London, 1600. Rarely, if ever, has a city been so rich in stories to tell: Shakespeare’s plays, Gloriana’s court, explorers, scientists, alchemists, the violence of the bear pit, the threat of rebellion, the spectre of plague, the fear of witchcraft. No wonder Rupert Isaacson was drawn to the tale of William Banks. How did a poor boy from the Welsh borders transform himself into the city’s most famous entertainer? And once established, how did he manage to so astonish the thousands that gathered to watch him and his horse Marocco perform, that they were driven to leave the city in fear of their lives. As an exile, Banks is forced to live by his wits, escaping the Inquisition, fleeing across the ocean to Virginia and finally returning to play out his own desire for revenge against the backdrop of civil war.
To relate all the many lives, loves and intrigues of Mr. Banks and his horse would fill a shelf of books so we’re pleased to confirm that Rupert Isaacson is already deep into his research. There’s a lot to cover: the Elizabethan underworld; techniques of Renaissance horsemanship; the international brotherhood of gypsy horse-breeders in early modern Europe; the Powhatan Indians approach to animal husbandry; the horrors of Elizabethan sea travel; the use of cavalry in the English Civil War; the shifting fortunes of the Earls of Essex and the economics of running a Jacobean tavern, all will add to the richness of the story.
Over the next year, you can join Rupert on his journey, as Banks’s Game begins to take shape. Inside his Shed, he will share his research findings and let subscribers read extracts from work in progress. You can try the first extract now, to give you a taste of what is to come.
If the book is successfully funded 5% of all pledges will go to support the Horse Boy Foundation.
UNBOUND TIP: A historical doorstop for the discerning in the tradition of Labyrinth, Wolf Hall and the works of C.J. Sansom
Thousands of them were there, spread below us on Ludgate Hill, roaring.
"Banks’s Game! Banks’s Game!"
Marocco, despite his old age, stepped into his piaffe as light as air, light as the warm breeze coming over the Thames from the forested Surrey Wolds. I did not look down. Jimson-weed from the Americas coursed through my veins like fire. I saw things that I knew should not be there.
All supporters get their name printed in every edition of the book. All levels include the ebook and immediate access to the author's shed.