Monday, April 16, 2007

A Shakespeare play’s the thing -

A Shakespeare Play’s the Thing

THE BOOK OF AIR AND SHADOWS, by Michael Gruber. William Morrow, 480 pp., $24.95.

A man, a moll and a gun used to do the trick, but now thrillers come at you bulked out in learned controversy and scholarly intrigue. Blame it on "The Da Vinci Code" or "The Rule of Four" - take your pick. Sure, there are scams and cons galore in these blockbusters, but they don't involve knocking off the corner bank. There is much greater game afoot, usually involving world history. With "The Book of Air and Shadows," it's an unpublished play by Shakespeare, which, as one character effuses, "would be certainly the most valuable single manuscript, perhaps the most valuable portable object, in the world." Not many bank vaults can compete with that.

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