Fiction: “Interred With Their Bones” by Jennifer Lee Carrell

InterredInterred With Their Bones is the result of when Dan Brown happens to smart people. Dan Brown is, of course, the author of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, the latter of which is soon to be released as a movie (and sidebar, I am totally going to go see it, only because a] Tom Hanks finally doesn’t have Gross Robert Langdon Hair, and b] it stars Ewan McGregor. As a PRIEST). The Da Vinci Code is a whirlwind of a book, with the events somehow managing to fit into a single twenty-four hour period (it could be a 48-hour period; it’s been a while since I’ve read it). It has codes and clues hidden in works of art and other gadgets and gizmos, and it requires a lot of travel and scholarly explanation when the next clue is found.

Jennifer Lee Carrell definitely read The Da Vinci Code while she got the idea for Interred With Their Bones. It starts off with Kate Stanley, the director of Hamlet at the Globe, receiving a visit from her former mentor, Roz Howard. Roz gives Kate a brooch and tells her that if she opens the box, she must follow where it leads, for it is not just a brooch, but the first clue of many that will possibly lead to a lost Shakespeare masterpiece.

There are murders staged to resemble those found in Shakespeare (someone gets poison dripped into their ear, a la Hamlet’s father; someone gets drowned, like Ophelia; and lest you think the other plays are being ignored, there’s a Julius Caesar and mentions of Titus Andronicus), and people who are working with Kate are always suspected of being the murderers. There’s duplicity, travel from London to New Mexico to Spain and back to England, and have I mentioned a lot of Shakespearean quotes?

There is also a backstory that can get confusing. It occurs in the early seventeenth century, and it involves Shakespeare, the Golden Boy, and the Dark Lady (the characters from his Sonnets). The triangle is linked to a royal scandal of the time, and I got confused with the whole family tree and the who’s sleeping with who thing that had to get straightened out. The clues weren’t always completely explained, which also confused me. I didn’t like how the loyalties were revealed — it seemed too pat, and frankly, stank of the last third of yes, you guessed it, The Da Vinci Code.

All in all, if you liked The Da Vinci Code and have a passing appreciation of Shakespeare (and possibly wonder if there were other works he’d written and, even further, if Shakespeare actually wrote his plays), give the book a try. It’s a good read, but I’m glad I got it from my local library and didn’t spend sixteen bucks on a paperback version.

Grade for Interred With Their Bones: 2 stars

Coming up … PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES. I got it today, and I was literally hugging it to my chest and dancing with joy in the local bookstore.

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