Bestselling author Arthur Phillips won critical acclaim for
his novels Prague and The Egyptologist, and Publishers
Weekly called him a “master manipulator” for his ability to write
fiction spun out of imagination and illusion. In The Tragedy of Arthur,
Phillips tells the (mostly) true story of being asked to write the introduction
to a lost Shakespeare play entitled The Most Excellent and Tragical
Historie of Arthur, King of Britain.
The doomed hero of this tale is a young novelist struggling
with a con artist father who works wonders of deception. Imprisoned for decades
and nearing the end of his life, Arthur’s father reveals a treasure he’s kept
secret for half a century: a previously unknown play by William
Shakespeare. Arthur and his twin sister inherit their father’s mission to see the
manuscript published and acknowledged as the Bard’s last great gift to
humanity—unless it’s their father’s last great con.
By turns hilarious and haunting, this virtuosic novel, which includes
Shakespeare’s lost play in its entirety, brilliantly subverts our notions of
truth, fiction, genius, and identity, as the two Arthurs—the novelist and the
ancient king—play out their strangely intertwined fates.
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