King of Shadows by Susan Cooper. Personal copy. Read for the Scholar's Blog Book Discussion. This discussion took place in February of 2007; I'm going thru old books that I enjoyed but didn't post about when I read.
The Plot: Present-day Nat is a teenager and actor who is in a staging of one of Shakespeare's Plays. Then, boom! Time slip happens and he's back in the day, meeting the real Bard.
The Good: I love time slip novels. I love Shakespeare.
Nat meets Shakespeare and they bond. Nat's father is dead; and Nat sees Shakespeare as a quasi father figure.
OK, true confession time: when I read the Nat/Shakespeare relationship, I thought, "hm. gay." There was something about the intensity of Nat's feelings towards Shakespeare that just seemed -- well, not as a son to a father. Or a friend to a friend. And I thought, OK, that's just my reading, I've read too much slash fanfiction. But then I saw that Roger thought the same thing!
Tho, part of my reading may also be because of Susan Cooper and Hume Cronyn. I think this, in a way, is her love story to him; with SC's feelings about HC projected onto Nat's feelings for WS.
Anyway, I also liked this book because of the theatre! angle, a world that Cooper knows. The present day theatre, trying to recreate the Shakespeare plays; and then the world of Shakespeare, putting them on for the first time.
Arby's word convey the heart of this book: "Nothing is more important than the company; nothing is more important than the play." Is it the people or the play that is more important?
Final worlds: I was really, really frustrated by the non-explanation for the timeslip. It turns out that Babbage/ Burbage sends Nat back in time to save WS; but it never explains how B/B manages to learn the secrets of a long life/ time travel.
Edited to add: Date changed from Monday to Tuesday to qualify for Charlotte's Library Timeslip Tuesday.