MAJESTIE: THE KING BEHIND THE KING JAMES BIBLE
Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins, 2010 - 2020
A NOVELLA AT 42,000 words (including subtitle), I RIDDE MY SOULE OF THEE AT LASTE is the natural literary offspring of MAJESTIE. It features many of the characters you read about—King James I of England, William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, Robert Cecil, and a host of others. Even William Tyndale makes an appearance in this book, or at least his book does. With the language and effervescence many have come to love about MAJESTIE, this novella is a retelling one of the oldest myths surrounding the creation of the King James Bible.
Did William Shakespeare have anything to do with the production of the great work? Did James secretly commission the Poet (as Shakespeare is known in the book) to be the last filter, the aesthetic captain of the new translation, assuring that this grand enterprise had a singular voice cover to cover, as scholars today so proudly boast of? Did Shakespeare die an ignominious death by eating too many pickled herrings and drinking too much canary wine as was reported by a Stratford vicar, or did Ben Jonson, Shakespeare's friend and so-called rival end the life of the Poet?
If you have read MAJESTIE, or plan to, this book will delight in new and unexpected ways. You don't have to be a Shakespeare scholar to enjoy this historical fiction. The following passage is taken from Chapter 4: NOT A POET AMONG THEM. It is 1608. In the Henry VII chamber at Richmond Palace, James speaks with Shakespeare, the Poet, and explains his royal commission. Show your reverence. The king speaks . . .
“Majestie is not some lone glittering star, but a living force, a capable and terrible force. Our new translation must reflect this Majestie above all things—glorious, incandescent, gorgeous Majestie. We must give back to God the highest and the best that is in our language and in ourselves. Majestie—solemn, terrible, imposing Majestie. Lucid, resplendent, express, consecrated. Like the waters that cover the sea, so this great metal must gild our reign. Do you mark me, William?”
The King seemed almost outside himself in these moments, to the great admiration of the Poet. The contrast of what he had witnessed for himself in this private chamber and the report of others, all the claims of bombast and smutty jest, against the eloquence and providence by which the King now spoke was difficult to reconcile. He began to entertain an entirely new and promising vision of the piteous king, who, at that moment, was not in character but in himself. This was not dramaturgy. It was belief. The Poet said little, if anything, choosing to nurse the charm, to feed quietly upon it, as to have it pass.
“Majestie . . . ” the Poet said again, in the affirmative.
This novella is actually an extract, that is, one half of a larger novel, O DEATH ROCK ME ASLEEP, that will release late winter of 2021. The novel takes place in two time periods, 1608 London and present day Nashville, Tennessee. A Da Vinci Code meets Shakespeare In Love kind of tale, as the book opens successful songwriter, Brook Allen, is grieving the loss of his wife, April, a professor of Shakespeare Studies who, by discovery, theorized that William Shakespeare, by secret commission, actually had part in the creation of the King James Bible, an event that the academic world has long written off as myth. The added narration helps further explain the 1608 story told in I RIDDE MY SOULE OF THEE AT LASTE.
But now, to the cast of characters, in order of appearance.
King James I of England / VI of Scotland is not pictured with the others, for it is improper for a king. He does, however, maintain a continuous presence, here, and throughout the book. The players are listed as they appear in the image below, from left to right, top to bottom:
Henry Wriothesley: 2nd Earl of Southampton, once patron of Shakespeare
Robert Cecil: The Earl of Salisbury, First Minister of England, patron of Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson: Playwright and poet, so-called rival of Shakespeare
William Shakespeare: The Poet
Francis Bacon: Lawyer, Attorney General of England, friend of Shakespeare
Robert Greene: Playwright, pamphleteer, university wit
Christopher Marlowe: Playwright and poet
Anthony Bacon: Statesman, world traveler, friend to Shakespeare, brother to Francis
Simon Forman: Astrologer, occultist
Michael Drayton: Warwickshire poet, friend of Shakespeare
Visit our subscribe page and we can let you know when you can pre-order the book from Amazon, and the release date of the print version of the new book. This historical novella is a production of BUDDING GROVE.
I RIDDE MY SOULE OF THEE AT LASTE
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