King of Shadows (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

The story within a story in King of Shadows by Susan Cooper shines with her skills. Nat Field excels in acrobatics. He's chosen to participate in a company performing at the new Globe Theatre in London, but while rehearsing as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, he becomes ill and delirious. Fantasy ensues, and Nat goes back to Shakespeare's time, playing Puck to Shakespeare's Oberon, the fairy king, at the original Globe. Shakespeare is real and appealing, and descriptions of his Globe and London are illuminating.


Only in the world of the theater can Nat Field find an escape from the tragedies that have shadowed his young life. So he is thrilled when he is chosen to join an American drama troupe traveling to London to perform A Midsummer Night's Dream in a new replica of the famous Globe theater.
Shortly after arriving in England, Nat goes to bed ill and awakens transported back in time four hundred years -- to another London, and another production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Amid the bustle and excitement of an Elizabethan theatrical production, Nat finds the warm, nurturing father figure missing from his life -- in none other than William Shakespeare himself. Does Nat have to remain trapped in the past forever, or give up the friendship he's so longed for in his own time?

About the Author

Susan Cooper is one of our foremost fantasy authors; her classic five-book fantasy sequence The Dark Is Rising has sold millions of copies worldwide. Her books’ accolades include the Newbery Medal, a Newbery Honor, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and five shortlists for the Carnegie Medal. She combines fantasy with history in Victory (a Washington Post Top Ten Books for Children pick), King of Shadows, Ghost Hawk, and her magical The Boggart and the Monster, second in a trilogy, which won the Scottish Arts Council’s Children’s Book Award. Susan Cooper lives on a saltmarsh island in Massachusetts, and you can visit her online at

Praise For…

*"Readers will be swept up in Nat's detailed, sensory-filled observations of life in Shakespeare's time...[The] overall shape of the novel, with its finely drawn connections between Nat's story and A Midsummer Night's Dream, is superb."
— The Horn Book, starred review

*"[A] masterful novel."
— Publishers Weekly, starred review

*"Part historical fiction, part fantasy, wholly entertaining."
— Booklist, starred review

*"Readers...will revel in the hurly-burly of rehearsals and the performance before the queen, the near discoveries, the company rivalries, and some neatly drawn parallels."
— School Library Journal, starred review

"A dramatic and sensory feast."
— Kirkus Reviews

“In her portrayal of Shakespeare Cooper has created a superhero…[she] entertains her contemporary readers while giving them a first-rate theatrical education.”
— The New York Times Book Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9780689844454
ISBN-10: 068984445X
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: June 1st, 2001
Pages: 208
Language: English
Series: Aladdin Fantasy