book cover of A Tip for the Hangman
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A Tip for the Hangman

(2021)
A novel by

 
 
Christopher Marlowe, a brilliant aspiring playwright, is pulled into the duplicitous world of international espionage on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I. A many-layered historical thriller combining state secrets, intrigue, and romance.

England, 1585. In Kit Marlowe's last year at Cambridge, he receives an unexpected visitor: Queen Elizabeth's spymaster, who has come with an unorthodox career opportunity. Her Majesty's spies are in need of new recruits, and Kit's flexible moral compass has drawn their attention. Kit, a scholarship student without money or prospects, accepts the offer, and after his training the game is on. Kit is dispatched to the chilly manor where Mary, Queen of Scots is under house arrest, to act as a servant in her household and keep his ear to the ground for a Catholic plot to put Mary on the throne.

While observing Mary, Kit learns more than he bargained for. The ripple effects of his service to the Crown are far-reaching and leave Kit a changed man. But there are benefits as well. The salary he earns through his spywork allows him to mount his first play, and over the following years, he becomes the toast of London's raucous theater scene. But when Kit finds himself reluctantly drawn back into the uncertain world of espionage, conspiracy, and high treason, he realizes everything he's worked so hard to attain--including the trust of the man he loves--could vanish before his very eyes.

Pairing modern language with period detail, Allison Epstein brings Elizabeth's privy council, Marlowe's lovable theater troupe, and the squalor of sixteenth-century London to vivid, teeming life as Kit wends his way behind the scenes of some of Tudor history's most memorable moments. At the center of the action is Kit himself--an irrepressible, irreverent force of nature. Thrillingly written, full of poetry and danger, A Tip for the Hangman brings an unforgettable protagonist to new life, and makes a centuries-old story feel utterly contemporary.

Genre: Historical Mystery

Praise for this book

"Stunning. With wit and humor, Epstein expertly weaves in authentic social, political and religious details, creating a compelling and evocative story that soars. Fans of thrilling historical fiction will be highly engaged by this fast-paced read." - Susanna Calkins

"Allison Epstein's imaginative take on Christopher Marlowe is virtuoso on many levels. Her London is perfectly rendered in all its pungence and pageantry. But the double-crossing, the moral ambiguity, and the bloodlust all give fresh legs to a literary mystery that has as much Philip as Kit Marlowe in it." - Lee Irby

"The Christopher Marlowe book we’ve been waiting for! Here is the sexy, witty, self-destructive genius who can’t stay out of trouble, blazing through an Elizabethan period that comes vividly to life in Epstein's well-researched novel. Epstein's sentences shine, with nothing fussy or ‘Ye Olde’ about them. More than once I was stopped dead by a sentence that nailed me in my tracks with its insight and clarity." - Ellen Kushner

"Debut author Allison Epstein delivers an absolute tour de force. This masterfully researched, beautifully written novel takes the reader inside the spy networks, taverns, theatres, and halls of power of Tudor England, with the irreverent Christopher Marlowe as our guide. Epstein is a talent to watch!" - Alyssa Palombo

"Allison Epstein pens a vivid, unforgettable hero in Kit Marlowe, Elizabethan playwright-turned-spy always sprinting one step ahead of disaster and talking a blue streak as he does so. Recruited by Elizabeth I's spymaster to infiltrate the cabal of Mary Queen of Scots, Kit finds his conscience tested to the limit even as his heart yearns for an unattainable beloved. A Tip for the Hangman is simultaneously moving, unsettling, hilarious, and tragic--a debut that will linger long after the last page is turned." - Kate Quinn

"Anyone who likes Elizabethan bad boys, theater, spies, high intrigue, suspense, and sex is going to be delighted by A Tip for the Hangman. The writing goes down like a pint of good ale on a hot day and the characters are excellent company to enjoy it with. Christopher Marlowe himself would have loved it. I certainly did." - Delia Sherman


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Used availability for Allison Epstein's A Tip for the Hangman

Hardback Editions

February 2021 : USA Hardback
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Title: A Tip for the Hangman: A Novel
Author(s): Allison Epstein
ISBN: 0-385-54671-8 / 978-0-385-54671-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Doubleday
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

February 2021 : USA Audio edition
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Title: A Tip for the Hangman: A Novel
Author(s): Allison Epstein
Publisher: Random House Audio
Availability: Amazon   


February 2021 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: A Tip for the Hangman: A Novel
Author(s): Allison Epstein
Publisher: Random House Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

February 2021 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: A Tip for the Hangman: A Novel
Author(s): Allison Epstein
Publisher: Doubleday
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA