a wanna-be.

Kate Morgan works for a deep-undercover organization. As a front, The Slade Group functions as a fairly straightforward firm of private investigators. Behind the scenes, the group - run by a former CIA man - does tho
Apr 30, 2014 Iceman rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eis que estamos na presença de mais um thriller histórico em que alguém descobre algo tenebroso do passado que vai ter ligações ou mexer com interesses poderosos do presente.

Mais um igual a tantos outros que nos últimos anos pululam nas livrarias. Interessante de início, não digo que não, vai perdendo fulgor e interesse à medida que avançamos na acção entre o presente e o passado, acabando por descambar numa série de clichés e na descoberta do previsível criminoso.

Não escondo que gostei do trama
Jan 26, 2016 Eliece rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1593, London's most popular playwright was stabbed to death. The royal coroner ruled that Christopher Mfarlowe was killed in self-defense, but historians have long suspected otherwise, given his role as an "intelligencer" in the Queen's secret service.
This novel has interlocking narratives. The one that takes place in the present, features Kate Morgan, a Renaissance scholar, who works for a private investigative firm that doubles as an off-the-books U.S. intelligence unit. As she is trying to
Mike (the Paladin)
I was about 34 pages in here when I knew I was doomed. I kept on going, for a bit but it seemed so slow and draggy to me. I wanted to like this one, it's a good idea, and it starts pretty well. The old manuscript tied in to the past.... The enigmatic Marlowe, and his death, and what's the middle eastern connection. Yes, it should have been good, it should have been enthralling. Maybe some of you will find it so.

We'd just found a guy dead in at his desk and suddenly I realized I was struggling t
Susan Kelley
An antique book found in present day London leads P.I. Kate Morgan into the life of Christopher "Kip" Marlowe, playwright and spy for Queen Elizabeth I. Morgan believes the book is a collection of coded intelligence documents from the Elizabethan era. In it, she hopes to discover the name of Marlowe's killer - and the volatile secret that someone is willing to kill for today.

The Intelligencer takes the reader back and forth between 1593 and today. Secrets, mysteries and spies abound in both tim
Lisa H.
Apparently the background for this book is the author's actual life - Renaissance scholar turned private investigator for a security firm run by a former CIA spook - although I'm pretty sure the plot is fiction. I'm thinking she can't talk much about her real life, so she fictionalized it instead.

It's a fun read, nothing too taxing - about a mysterious manuscript discovered in the process of renovating an Elizabethan-era building, which may or may not be Sir Francis Walsingham's long-missing co
Feb 20, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is actually two stories, and while the modern relates to the historical, they just don't work together. I was entirely held by the 1593 chapters, which followed Christopher Marlowe, author and spy for the Queen in his final weeks before his death in Deptford. The espionage, the plotting back and forth between the camps of the Earl of Essex and Robert Cecil, all based on real happenings, with Marlowe in the center, juggling knowledge and verse - totally engaging. The problem was with the mod ...more
Mirah W
This is a mystery novel that weaves together Elizabethan spy networks (especially the life/work of Christopher Marlowe) and a modern day PI agency. While the premise was good I felt the overall product was only average. The chapters about Marlowe were interesting...delving into some of the possible theories about his life as a spy and writer. At times the historical chapters could get a little confusing...too many spies, too little time. Based on the historical chapters I believe the author real ...more
Jennifer Taw
Aug 11, 2016 Jennifer Taw rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although the topic should be inherently interesting (literary history combined with stories of Shakespeare-era espionage), and though the book apparently taps into the author's own academic and professional expertise, Silbert manages to make this into a cheesy, predictable bore. All the requirements are there for a fun read -- capable female protagonist, private spy network, exotic locales, treasure hunts, and even a cat-thief -- but The Intelligencer is mired in cliched, romance-novel-style wri ...more
Todd Stockslager
Jun 09, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Picked up on a whim, and proved to be a worthy effort. Not a classic, but certainly far better than The Da Vinci Code that was on the best seller list for years.

Told in flashbacks alternating between the last week of Christopher Marlowe's life in May 1593 and modern day New York, London, and Rome, Silbert tells the story of a recently discovered set of spy secrets from Marlowe's day that may have gotten him killed for his spy work, and almost gets the modern-day heroine killed in the unraveling
Jul 31, 2009 Erin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This may have been the worst book I've read this year. The only reason I read it all the way through was because it was the ONLY book in the house I hadn't yet read, and I NEEDED fiction like a drug (I also couldn't sleep!)

The main problem with this book was a basic failure to follow the "show don't tell" rule of good writing. The intellectual conceit of the book was a good one, and even the structure and historical details could have made it hang together in the end, but.... My problem was I ju
Sep 24, 2010 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I knew when I picked this book up that I would either love it or hate it. The story is barely okay, and the writing is stilted and pedantic. Here is a sample of dialog, "The sky is full of tiny droplets of water, and rays of sunlight bend as they enter. It's a process called refraction. Then, when the rays hit the back whall of the droplet, they reflect off it, bouncing back. The rainbow has something to do with those angles, of the sunlight's refraction and reflection." Thank you, professor Sil ...more
Jun 27, 2010 Natalie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the historical fiction aspect of this book, and I liked learning some new things, as I had never studied the Christopher Marlowe/Shakespeare connection before. The espionage part was really dark and seedy, and there were some parts that I thought were overkill in that regard. Plus, the f-word, overkill. Blech.

The premise of this book was a good one, but I feel it could've been done much better. There were too many characters, some that didn't seem to even contribute to the story, and
Sep 06, 2007 Aya rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookstoavoid
Apologies to FLO for inflicting this book upon you. It's not horrible but it's made for tv movie book, like a watered down version of the Da Vinci Code, which was not a good book in my opinion. Like Da Vinci Code, the ideas are interesting, but very very poorly written. I was disappointed because it seemed like it could have been a really fun book. I really wanted it to be good, willed myself to think it was ok. Lent it to poor Flo who was also forced to read it! Sorry Flo, I inflicted this book ...more
May 25, 2012 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Joshua, Lyn
This is a book that I bought used awhile ago and forgot about until I unearthed it during a cleaning fit. It's mystery/thriller set in the present and London in 1593 and involves a lost manuscript pertaining to the fate of playwright Christopher Marlowe. The writing is very good, the scholarship is apparent but not obtrusive and the plot moves along and switches back and forth between centuries in a very satisfying fashion. I enjoyed this a lot and plan to look for others by Silbert -she indicat ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Kit Marlowe! Intrigue! and yet.. 1 18 Oct 13, 2007 06:30PM  
  • Don't Open This Book
  • The Big Bow Mystery
  • The Promise of a Lie
  • The Rattle-Rat
  • The World of the Short Story: A Twentieth Century Collection
  • The Rhetoric of Death
  • Great Detectives: A Century of the Best Mysteries from England and America
  • The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Murder in Grub Street (Sir John Fielding, #2)
  • Sherlock in Love: A Novel
  • A Fine Old Conflict
  • Murder Down Under
  • The ABCs of Handwriting Analysis: The Complete Guide to Techniques and Interpretations
  • A Rose for Virtue
  • The Cincinnati Red Stalkings
  • The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms & the CIA
  • With Friends Like These... (Amanda Pepper, #4)
  • Gilligan's Wake
"Renaissance scholar and former private investigator Leslie Silbert has parlayed her experiences into a thriller that moves back and forth between the sixteenth century and the present day. Bestselling author David Morrell calls The Intelligencer “a fascinating blend of Renaissance espionage and modern intrigue,” and the acclaimed historical novelist, Sharon K. Penman, warns that it is “dangerous… ...more
More about Leslie Silbert...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »