In 1583, nineteen year old Christopher Marlowe is visited by a man claiming to represent his benefactors. The man comes with an offer from Sir Francis Walsingham, the Queen’s spymaster. Rumors abound of a plot to overthrow the Queen and Walsingham wants Marlowe to uncover the truth.
Marlowe has always been known as a brawler and womanizer, but he is also a genius. He’ll need all of his skills if he’s to try and solve the mystery Walsingham has handed him. For failure would mean death – not only for Marlowe but for Queen Elizabeth herself.
Christopher Marlowe is an interesting individual in that for as much as we know about him there is just as much that is unknown. Was he really a spy for Walsingham and the Privy Council? Did he write Shakespeare’s plays? Did he fake his own death?
In A Prisoner in Malta, Depoy attempts to answer at least one of those questions. In it, he has a young Marlowe “invited” to help uncover a plot to overthrow the Queen.
Historical purists are likely going to take issue with this novel. The way the characters speak is more akin to modern speech patterns than to how they likely spoke during that time. Also, there were times where it seemed Marlowe was almost too smart. In a few places he took intuitive leaps with minimal evidence that didn’t quite make sense.
Minor quibbles aside, A Prisoner in Malta was a good book. Readers who are looking for an entertaining read will likely enjoy it. It is a nice start to a series that has a good deal of promise.