Text Box: A novel that is part literary mystery, part historical detective story, built around an obsessive search for the true author of Shakespeare's works.Stanley Quandary is a professor of English and a very ordinary man. But then he starts to have the strangest and most realistic dreams, dreams that seem to solve one of the greatest mysteries of all time, to expose a conspiracy of silence that is over 400 years old. They even suggest a way to win back his estranged wife. Of course, he might be going insane... .James Boyle is William Neal Reynolds Professor of Law at Duke University, and a columnist for the Financial Times online. His articles have also been published in The New York Times, Newsweek, the Times Literary Supplement, the International Herald-Tribune and the Guardian.

James Boyle, The Shakespeare Chronicles: A Novel

As Featured on National Public Radio's “The State of Things”When spineless literature professor Stanley Quandary starts having peculiar dreams, his life turns in a bold new direction. The dreams harbor an academic discovery that will rock Western civilization: the truth about who wrote Shakespeare. Duke University law professor James Boyle portrays the centuries old Shakespeare authorship debate in all its wacky complexity in his debut work of fiction, The Shakespeare Chronicles” The State of Things NPR / WUNC

“James Boyle can make a... subject intelligible, interesting, and fun for a popular audience while not sacrificing a whit of rigor. It's all there, worn as lightly as an Elizabethan courtier's sprezzatura performance. But the truth is that he's missed his calling. He's simply a brilliant satirist.” Sally Greene, Greenespace

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Click the frame to the left see a video of the author acting as Shakespeare's lawyer in a mock trial over the authorship question before 3 Supreme Court Justices.

Excerpts from The Shakespeare Chronicles

A contemporary academic..

"I write this down because these happenings should not go unrecorded. In these pages I will expose probably the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the world. And, if things proceed as they have been, I will shortly have conclusive historical proof of what I say. I will tell the truth, let those with faint hearts edit it as they wish."

who has disturbing dreams....

"One of the tapestries against the wall stirs and the young man moves. Christ, he is fast! He whirls to the table, scoops up the thing I thought was a letter opener and all in one movement rams it through the tapestry. As he does this, he screams, and for the first time I hear a voice clearly. "Cecil" he screams. A man falls out from behind the tapestry. Not slowly, the way they do in the films, but in clumsy agony, clutching himself and swearing...."

that seem to tell a story....

""Your Majesty" he says and I sense the rest only dimly. This must be Elizabeth! If she is in her late twenties then this must be somewhere around 1560. She is speaking again, asking the man when the court can hope to expect the pleasure of this fine young man's attendance. There is more laughter. Again it is too quick and nervous. Elizabeth turns to someone else, the hand drops from Edward's shoulder and the crowd turns away. Edward continues to stare at her. As the crowd mills about her she looks over her shoulder and sees him staring. She smiles, and this smile no-one sees but him."

which could change everything.

"I placed my prybar in the crack beside the slab marked 'Shakespeare,' hoping against hope they had labelled it correctly. The first stroke of the hammer made a noise like heaven falling. I had forgotten. This is a church. Its acoustics are meant to magnify the piping voices of English ministers, to clothe their reedy, Episcopalian tones in the glory of the God who roared from the burning bush."

This book is a labour of love, but it is also an experiment in using Creative Commons Licenses to make material freely available, while still selling both paper copies and electronic books that are free of DRM. (That is, downloadable books that you can give to friends or share copies of, without breaking laws or electronic locks.) I will be releasing a section per week freely on this website. If you are impatient, you can buy the whole thing now for $1.50 (e-book). If you hate reading books on screen, you can buy in paperback or hardcover.

Buy and read the whole the book online           Read Part 1 | 2 i.) | 2 ii.) | 3 i.) | 3 ii.) | 4i.) | 4ii.)