First Chapter First Paragraph: Fools and Mortals

eca8f-fistchapEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros to share the first paragraph sometimes two, of a book that she’s reading or is planning to read soon.

This week’s first paragraph is from Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell.

Fools and Mortals


I died just after the clock in the passageway struck nine.

There are those who claim that Her Majesty, Elizabeth, by the grace of God, Queen of England, France and of Ireland, will not allow clocks to strike the hour in her palaces. Time is not allowed to pass for her. She has defeated time. But that clock struck. I remember it.

I counted the bells. Nine. Then my killer struck.

And I died.



A dramatic new departure for international bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, FOOLS AND MORTALS takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.

Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – and that of the playhouses, playwrights and actors vying for acclaim and glory – propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal.

Showcasing his renowned storyteller’s skill, Bernard Cornwell has created an Elizabethan world incredibly rich in its portrayal: you walk the London streets, stand in the palaces and are on stage in the playhouses, as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.

This is Bernard Cornwell’s latest book, published on 19th October 2017 and as the blurb says is a new departure for him, set in the Elizabethan era – in 1595 as William Shakespeare and his company are preparing to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’ve read over half of this book and I’m enjoying it immensely.

What do you think?  Would you continue reading? 

14 thoughts on “First Chapter First Paragraph: Fools and Mortals

  1. I love historical fiction, and the blurb sounds interesting. BUT, I don’t like books where you know the main character will die in the first sentence. Or, maybe he is not the main character?


  2. What an interesting perspective to take on the Shakespearean world, Margaret. I’d definitely want to know more, and that introduction certainly does get the attention, doesn’t it? I’ll be keen to know what you think of it when you’ve finished.

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  3. I like Cornwell and the Elizabethan world and anything related to Shakespeare, so yep, I would continue to read this. Compelling opening!


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