Prove a Villain
After two years spent away from Elizabethan London, young Hugh Seaton has returned to the Theatre in Shoreditch and to Dick Burbage and Strange’s Men, the theatrical company where once he was the chief tailor. Hugh had left to marry in the country, but when a sudden tragedy changes that plan, Hugh returns to London and the life he used to lead there. The good news is that he’s immediately re-united with the young man who was once his lover and best friend. The bad news is that the man in question is fiery, controversial playwright Christopher Marlowe, who’s accused of murdering one of the company’s players. Impulsively, Hugh not only hides Marlowe in his own rooms but takes it upon himself to investigate the murder and clear his friend’s name.
Prove a Villain continues Cheyenne Publishing’s winning streak in turning out well-crafted and entirely convincing gay historical fiction – as tough a genre to do well as it was a life to live well, as Marlowe’s own troubles with the law attest. In Warwick’s deft handling, the relationship between Hugh and Marlowe is both tender and convincing – there’s a modern enough air of acceptance but no more than a hint of anachronism. Marlowe in these pages is a lovable rogue, and he and Hugh interact with dozens of well-known historical figures (including a certain sharp-eyed playwright from Stratford). Warwick keeps several plots moving quickly forward, and the ending, while somewhat predictable, will certainly satisfy.