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Shakespeare Undead    by Lori Handeland order for
Shakespeare Undead
by Lori Handeland
Order:  USA  Can
Griffin, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

What is it with this new fad for pairing literary figures and zombie/vampire stories? First it was Jane Austen, now the Bard himself in Lori Handeland's Shakespeare Undead.

This version of the playwright is an ancient vampire and necromancer, who has long controlled his lust for blood, and has not created zombie armies for centuries. But when a plague of zombies assaults 1592 London, it's up to Shakespeare to deal with their creator, who must be a fellow vampire and necromancer, though unknown to him.

After zombie chasseur Katherine Dymond slits his throat in error (and with regret once she realizes what she's done) they meet once more and fall in love. Subsequently Kate, who's married to an unpleasant absentee husband, escapes her mansion - and the clinging Nurse her husband has set to spy on her - at night, not only to hunt zombies but to act in Shakespeare's plays (pretending to be a boy to play women's roles) and pursue their affair (think Shakespeare in Love).

A zombie army seems to be after William Shakespeare. He and Kate must not only discover why, but also foil a vampire opponent who (because he doesn't hesitate to drink human blood) is much more powerful than the Bard. All the while, Shakespeare is trying to avoid revealing his own lack of humanity to his new lover. It takes both Kate's dead mentor and a royal command to save the day.

Frequent references to Shakespeare's plays, as well as regular quotes (from both the plays and Dark Lady sonnets) add interest to the story, which is great fun as long as you don't take it too seriously ... especially the ending.

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