• Stevie

Book Review: A Tip for the Hangman

Updated: Mar 8



Christopher Marlowe, a brilliant aspiring playwright, is pulled into the duplicitous world of international espionage on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I. A many-layered historical thriller combining state secrets, intrigue, and romance.




A Tip for the Hangman

by Allison Epstein


ISBN-13: 9780385546713

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Publication date: 02/09/2021

Pages:384

Genre: Historical Fiction * LGBTQ * Mystery * Spy-Craft




I proudly paid for this book. I received no compensation for my review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.



England, 1585. In Kit Marlowe's last year at Cambridge, he receives an unexpected visitor: Queen Elizabeth's spymaster, who has come with an unorthodox career opportunity. Her Majesty's spies are in need of new recruits, and Kit's flexible moral compass has drawn their attention. Kit, a scholarship student without money or prospects, accepts the offer, and after his training the game is on. Kit is dispatched to the chilly manor where Mary, Queen of Scots is under house arrest, to act as a servant in her household and keep his ear to the ground for a Catholic plot to put Mary on the throne.


While observing Mary, Kit learns more than he bargained for. The ripple effects of his service to the Crown are far-reaching and leave Kit a changed man. But there are benefits as well. The salary he earns through his spy-work allows him to mount his first play, and over the following years, he becomes the toast of London's raucous theater scene. But when Kit finds himself reluctantly drawn back into the uncertain world of espionage, conspiracy, and high treason, he realizes everything he's worked so hard to attain—including the trust of the man he loves—could vanish before his very eyes.




It is hard for me to believe this is a debut novel by this author.

This book is so well written, page-turning and engrossing.

The story follows the very interesting life of Christopher "Kit" Marlowe, a playwright, who goes from being raised in a broken home to attending Cambridge University on a scholarship to becoming propositioned and becoming a spy for the Queen of England.

Upon arrival now in the employ as the Lady Mary Queen of Scots new footman in her residence Sheffield Manor Kit must utilize his newly obtained spy craft skills to obtain information about the goings on at the manor. This will lead to Kit's intriguing and world of spies, noblemen, and some unsavory characters.

This author immerses you in right from the beginning into this Elizabethan-era with such a descriptive and an engaging plot line.

The one take away that some readers may have an issue with is the modern dialogue of the characters. But I believe the author does such a a great job distinguishing the characters that it really wasn't an issue for me.

If your a fan of historical fiction/mystery you absolutely must READ THIS BOOK.

Anxiously anticipating more from this author.











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