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King of Shadows

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  2,629 ratings  ·  260 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

Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published October 1st 1999)
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Carter Playz Nat is an orphan that was adopted by the Fisher family and went to London to join an acting group called “The Company of Boys”.“The Company of Boys”…moreNat is an orphan that was adopted by the Fisher family and went to London to join an acting group called “The Company of Boys”.“The Company of Boys” were going to act in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Nat gets very ill and falls asleep, waking up somewhere else in a different year. He is in 1599 and acts in A Midsummer Night’s Dream but with Shakespeare.

A reason why I liked the book is that I loved the way the book was made and the fact that Nat went back in time. Something cool aswell was that the author Susan Cooper actually made it was that in 1499 they talked like how they talked in the book. I learned a lot from this book and it was great. What I enjoyed the most in the book King of Shadows was the transitions that Susan Cooper wrote when Nathan Field, the main character, would go back in time or into the present.

Now the reason why this book got 3.5 stars out of 5 is that a book is obviously not perfect. There were some spelling mistakes and some parts were confusing. For example, another reason why I didn’t like it is because you read about the book and how the rehearsals go and then Nat goes back in time and does the play then and then goes back to 1999 and has to do the play all over again. I feel like it was just a whole waste of time reading the end, I didn’t like it. Also, the explanation for his time travel jump at the end made me mad because I feel like the only reason that Arby chose Nat to act with his cast is so Shakespeare wouldn’t die and Arby could do the play.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone but for some young readers I'm not sure. What I am talking about is that two to three times the author would put in inappropriate language and that would be good for people that are young to reader. King Of Shadows by Susan Cooper was surprisingly a good book. Normally the summer reading books at my school are trash but this book was amazing. I gave this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,629 ratings  ·  260 reviews

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Teenaged 20th century Shakespearean actor Nat Field's sojourn in historical 16th century London as an apprentice (under William Shakespeare's tutelage) in the at that time newly constructed Globe Theatre (having been mysteriously transported back in time from the 20th century, well actually, having been made to switch places with a 16th century apprentice of the same name ill with the bubonic plague) is for all intents and purposes an engaging, fun, and delightfully informative romp. Author Susa ...more
L.H. 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
Jun 26, 2008 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 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
Sep 19, 2009 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 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: youth who love theater
Nat has a tragic past but now has been chosen to be in an elite group of American boys and men who are going to act in the new Old Globe, Shakespeare's own theater in England. They are going to do it the old fashioned way with boys playing the parts of women. While he is boarding with a kind family who puts him up while he is at the Old Globe (well, the new one), he gets mysteriously ill and ends up actually working at the original Old Globe, from 500 years prior to his life. What has happened? ...more
Apr 11, 2014 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
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
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
C.J. Milbrandt
Nat's been chosen for an elite all-boys acting troupe called The Company of Boys, made up of kids from all over the United States. They're rehearsing two of Shakespeare's plays—A Midsummer's Night Dream and Julius Caesar—which they'll perform in London at the New Globe Theater. But something's strange. And then Nat wakes up in 1599, in the place of another Nat Field, who's also in the role of Puck. And his Oberon will be played by William Shakespeare himself.

Training camps and dress rehearsals.
Charlotte Mcphilbin
I did not particularly enjoy the book. Nat randomly going back in time was not a believable story and I was unable to attach to any of the characters. Susan Cooper used way too many lists.
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
Feb 10, 2014 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
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 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a sucker for time slip novels and this is a great one about an American boy actor on a visit to London who changes places with a boy actor of the same name from Shakespeare's time and acts on stage at the Globe with Shakespeare himself.

Probably aimed at around age 12 and I'm not sure most kids would pick up the emotional impact of the father-figure aspect to the story, but I loved it.
Divania Timmal-Jones
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: young-adult
I loved this book so very much. It stayed on my mind for months after I read it. It's been about 13 years since I read King of Shadows, and I still find myself thinking about it sometimes. It is a beautiful, somewhat heart-wrenching, read.
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.
OH. This is one of those books that didn't become 5 stars until the very end, but it was WONDERFUL.
Apr 29, 2009 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.
María Ferre
Jan 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
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.
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
King of Shadows by Susan Cooper is a historical fiction novel describing a young actor’s travels to the year 1599. Nat Field is a young boy from Falmouth, Massachusetts. He loves acting and is traveling to London with an elite all-boys troupe to perform in a newly erected theater just like the one Shakespeare used. However, the night he arrives, he falls ill. When he wakes up, he soon discovers that he’s in sixteenth century, Elizabethan London! He is now a sheltered boy from St. Paul’s, an act ...more
I'm not saying this book was terrible, I just don't think it was worth my time.

It may just be because I read this for school and therefore had to analyze the ever loving crap out of it, but this book quickly lost my interest. It wasn't for lack of quick plot or uninteresting characters (actually, that may have been a contributing factor). I found the problem to derive mostly from the fact that there was nothing huge to analyze. Yes, it had its underlying themes and messages and whatnot, but I f
Hollie Faith
Apr 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely hated this book! Now this might just be me but I mean it was horrible and old fashioned and reminded me of old tales like little women and black beauty and the wisp in the willow. Now this might just be me but I hate these types of books but I had to read it because we read it in class and it kind of put me of reading stuff like throne of glass which I love and wanted to read but after reading a bit of this I would like pick up a book and read a few pages and then put it down becaus ...more
Join Nat (Nathan) Field as he, Arby, an eccentric and mysterious dramaturg, and a modern day all-boy's troop journey to London to perform 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' on the Globe Stage. Nat is transported to 1599, and ends up becoming Shakespeare's protégé and in turn, playing Puck onstage. However, what causes Nat to end up back then, what happens while he's in another time to modern Nat, and an importance of family, comradery and history all combine together in this story.

The book is very goo
Liz F.
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Update: I finished this book Sunday morning! :P

It was one fine, sunny day, a few months back, and my family and I were visiting the library. (actually I don't remember what the weather was like but you know what I mean XD) I had my library bag over my shoulder, it was already half (???) full.
I was walking through the aisles with my Dad and suddenly he stopped. He pulled a average sized grayish book from the shelves, took a glance at the inside cover, and plopped it down into my bag. It was cal
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be a young-adult book, but I found it fascinating. An acting troupe of American boys goes to London to play Shakespeare at the Globe theater. Nathan Field has been recruited to play Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, but falls ill during rehearsals. The family with whom Nat is staying calls an ambulance to take him to hospital because of a high fever. He is having a crazy dream and when he wakes up, he finds himself in Elizabethan London, recruited to play Puck at the Globe - only this ...more
Anna Cavallo
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"King of Shadows" is Susan Cooper's tribute to her husband, Hume Cronyn. The dedication of the book is to him, 'For my actor'.

Nat Field has arrived in England with his acting troupe to perform at the "new" Globe Theater in London. Upon his arrival he falls very ill with subsonic plague and when he awakes from a fevered sleep he is no longer in the present but back in time in Elizabethan England. He is an actor in this lifetime too and he meets and works with the real William Shakespeare. Through
Afiqah Mazlan
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: forever-loves
It's been almost 14 years since I first read King of Shadows yet I don't think I'll ever outgrow it. As an impressionable teenager, this book was a fascinating introduction to the magic of Shakespeare and theatre, as well as to the power of words to move and heal.

The relationship that develops between Nat and Shakespeare is unbearably beautiful, effortlessly bridging across the 400 years that separates them in reality. Every moment they share betrays a deep connection weighed down with a linger
Cricket Muse
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shakespeare geeks, Bardinators, shall revel in Susan Cooper’s time exchange novel. A plethora of well-researched historical background lends an authenticity to the story that makes this a memorable read.
It’s tricky business creating a believable time slip plot, especially when one the main characters carries so much leverage. How does one create a genuine Shakespeare, a man of so much influence, yet so little is known of him? Susan Cooper manages to do so amazingly well, creating warm personalit
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Quotes 1 15 Jun 26, 2011 10:46AM  
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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
“Poets find truth by writing about what they love.” 8 likes
“It says, loving doesn't change just because someone isn't there, or because time gets in the way, or even death. It's always with you, keeping you safe, it won't ever leave you.” 2 likes
More quotes…