If only the author had just stuck to his very interesting plot, instead of continually sharing pointless details and side stories about the characters.
The narrator rambles on about things not connected to the main lost-manuscript-of-Shakespeare plot that's supposed to be the story, taking me away from that story and losing me in the process.
a very enjoyable, but deeply flawed book... as the book wends its way toward its conclusion you are always asking yourself "is the prize real or fake"...gruber constantly keeps you off balance and never really lets go with the truth until practically the very last moment...
Now make room on the shelf for a new guilty pleasure from Michael Gruber called The Book of Air and Shadows. Gruber's story revolves around the search for the most sought-after document in the world: a new play by William Shakespeare. After struggling for hours with the difficult handwriting and archaic spelling, Crosetti determines that he's reading a letter written by a 17th-century soldier on his deathbed. The letter describes a spectacularly exciting life, which culminated in an assignment to spy on a popular playwright and suspected Roman Catholic, Shakespeare. While waiting for some Russian gangsters who will surely kill him, he's typing out the story of how he got in this mess. And all of this madcap adventure in the present is mirrored in a story we gradually decipher from that 17th-century letter, describing a nefarious plot by radical Puritans to entrap "the secret papist Shaxpure." While twisting the plot into great knots of complexity, Gruber mixes in fascinating details about rare manuscripts, intellectual property, and ancient and modern cryptography.
Just dragged myself through the first chapter and i'm already questioning whether i should continue reading. when he does actually talk about the plot of the book, the story is almost intriguing.
This book starts out with an abundance of backstory about what a new Shakespeare manuscript would mean to the world. The first interesting bit is that none of the characters are really all that into Shakespeare. It starts with the lawyer hiding out from the bad guys, and takes the form of him journaling his story up to that point. This is intermixed with the story of the filmmaker who found the clues to the manuscript, which is told in third person. I get that it is a defining characteristic of our narrator - he ruins his life over his obsession with sex, as a matter of fact - it just seemed a little alien to me in a novel that I thought was going to be primarily about Shakespeare. Which makes his parts of the story, told in first person, very interesting. It could just as easily have been the Ark of the Covenant for all it mattered to the story (other than some token bits about intellectual property and copyright ownership, that is).
Actually that's a bit unfair to The Book of Air and Shadows. I finally realized that after two months I probably wasn't going to finish it. All in all, The Book of Air and Shadows was a good light read.
Gruber's "Jimmy Paz" trilogy, while critically acclaimed, did not sell at the same levels as the Butch Karp series in the United States.