Today’s New York Times includes a review by William Grimes of the new novel by Charles Nicholl: The Lodger Shakespeare: His Life on Silver Street. In this novel, Nicholl draws on the details known of Shakespeare’s life to create an intriguing new picture of renaissance England. It’s a bit of a relief to find someone willing to let Shakespeare be Shakespeare at a time when there is a new round of flogging the authorship question happening.
Of course Shakespeare isn’t the only playwright from the period to prompt modern writers. Anthony Burgess’s A Dead Man in Deptford remains a classic in this department.
Also, if you are looking for a fun read sometime, try Weird Tales from Shakespeare edited by Katherine Kerr and Martin H. Greenberg. Great fun is had both with the biography and with characters from the plays in this collection of short stories.