The Shakespeare Mask: A Novel
Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Gold Award in Historical Fiction
“A clever and imaginative merging of fact and fiction. . . . Will no doubt win over legions of readers with Frohlich’s appreciation of Oxford as a flesh-and-blood man of the Renaissance—and the author of the Shakespeare canon.”
—Richard F. Whalen, author of Shakespeare: Who Was He?
“Frohlich makes the history of the period come alive and makes a convincing case for De Vere’s identity as the true author of Shakespeare’s work. But more importantly, he makes it a good tale—worthy of one of the finest writers in history whether De Vere is truly the man or not.”
—My Reader’s Block book blog
“Author Newton Frohlich invested some fifteen years in researching the controversial life and times of William Shakespeare. The result is a truly impressive novel in which close attention has been paid to historical detail. An inherently fascinating and entertaining read from beginning to end, The Shakespeare Mask is very highly recommended for community and academic library Historical Fiction collections.”
—Midwest Book Review
“That perennial favorite historical conspiracy theory—who really wrote the plays we attribute to William Shakespeare?—forms the backdrop for Newton Frohlich’s rollicking good novel The Shakespeare Mask. The main character here—braggart, hero, ladies’ man, gallant, courtier, and secret artist – is young Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, who’s a headstrong noble at the court of Queen Elizabeth and one of her favorites—and the more-or-less anonymous author of a series of compelling and hugely popular plays. But in order to avoid the lower-class stigma attached to play writing, de Vere has to work anonymously and let another take the public credit—and in this case that person is a certain merchant from Stratford, a Will Shakespeare who’s hilariously portrayed by Frohlich as a canny, ham-handed moron. Into this story Frohlich pulls all the points that have for so long made Oxford one of the leading candidates among the Shakespearean conspiracy theorists, all the uncanny correspondences his life had to incidents in Shakespeare’s plays. The Shakespeare Mask may win some converts to the Oxfordian case—and even the hold-outs will find it a hugely enjoyable read.”
—The Historical Novel Society
“A very well-written novel that explores the multi-faceted earl from the time he was a mere boy unto his escapades as an adult. We see a man with the best education could afford him, and with the means to read up on the many histories and stories that would later form the basis of all Shakespeare’s plays. It is a fast-paced work, with an easy style that does not detract from the age it is set in. I would recommend it to anyone curious about the debate on whether Shakespeare really wrote Shakespeare; and to whosoever might be interested in Edward de Vere, the man.”
—NetGalley reviewer, S. L.
1492: A Novel of Christopher Columbus,
the Spanish Inquisition, and a World at the Turning Point
(New, Updated Edition coming in 2016)
“Captivating, extraordinarily vivid first novel. . . . Frohlich, an attorney, spent eight years researching his book and brings remarkable realism to his chilling depiction of the fanaticism fueling the Inquisition. . . . This is a convincing, detailed re-creation of the Old World on the brink of discovery.
“Frohlich . . . shows a fine gift for storytelling, and his recounting of the horrors of the Inquisition is striking. Columbus himself emerges as a man of great talent with an almost mystical self-confidence. . . . The sheer power of the historical events is likely to keep the reader engaged.”
“A rollicking, readable, and fascinating story. . . . For a grand, sweeping tale of the history of Spain at the end of the 15th century, 1492 is hard to beat.”
—St. Louis Post Dispatch
“1492 is a novel. And a very fine one. . . . Newton Frohlich labored for eight years in the creation of this well-spun tale. . . . Impressive scholarship supports Frohlich’s fiction. . . . I read this excellent novel until the wee hours several nights successively until the final page. The presence of terror is keenly conveyed. The sense of injustice is breathtaking. The characters of queen and inquisitor and explorer take form and walk the pathways of your mind.”
—National Catholic Reporter