Ill Met by Moonlight

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When young schoolmaster Will Shakespeare finds elves have stolen his wife and infant daughter, he must wend through the tangled affairs of the descendants of Titania and Oberon. The experience will change both him and fairyland forever.
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Ill Met by Moonlight

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When young schoolmaster Will Shakespeare finds elves have stolen his wife and infant daughter, he must wend through the tangled affairs of the descendants of Titania and Oberon. The experience will change both him and fairyland forever.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"To be or not to be?" This is a conundrum posed not by the immortal Bard of Avon but, in newcomer Hoyt's quirky novel, by Quicksilver, heir proper to the Elven Realms Above the Air and Beneath the Hills of Avalon. William Shakespeare, who has yet to begin his career as a playwright, suffers a terrible personal blow when Sylvanus, evil king of the Elven realm, kidnaps his new wife, Nan, and their baby, Susannah. The young Shakespeare vows to get them back, but just how he'll go about it he doesn't know. Enter Quicksilver, the elf who was tricked out of his inheritance by his brother, Sylvanus. In the form of the Dark Lady (Shakespeare's supposed muse), Quicksilver allies himself with Shakespeare to bring about the downfall of Sylvanus and return Nan and Susannah to Will. Much treachery, romance and elvish behavior follow. Hoyt's Will Shakespeare makes an engaging main character, and the book generally romps along as a straightforward fantasy. Numerous references to the plays and a number of direct quotations mixed in with the text add to the fun. In her epilogue, the author discusses her sources and makes a plausible case, given the meager evidence, for assuming that the playwright was happily married. This is a literate first novel with the promise of good things to come. (Oct. 9) Forecast: The Pre-Raphaelite blonde on the jacket scarcely fits the image of the Dark Lady, but she does serve to signal that this is a quality item with crossover appeal to Shakespeare fans. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Young William Shakespeare has yet to begin his career as a playwright and is instead supporting his extended family by teaching primary school children. His life is fairly uninspiring and dull until the day that he returns home to find that his wife, Nan, and baby daughter, Susannah, are missing, replaced by a crude wooden doll and a twig. As he searches the surrounding forest looking for them, he stumbles upon an amazing sight, a translucent palace nestled in the trees. Upon scrutiny, Will can make out elves clad in velvets and silks dancing across the marble floor. In the midst is his Nan, dancing with Sylvanus, king of the elves. Enter Quicksilver, the rightful heir to the throne and an elf who possesses the ability to switch genders at will. As Quicksilver, he befriends and defends Will against the elves who seek to harm him, but as the Lady Silver, she seduces Will. Together they try to rescue Nan and Susannah and dethrone Sylvanus. Framed as a play, the novel begins and ends with words from a narrator, and each scene (chapter) begins with short stage notes. In the epilogue, the author discusses her sources for this drama. Filled with quotations and references to the works of Shakespeare, this debut novel will interest the playwright's fans of any age. Unfortunately, a poor choice of cover art, a cryptic title, and a slow pace might make the book a tough sell for most young adults. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001, Ace, 278p, $21.95. Ages 15 to Adult. Reviewer: Heather Hepler SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol.24, No.6)
Library Journal
When young schoolmaster Will Shakespeare discovers that the fair folk under the hill have taken his wife and child to live with them, he seeks a way to recover them and encounters an elfin creature named Quicksilver who claims to know a way for him to do just that. Hoyt's first novel imparts a fanciful and charming interpretation of the origins of Shakespeare's plays as well as tells a tale of love and betrayal. With particular appeal for Elizabethan history buffs and literature lovers, this volume belongs in most fantasy collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781630110062
  • Publisher: Ill Met by Moonlight
  • Publication date: 9/15/2013
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah de Almeida Hoyt was born in Porto, Portugal, and devoted a good portion of her misspent adolescence reading Shakespeare and Shakespearean biography. She eventually paid enough attention to real life to earn a Master’s in Languages and Literature and acquire a husband and two children. Currently she lives in Colorado with her family and a growing number of cats. Her works of short fiction have been published in Analog, Fantastic, Absolute Magnitude and Weird Tales. News and updates about her work can be found
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2001

    An Original and Wonderful Entertainment

    Ill Met by Moonlight is unique among the few works of fiction that use William Shakespeare as a character. The trouble with most of those novels and films is their lack of daring. The precious few facts we know about the man are treated with such reverence that the author hardly dares to make even the most believable addition. Maybe Will played detective and investigated Kit Marlowe's death? Maybe a girl sneaked in to play a girl's part? Maybe the Queen herself dropped by to catch a performance? They amuse us by timidly stepping a toe into the great unknown sea of Shakespeare's personal history. Sarah Hoyt's Ill Met by Moonlight, on the other hand, is fired by an imagination and daring worthy of the playwright. The premise is simple and grand: what if Shakespeare based A Midsummer Night's Dream on his own encounters with the world of Faerie? And this is not the fairyland of Victorian children's stories that young Will falls into, rather it is the dark ethereal realm our ancestors thought they shared their world with. Kirk's Secret Commonwealth, inhabited by Tam Lin and Allingham's Fairies, in which a man who joins the dance in the fairy circle, may wake up the next day to find twenty years have passed in the world he knew. Will's wife Nan and young daughter Susannah are spirited away to a crystal palace that appears in an enchanted wood, and Will, going to their rescue, finds himself enmeshed in the political affairs of nearly immortal creatures who, for all their great powers, are as succeptible as mortals to lust and greed and rage and the will to power. And is seduced by the impossibly beautiful Lady Silver. And finds himself loved by Lord Quicksilver, for Quicksilver and Silver are one in the same, a shapechanger who transforms between the human sexes as others of his kind transform between species. Ill Met by Moonlight is an original and truly wonderful entertainment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2001

    A wonderful tale worthy of the Bard

    Take a story that has a poor man's wife and daughter kidnapped, the mysterious death of a monarch, the rightful heir passed over due to a physical abnormality, twist them and entwine them together, and you'd have a pretty good story. Now, make the poor man none other than a young William Shakespeare, living in Stratford prior to his ascension in London. The murdered monarchs turn out to be King Oberon and Queen Titania of the fairy people. The abnormality of the rightful heir Quicksilver turns out to be the ability to shape-shift between two aspects of himself, a quality that his brother Sylvanus exploits to become the king. Now mix up these elements and you'd swear that Sarah Hoyt had three witches stirring a brew and speaking cryptic riddles in her office when she wrote 'Ill Met By Moonlight'. In this well crafted novel we meet young Will Shakespeare, before he went to London, and before he wrote his first play. Earning a meager wage as a teacher, he lives with his wife Anne and infant daughter Susannah in a small house on his father's lot. His simple life is broken apart when he returns home one night to find his family gone. In trying to locate them Will finds that Sylvanus has taken them to the fairy palace so Anne can be wet nurse for Sylvanus' daughter whose human mother has recently died. Quicksilver in turn discovers Will, and uses him as a tool, embroiling him in a plot to regain his throne that forces Will to eventually fight the powerful magic of Sylvanus not only for his family, but for his life. In the end, While the Lady Silver is captivated by Will's mortal charm, Quicksilver gains a respect for Will and looks upon him as a kindred spirit and brother. Will gains a sense of greater purpose, a deeper love for his wife, and more than a few ideas for use later in life. Hoyt's use of language not only provides the images of the places and participants, but also the feeling of the setting as it must have appeared during Shakespeare's life. She seamlessly blends the real world with that of fairy as Will moves between the two worlds to find his family, and discovers that there may be more for him in life than his role as a humble teacher. Working to stay true to what is known of Shakespeare's early life, she weaves a story full of court intrigue, mysterious deaths, and hidden motivations that introduce many character types that show up in various later plays by the as yet still mortal bard. Written for readers of the twenty-first century, using characters and locations from the sixteenth, 'Ill Met By Moonlight' is an excellent tale of heroism, conspiracy, and the search for justice. A story that would be worthy of stage presentation in five acts, if such were still being written today.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Late summer dream: Shakespeare in the realm of the fairy

    A young Will Shakespeare is married to Nan and is a father to their baby Susannah. After a day of teaching, Will comes home to his Stratford residence only to find both his beloved females missing. He walks to her cousin¿s house to fetch Nan when he sees her dancing with a noble in a magical kingdom that cannot exist. He is unable to touch her because she is now in Fairyland. <P>Will has no hope of ever getting back Nan and his child until he meets Silverdawn in her guise as Lady Silver. She is the rightful heir to the fairy throne since her parents disappeared. However, her older brother Sylvanus has usurped the throne turning her into his supplicant. Silverdawn intends to use Will as an instrument of revenge even though she knows he will probably die for her cause. <P> ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT is a delightful Elizabethan fantasy that colorfully describes Shakespeare¿s mundane plane and the realm of fairy. Will is the hero of the tale, yet the novel belongs to Silverdawn, a fairy with heart. Hopefully Shakespeare will have more adventures in the land of the fairy. <P>Harriet Klausner

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