Reading 'The Elizabethans' by A.N Wilson. I have found the book so exciting that I have to get up and jump around as I proceed, overwhelmed, like a wiggly child.
And I am both delighted and discouraged. There is lot about Marlowe in there, as there should be of course. Sometimes I feel as if I will never know him-- his world is not reachable. And ultimately it is so alien. (And just as well, you really feel the claustrophobic North Korea vibe when you look carefully.)
I also got a lot out of God's Traitors by Jessie Childs. This was a painstakingly researched look at recusant families of the period, and their interactions with early Jesuits. I read that earlier last week. A little at a time, interspersed with Pratchett when it got too much. The book made it seem as if the whole of England was running around in circles knocking down walls and digging up wells. Eventually reading about secret rooms and hidden panels took on a Scooby-Doo quality for me. (Say it with me:'I would have gotten away with it if not for you meddling kids')
We are left with two tropes-- the man suspended by the arms on the dungeon wall, and the running and hiding and finding in Scooby Doo style. Not so funny when you read about Topcliffe and the families who struggled with terrible choices.
And so I am terribly glad for the freedoms I have. But they make it hard to know the people who lived through such times.