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Entered from the Sun
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Completing his masterful trilogy of novels set in Elizabethan England, Garrett again applies distinguished literary skills to spin a tale dark with deception and metaphysical questions but teeming with sensuous and concrete details that convey the spirit of the age. In 1597, when it seems that "half the people in England are spying on the other half," two Londoners skilled in deceit are forcibly enjoined by rival factions to investigate the recent death of dissolute poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe. Each of the two--Joseph Hunnyman, "common player" and con man, and Captain William Barfoot, soldier and spy--is aware of the other's investigation, but they come together, only through a third party, the provocative widow Alysoun. Like an impressionist painting, vivid in its small, shimmering details, the novel conveys a picture of Renaissance society, offers richly nuanced character portraits, and sparkles with bawdy humor and robust sexuality. Garrett's prose is oblique, his sentences arrestingly truncated, his narrative method seemingly digressive; in no rush to spill out his story, he circles round and round its mysterious core. Though the plot here is less compelling than those of the two previous novels, readers will enjoy a novel of rare literary quality, richly marinated in research, wondrously steeped in the world it artfully depicts. –PW
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group; December 2013
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