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“The season’s big mainstream Shakespeare book. Elizabeth Russell is a terrific subject for a biography, and Laoutaris is a hugely energetic narrator who brings every detail of his story to life. So entertaining. A big, rambunctious biography carried off with storytelling aplomb and deep, sometimes groundbreaking research.” (Open Letters Monthly)

“The story of Shakespeare and the Countess has all the hallmarks of one of his famous plays – treachery, deception, death and triumph. A fantastic tale. Laoutaris discovered a web of deceit and a true villain worthy of any of Shakespeare’s plays – as well as information previously thought lost.” (Daily Mail)

“In this in-depth biography Laoutaris paints an engaging portrait of this powerful noblewoman. Those interested in religious history, especially the religious wars in England; the history and intrigues of Elizabethan England; women''s history; and Shakespearean history will find this book an immensely riveting read.” (Library Journal)

“I''m in love with the brilliant research on display in Shakespeare and the Countess and how it brings to light Lady Elizabeth Russell, a force to bereckoned with and a trailblazing early feminist.” (Observer, Best Books of the Year)

“This is a detailed biography of a vigorous (if not likeable) woman who stood close to power throughout the reign of Elizabeth I. [Elizabeth] Russell was a remarkable person - clever, domineering and ruthless... Laoutaris has done a thorough research job.” (Sunday Times)

“Laoutaris delves into all this with immense gusto, introducing his readers to a dizzying cast of characters and approaching his subject from myriad different angles. Thanks to [his] impressive research, this largely forgotten figure emerges as a woman of great erudition, determination and courage, scarcely less remarkable than her namesake and contemporary Elizabeth I.” (The Literary Review)

“A work of historical and literary detection which takes us straight to the heart of religious politics in Elizabethan England.” (The New Statesman)

“Fabulous! Chris Laoutaris reveals an untold story about William Shakespeare. It’s a gripping tale that enables us to see Shakespeare in a new light. I could not recommend it highly enough.” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir)

“One word William Shakespeare didn’t invent but could have: NIMBY. Laoutaris tells the story of Elizabeth Russell, the wealthy and educated daughter of King Edward VI's tutor. She argued that a new playhouse would bring 'all manner of vagrant and lewd persons' to her London neighborhood. Stymied, the theater group built the soon-to-be-famous Globe in another area.” (New York Post, 'This Week’s Must-Read Books,' 6/27/15)

“The dense story of the 1596 endeavor by a powerful, litigious countess to block the opening of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theatre in London. Intrepid research.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A tale of 16th century NIMBYism. The Puritan termagant Elizabeth Russell mounted a successful campaign against a theatre company, which boasted one W. Shakespeare as a partner. Laoutaris has unearthed a fascinating story.” (The Independent (UK))

“It could be a tale for the stage itself, involving an ambitious parvenu, a self-styled countess, more than a hint of treachery and one of the more spectacular examples of historical Nimbysim.” (Daily Telegraph)

“Life comes close to imitating art in Shakespeare and the Countess. Laoutaris resuscitates as the great playwright’s foil the long-forgotten Elizabeth Russell, a self-proclaimed dowager countess and unblushing harridan, who could have stepped out of a turbulent history play. Laoutaris throws fascinating light on the Puritans’ determined fight against both Roman Catholicism and the newly established Church of England and on her success in preventing the Burbages, the playwright’s partners, from opening an indoor theatre in Blackfriars beside her home.” (The New York Times)

“While Shakespeare serves as this book’s headline attraction, it is the ambitious, crafty, and eagerly litigious Elizabeth Russell who takes center stage in this power struggle-filled Elizabethan drama. Shakespeare scholar Laoutaris (Shakespearean Maternities) clearly respects Russell’s ability to outmaneuver her well-heeled enemies as he fleshes out her decades of property acquisitions and continual pressure on high-ranking members of her extended Cecil and Bacon families.” (Publishers Weekly)

“An energetic and enterprising book. Laoutaris has done some very valuable archival work. It is certainly a story worth telling, and Laoutaris tells it well.” (‹London Review of Books)

“Greatly enjoy[ed] Shakespeare and the Countess. Fascinating how much archives can still yield.” (Stanley Wells, General Editor of the Oxford Shakespeare series)

“In his compelling book Chris Laoutaris sheds new light on this turbulent episode in the Bard''s career. It is a fascinating story and Laoutaris tells it with a winning combination of scholarly rigour and elegant prose. Contributing something fresh in the crowded arena of Shakespeare studies is not easy, but Laoutaris has done precisely that. A splendid book.” (Herald Scotland)

“Genuinely groundbreaking. A kickass lady. Elizabeth Russell is awesome. It’s a thrilling tale and Laoutaris tells it superbly, with fluency and passion and a masterful eye for the dramatic. Emphatic, meticulously researched and strikingly original, Shakespeare and the Countess is bursting at the seams with new research.” (Marylebone Journal (Book of the Week))

“A splendid and original book. No one has fleshed out the characters [in the battle for Shakespeare''s playhouse] or followed in their footsteps as assiduously as Laoutaris. Shakespeare''s adversary was a formidable old trout fully deserving of a biography in her own right.” (Sunday Telegraph (Book of the Week))

“Engaging and informative. Readers will get a bird’s eye view of court life, religious infighting, political scheming, competing spies and international intrigue at the turn of the 17th century. Laoutaris is an indefatigable researcher and a fine prose stylist.” (Providence Journal)