Entered from the Sun Analysis
by George Garrett

Start Your Free Trial

Download Entered from the Sun Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Entered from the Sun

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

ENTERED FROM THE SUN is the third novel about Elizabethan and Jacobean England by George Garrett, poet, short-story writer, critic, and professor of creative writing at the University of Virginia. DEATH OF THE FOX (1971) dealt with the life and execution of Sir Walter Ralegh; THE SUCCESSION (1983) presented the complex drama whereby James I succeeded Queen Elizabeth. Now, ENTERED FROM THE SUN uses an investigation of the murder of playwright and spy Christopher Marlowe, who was stabbed to death in a tavern brawl, to immerse the reader into the turbulent final years of the reign of the old and childless queen.

The novel begins with the abduction of Joseph Hunneyman, an unemployed actor who is recruited to find out how and why Marlowe was really killed. Though Hunneyman barely knew Marlowe, he seems an appropriate sleuth because as an actor, he is a man of disguises who knows his way around in theatrical circles. At the same time, another unknown party recruits a battered veteran of the wars, Captain Barfoot, to find out the facts about Marlowe’s murder. Neither party knows of the other, but as their paths cross, they become aware of sinister possibilities that may lie in wait for them if their courses collide. Neither knows his employer or the reasons why the details of how Marlowe died four years ago are important to the shadowy figures in power. Sharing her body as well as their danger with Barfoot and Hunneyman is the young Widow Alysoun.

As Hunneyman and Barfoot separately explore the case, the reader also becomes a detective, as the evidence is examined and reexamined, the story retold in the imagination of each investigator, and more questions are raised than answered. As befits a mystery involving spying, duplicity, equivocation, and betrayal, things are not always what they seem, and the narrative, as we are frequently reminded, may be unreliable. In style as well as storytelling, Garrett makes demands on the reader, but the novel’s complexities are not difficult and draw us into the richness of its poetic language and the ambiguities of the age.

Sources for Further Study

Boston Globe. September 24, 1990, p.35.

Chicago Tribune. October 14, 1990, XIV, p.1.

Kirkus Reviews. LVIII, July 15, 1990, p.951.

Library Journal. CXV, September 1, 1990, p.257.

Los Angeles Times Book Review. September 16, 1990, p.8.

The New York Times Book Review. XCV, September 16, 1990, p.7.

Publishers Weekly. CCXXXVII, July 6, 1990, p.58.

USA Today October 18, 1990, p. D6.

The Washington Post Book World. XX, September 9, 1990, p.3.

Entered from the Sun

(Literary Masterpieces, Critical Compilation)

Entered from the Sun is the third novel about Elizabethan and Jacobean England by George Garrett, poet, short- story writer, critic, and professor of creative writing at the University of Virginia. The first, Death of the Fox (1971), dealt with the life and execution of Sir Walter Ralegh; the second, The Succession (1983), presented the complex drama whereby James I succeeded Queen Elizabeth. Entered from the Sun investigates the murder of Christopher Marlowe, the chief Elizabethan playwright before William Shakespeare. Garrett’s novels have received high critical praise for their research, artistry, and ability to recreate the past in terms meaningful to the present. The work of a poet, they are worlds apart from the formulaic escapist costume romances that all too often pass as historical fiction. Death of the Fox begins with the trial of Ralegh for treason, but before his execution, Garrett not only flashes back into Ralegh’s spectacular life but also digresses into the multifaceted aspects of the brilliant age of Elizabeth and the sordid age of James that followed it. The Succession not only deals with the events of 1603 but also moves back and forth through the half- century of politics and plots that culminated in them. Unlike Robert DeMaria’s To Be a King (1976), Entered from the Sun is not a straightforward novel about Marlowe. Though the investigation of Marlowe’s murder gives Entered from the Sun a tighter plot line than...

(The entire section is 2,405 words.)