King of Shadows

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King of Shadows cover.jpg
Gregory cover of Puffin paperback ed. (2000)
Author Susan Cooper
Cover artist Bill Gregory (depicted)[1]
Country US, UK
Genre Children's historical novel, timeslip fantasy
Publisher Margaret K. McElderry, US, Bodley Head, UK
Publication date
October 1999, November 1999
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 186 pp, 181 pp[1]
Awards None
ISBN 0-689-82817-9
OCLC 40444020
LC Class PZ7.C7878 Ki 1999[2]

King of Shadows is a children's historical novel by Susan Cooper published in 1999 by Penguin. In the U.K. it was a finalist for both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.

Not in the world of the stage can Nat Field (Nathan) 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 Theatre.

Shortly after arriving in London, England, Nat goes to bed ill and awakens transported back in time four hundred years—to another London in 1599, and another production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Amid the bustle and excitement of an Elizabeth theatrical production, Nat finds the warm, nurturing father figure missing from his life—in none other than William Shakespeare himself.


Nat Field is recruited by Arby, whose real name is Richard Babbage and is a producer intent on a reenactment of the Globe Theatre in London reproducing Shakespeare's plays the way they were 400 years ago. The company of boys, said to be the best, are members handpicked by Arby from all over America. Nat acts as an aerial sprite, Puck, from A Midsummer Night's Dream. However, he suddenly falls ill and is taken to the hospital with fear of having the bubonic plague. During the night before he goes to hospital, he dreams of being tossed high above the earth and then pulled firmly back. He wakes up in a different room with a boy talking to him in a heavy Elizabethan accent (Elizabethan English). He has traveled back 400 years in time, to the year 1599, when the Globe theater was first built. He meets William Shakespeare, acting with him in the play he had rehearsed for in his own time, and experiences theater as it was originally intended. He becomes a very good friend to William Shakespeare, almost like a son to him. And before he knows it, he is back in the hospital bed awake and not knowing if what has just happened is true or not. Later in the book, Gil Warmun and Rachel Levin, his actors from present time come by and try to find out who he was 400 years ago. Nat undergoes a series of very interesting events that open his eyes to the world


Nathan F, or Nat Field


Arby, Gil Warmun, Rachel Levin, Mr.Fisher, Pudding Face, Eric


Richard Burbage, William Shakespeare, Roper, Queen Elizabeth I, Will Kempe, Richard Mulcaster, Harry sam


King of Shadows was adapted for the stage in 2005 and first performed by the New York State Theatre Institute (NYSTI) starring P. J. Verhoest as Nat, David Bunce as Shakespeare, John Romeo as Burbage, and Aaron Marquise as Roper.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b King of Shadows title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2013-03-14. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  2. ^ "King of shadows" (U.S. edition). Library of Congress Catalog Record. Retrieved 2013-03-14.

External links[edit]