Blackwood sets his tale of theatrical intrigue against the backdrop of Elizabethan London in 1601. With careful attention to details of the time, the author re-creates a swashbuckling world where men duel with swords if their honor is questioned, where females disguise themselves as males if they want a life on the theater stage, and where servants do not question the word of their masters.
The Globe Theatre is described from its whitewashed thatched roof to the backstage wings. The property room, where props are kept, and the tiring-room, where actors change clothes, provide the locations for action in this fast-paced novel.
Blackwood draws a complex word-picture (complete with sights, sounds, and smells) of London, from the street vendors to dimly lit taverns to the wherry-boats on the Thames River. He includes a panoramic view of the city from the tower of St. Paul's Cathedral and describes this world through the awed perspective of Widge, a country lad who has lived his first fourteen years in rural Yorkshire.
(The entire section is 167 words.)