What role does fate play in the lives of the characters in The Shakespeare Stealer?

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There are various points in the plot of this highly engaging and excellent story where the fortunes of the novel's characters are shaped largely by things that happen that are beyond their control. A classic example is of course the way that Widge discovers in Chapter 9 that the notebook into which he had been carefully copying down the words of the text of Hamlet has disappeared:

I laid one hand on my wallet, to reassure myself that the hard-won script was still safely tucked within. The pouch seemed flat and empty. My heart suddenly felt the same.

This causes Widge to suspect that he must have dropped it inside the theatre where he was hiding, which leads him to go back in, be caught by the players, and to have to pretend that he wants to become a player himself to avoid suspicion. A similar event occurs when Julian is outed to actually be Julia, which gives Widge the chance to perform the role of Ophelia in front of the Queen. Fate, or events beyond the control of the characters, seems to play a big part in advancing the plot and shaping the characters' lives.