Writing The Adventures of Christopher Marlowe trilogy was something of a literary experiment. In my academic work at Cardiff University, I employ plagiarism software to detect collocations shared between Shakespeare and his contemporaries, such as Peele, Kyd and, indeed, my dashing protagonist, Marlowe. My examinations of such phrases used by Elizabethan dramatists enable me to form theories concerning collaboration, authorial imitation and authorship.
I have always been fascinated by collaboration, and the ways in which authors, according to accommodation theory, consciously or unconsciously echo each other’s portions. I asked a fellow indie author, Robert NC Thomas, to collaborate with me on the first book in the series, Kit Marlowe and the Demon Legion, because he was far more experienced in the action/adventure genre than I was, and I have long been an admirer of his writing style. We have collaborated on many projects together, including a radio parody of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, and a screwball noir comedy for Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Satan Met a Shamus. We therefore have intimate knowledge of each other’s strengths and weaknesses as writers.
Using plagiarism software and our respective portions for the first book (as well as his book Rupert Pinter and the Curse of the Tuatha De Danann, and my own first venture into fiction, Cinnamon Twigs: The Life and Pseudocide of a Celebrity), I was able to detect idiolectic formations that distinguished our authorial styles. This enabled me to consciously imitate his style in an attempt to unify the book, although inevitable difficulties arose in characterisation and plot consistency at times. We had met up to plot the story in our favourite pub, The Woodville, and decided that we would assign respective chapters between us, and I would subsequently edit them. There is only one chapter in Kit Marlowe and the Demon Legion that melds our individual passages, but it is far too much to hope that one day attribution scholars will attempt to distinguish our hands! This process of collaboration gave me insights into the ways Elizabethan co-authors might have worked.
In the knowledge of my collaborator’s phrasal repetends, I was able to maintain the authorial voice of the first book when I came to write its prequel/sequel, Kit Marlowe and the Doomsday Fleet, solo. By time I came to the third book in the trilogy, Kit Marlowe and the Fatal Engines of War (forthcoming), I was able to unconsciously assimilate many of Robert NC Thomas’s phrasal structures into my own work. Furthermore, I strove to link the language of the books to the works of Shakespeare, Marlowe and company, so that you could say the whole trilogy is permeated by a plethora of authorial voices. I hope fans of Marlowe and Shakespeare will enjoy the reading experience; there are plenty of knowing winks throughout these stories. I am very grateful to Robert NC Thomas for his help on the first book, and to Charlotte ‘Meg’ Smith for her lovely artwork.
Academia aside, the books, though extremely violent and dark in parts (much like Elizabethan and Jacobean dramas), are good fun and are interlaced with comedy. A lot of research has gone into developing the characters, based on historical material concerning figures such as Marlowe, Kyd, John Whitgift and Francis Walsingham. I have taken liberties at times for the sake of adventure and readership, and Marlowe’s musings on his fellow lodger’s dramatic corpus are somewhat subjective and based on my support for Brian Vickers’ work on Thomas Kyd’s extended canon.
I would be incredibly grateful if readers of Cardiff Shakespeare could download these books, available on Amazon Kindle for just 77p each, and hopefully enjoy these short, easy (and admittedly rather silly!) reads.
Kit Marlowe and the Demon Legion: The Adventures of Christopher Marlowe (Book 1)
Available for download at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kit-Marlowe-Demon-Legion-Christopher-ebook/dp/B00JDLWKIC/ref=pd_ecc_rvi_3
Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe, poet and spy, is sent to investigate the villainous Barnaby Ithamore, who intends to raise an army of demons from hell in order to destroy the world. In this pulse-pounding action/adventure story, the swashbuckling hero, armed with his trusty rapier, undergoes a breathless voyage across Elizabethan England, Spain, Italy and Germania, concluding in an explosive climax off the coast of Portugal… James Bond’s world of espionage meets the dark age of William Shakespeare in this unforgettable first book in The Adventures of Christopher Marlowe series.
Kit Marlowe and the Doomsday Fleet: The Adventures of Christopher Marlowe (Book 2) [Kindle Edition]
Available for pre-order at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kit-Marlowe-Doomsday-Fleet-Christopher-ebook/dp/B00NB51LVI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1409861279&sr=8-2&keywords=marlowe+freebury
The Adventures of Christopher Marlowe continue in this thrilling prequel/sequel to Kit Marlowe and the Demon Legion! It is the eve of the Spanish Armada, and Marlowe is eager to join his comrades at Plymouth and wage war against Catholic Spain. However, his boss, the spymaster Francis Walsingham, has other plans, and sends him on a mundane mission to Linlithgow, in Scotland, to judge where the Scottish King stands on Protestantism… Marlowe soon finds that danger is never far away though, and, in the company of the beautiful heroine Chyna Dahl, pits himself against three deadly witches and an army of the dead. His mission leads him to the White Cliffs of Dover, and to an unexpected, devastating showdown… Hilarious, yet dark and extremely violent, Kit Marlowe and the Doomsday Fleet is an adventure like no other.
– Darren Freebury-Jones
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