A Tip for the Hangman

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“Allison Epstein pens a vivid, unforgettable hero in Kit Marlowe, Elizabethan playwright-turned-spy always sprinting one step ahead of disaster and talking a blue streak as he does so. Recruited by Elizabeth I’s spymaster to infiltrate the cabal of Mary Queen of Scots, Kit finds his conscience tested to the limit even as his heart yearns for an unattainable beloved. A Tip for the Hangman is simultaneously moving, unsettling, hilarious, and tragic—a debut that will linger long after the last page is turned.”
—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network

“The spy thriller, historical fiction queer mashup of your dreams, A Tip for the Hangman is a literary tour-de-force from debut author Allison Epstein. Meticulously researched and beautifully crafted, this novel takes you inside the spy network of Tudor England and illuminates the splendid, twisted lives the spies themselves lead.”
—Barnes and Noble, Most Anticipated New Book Releases of February 2021

“This masterfully researched, beautifully written novel takes the reader inside the spy networks, taverns, theatres, and halls of power of Tudor England… Epstein is a talent to watch, and A Tip for the Hangman is not to be missed!”
—Alyssa Palombo, author of The Borgia Confessions

“[T]he double-crossing, the moral ambiguity, and the bloodlust all give fresh legs to a literary mystery that has as much Philip as Kit Marlowe in it… Epstein [is] a gifted writer who is in command of her prodigious talent.”
—Lee Irby, author of Unreliable

“The Christopher Marlowe book we’ve been waiting for! Here is the sexy, witty, self-destructive genius who can’t stay out of trouble, blazing through an Elizabethan period that comes vividly to life in Epstein’s brilliantly-researched novel.”
—Ellen Kushner, author of Swordspoint

“Epstein’s diverting debut gallivants through Elizabethan England . . . a fun escapade.”
—Publishers Weekly

“In her stunning debut, A Tip for the Hangman … Epstein expertly weaves in authentic social, political and religious details, creating a compelling and evocative story that soars.”
—Susanna Calkins, author of the award-winning Lucy Campion historical mysteries

“Anyone who likes Elizabethan bad boys, theater, spies, high intrigue, suspense, and sex is going to be delighted by A Tip for the Hangman… Christopher Marlowe himself would have loved it. I certainly did.”
—Delia Sherman, author of The Porcelain Dove

“[T]hrilling and romantic… Epstein successfully evokes both the beauty and the brutality of 16th-century England.”
—Historical Novel Society

“[Epstein’s] fizzy debut is a Tudor espionage tale, set among spies close to Mary, Queen of Scots. One of them is Christopher Marlowe, whose spywork bankrolls a rather promising career… a clever Netflix binge.”
The Chicago Tribune, 25 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2021