In this absorbing historical detective story, acclaimed broadcaster and historian Michael Wood takes an entirely fresh approach to the Bard's life, vividly re-creating the turbulent times through which he lived and painting a more convincing and complete portrait of the artist than has ever before been thought possible. Drawing on an extensive range of sources, Wood takes us back into the staterooms and back alleys of Elizabethan England. Marked by murderous plots and government-sponsored terror, religious divisions and rebellious movements, the Spanish Armada and the colonization of the Americas, the dramatic world in which Shakespeare moved is here conjured up like never before. We enter the lodgings where he wrote his greatest plays and meet the real-life characters who inspired his work; doctors, landladies, musicians, foreigners, and members of London's contemporary black population. With 130 illustrations, full-color and black-and-white, Shakespeare is a book to enjoy on many levels-as both a world-class work of historical investigation and a fascinating yet informative visual feast. Filled with fresh discoveries, Michael Wood's pathbreaking work gloriously reinstates the image of William Shakespeare as a thinking artist, a man who held up a mirror to his age, but who was also, as his friend Ben Jonson said, 'not of an age, but for all time.'