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Interred with Their Bones Paperback – Bargain Price, August 26, 2008

122 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Plot twists worthy of The Da Vinci Code dominate this agile first novel from Carrell (The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox), a thriller involving a lost Shakespeare play, The History of Cardenio. On a June day in 2004, at London's rebuilt Globe theater, Rosalind Howard, flamboyantly eccentric Harvard Professor of Shakespeare, gives her friend Katharine Stanley, who's directing a production of Hamlet at the Globe, a small gold-wrapped box. That evening, a fire damages the Globe, where Roz is found murdered in the same manner as Hamlet's father. Roz's mysterious gift, which contains a Victorian mourning brooch decorated with flowers associated with Ophelia, propels Kate on a wild and wide-ranging quest that takes her to Utah; Arizona; Washington, D.C.; and back to London. Every step of the way, as the bodies pile up, Kate narrowly escapes becoming the next murder victim. From Shakespeare conferences to desert mines, from the present to the past, this spirited and action-packed novel delivers constant excitement. Foreign rights sold in 20 countries. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“[A] smart…notable debut literary thriller.”
USA Today

“This debut mystery kicks off with quite a bang…the author never lets her pace sag as the story’s roots reach back to Shakepeare’s time. High-class fun.”

“Plot twists worthy of The Da Vinci Code.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452289890
  • ASIN: B001PTG4DW
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,200,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author of novels and history. Writing curve: smallpox, Shakespeare, art. Currently at work on historical fiction about my favorite painting, Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding.

I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Early on, my fallback career choices were ballerina and astronaut. Much later, I thought I'd become a Shakespeare professor. Through some strange twists and turns, I've circled back to writing.

I was born in Washington, D.C., but I grew up in Arizona. I have a Ph.D. in English from Harvard, along with undergraduate degrees from Oxford and Stanford. I was first pulled into studying literature by the Arthurian legend, and later by Norse sagas, Tolkien, and Shakespeare; my father jokes that I majored in fairy tales. It was something of a surprise to find myself writing thrillers; now I'm turning to historical fiction. Before I began to write books full time, I taught literature and writing at Harvard. Later, I was the classical music critic for the Arizona Daily Star. I've also written a number of pieces for the Smithsonian Magazine.

Here's what I think about writing: Storytelling should be an adventure, not just the stringing-together of other people's adventures. On the trail of stories, I have: rappelled from a six-story tower using an emergency hand-tied halter (while writing about the training of firefighters); tracked mountain lions on mule-back through the mountain range Geronimo used as home base and hideout; held Yo-Yo Ma's cello; ridden the roller-coaster ride of a professional cutting horse (herding cattle); and posed for David Hockney on a BBC set while stuffed into a medieval gown originally made for Star Trek, with a red-velvet turban improvised from a set of men's pants perched on my head. From the sublime to the ridiculous -- and all of it wondrous

I live in Tucson, AZ, with my husband, daughter, two dogs, and three literary cats (who try to help me type out my manuscripts).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By bookworm on October 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you are a Shakespeare lover, you will be absolutely seduced by the quest for a lost play. Even if you are not, the adventure and appeal of this story might send you back to the bookstore to buy Hamlet immediately after you finish it! The other reviews offer more plot detail, but I will say that while this book can't possibly escape comparisons to the Da Vinci Code, this is so much better written (without the silly withheld information or artificial cliffhangers). The novel is loaded with thoughtful discussions of the various mysteries about Shakespeare, but they never get in the way of a steadily moving plot that only gets better and better as the novel goes on. I read it while traveling, and never has a plane flight gone so fast. I highly recommend it and will be buying it for all my friends for Christmas.
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49 of 58 people found the following review helpful By L. E. Cantrell VINE VOICE on March 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Let's get one thing perfectly clear at the outset. This is a "Da Vinci Code" clone. Live with it! It is better than Dan Brown's original--but, then, what isn't?

As has been noted elsewhere in these Amazon reviews, perhaps the most interesting portion of this book is to be found in the Author's Note at the back of the volume. In it, Dr. Carrell tells how she came upon Shakespeare's possible lost plays in E. K. Chambers' magisterial four-volume study, "The Elizabethan Stage."

"I began to wonder," she writes, "what would it be like to find one of these plays. Where might one unearth such a thing? What would the moment of discovery feel like? And what would the finding do to the shape of one's life--apart from the obvious bestowal of instant wealth and fame?" [Hardback edition, page 407]

"Interred with Their Bones" is Dr. Carrell's 405 page attempt to answer the questions generated by her reading of Chambers.

The format of the answering takes the form of an academic quest generously laced with copious amounts of homicide, general looniness and sight-seeing. The object of the quest, the McGuffin, is a manuscript of a play that was produced before the English royal court in 1613 under the name "Cardenno" or maybe "Cardenna" that may or may not have been the same as a play registered in 1653 (but never published) under the names of John Beaumont and William Shakespeare and called "Cardenio."

The course to be followed by the protagonists is the one set out in that universal guidebook for lunatic quests, "The Da Vinci Code.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Conspiracies abound in this novel, which shifts from London's Globe Theater in 1613 to a restored Globe in 2004, where Shakespearean scholar Kate Stanley is making her directorial debut. On the eve of the opening, Kate receives a visit from and old and sometimes contentious friend, Rosalind Howard, Harvard Professor of Shakespeare. Asking for Kate's help after years of estrangement, Roz hints at an important discovery she has made, thrusting a gold-wrapped box into Kate's hand as they hastily arrange a meeting for later that night. Waiting on a quiet hillside for Rosalind, Kate feels uneasy, vulnerable; about to leave, she sees her beloved Globe go up in flames in the distance. Rushing back, Kate is followed, but narrowly escapes thanks to her friend, renowned actor Sir Henry Lee. The newly restored building alight, save for the theater itself, Kate goes to her office only to discover Rosalind's body.

In a series of feints and counter feints, Kate Stanley applies herself to the mystery of Roz's discovery, with the help of Sir Henry and a young man who professes kinship to Rosalind. But at every turn, new dangers arise. Undaunted, Kate sidesteps even the police investigator in an effort to find the secret first. As she realizes all too well, someone else is traveling the path, frequently one step ahead. A few narrow misses convince Kate that her protector, Ben Pearl, is an asset, at least for the moment.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Eager Reader on April 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
The plot of "Interred With Their Bones" is promising. Who can resist arcane Shakespeariana, travel and detection? Sadly, the book is a disappointment from the first chapter and rapidly degenerates to irritating. The heroine is presented as a highly educated, artistic wunderkind yet she impetuously decides to withold information from the police in their investigation of her friend's murder and proceeds to conduct her own, at the trifling expense of the lives of several of her acquaintances. She seems to have no reason for this other than a selfish desire to hoard the victim's gift to her, which constitutes the first clue, and an arrogant belief that due to her Ivy League education she can do a better job than the police of two countries can.

Her lack of remorse for putting her friends in harm's way compounds the cold arrogance of her intellectual superiority. The author, J.L. Carrell, self conciously displays her own familiarity with the resources and politics of academia's most clubby elites by dragging her heroine from one to the next, rapidly turning reader curiosity into irritation. It's like being invited into a store the proprietors know you can't afford to buy anything in. The story line is necessarily choppy due to the switches in locale and secondary characters, the Shakespeare arcania emphasizes high-flown academic criticism rather than the more generally accessible text, and the characters, from the heroine on down, are two dimensional and unengaging since they exist only to serve the irrational plot line. By the time the climax is reached, the story's logic has broken down completely and the denouement is just silly.

Don't bother.
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