Luke lives in modern-day Australia with his mother and stepfather, Sam. Luke is burdened by a guilty secret: Sam has helped him to cheat in an entrance exam for a prestigious school.
Lulach lives in eleventh-century Scotland with his mother and stepfather, Macbeth, who becomes a great king and restores peace to the land.
Luke is studying Shakespeare’s play Macbeth at school and dreams about Lulach and Macbeth at night. But gradually Luke realises they are more than dreams. Somehow, he is reliving events that actually took place – and they’re nothing like Shakespeare’s version. In the play, Macbeth is a villain who murders the rightful king.
Why did Shakespeare lie about who Macbeth really was? Does truth really matter? As the lives of Luke and Lulach intertwine, the answers to these questions will change them both forever.
Questions about this book
Once a book has been short listed for the CBC Awards, your average author starts getting letters (often with sparkles pasted on the envelope) emails and notes passed on from the fruit shop owner's mother's niece, asking for details for school projects. So okay. Here are the answers!
How did I feel when I wrote the book? Busy. Happy. Frustrated. Having fun. Maybe hot and maybe cold…. It was three years ago so I can't remember!
How did I happen to write the book?
Answer 1. I'm a writer. It's my job. And it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Answer 2. Many years ago (okay, decades ago) when I was in year 11 I applied for the part of the Third Witch in MacBeth. I don't think anyone knew how old I was- they got a shock when I turned up for rehearsals in school uniform.
Anyhow, the play was magic. Watching actors turn a few words into another world; being able to talk theatre and plays with adults, who didn't talk down to me as a kid. Just listening every night to the words of Shakespeare still whispering across the centuries.
I loved it all.
Then a few years ago, researching something quite different, I came across an account of MacBeth- the real MacBeth- written long before Shakespeare. And I realised that every word of that brillant play was wrong.
I started really researching. I discovered it wasn't just a mistake, either- Shakespeare probably deliberately lied about MacBeth to please the king. The play that I adored was written for money, to please a king, for political propaganda.
But did it matter?
My first impulse was to say 'no'. But what if I wrote a play about John Howard, about how he was so brave he fought off the invading New Zealanders on the beaches of Surfers Paradise. .or so evil he killed his entire cabinet. Neither would be true…but would it matter if it were a brilliant play?
I think it WOULD matter. Our society is based on truth, on trust. Every time a politician lies…or just doesn't tell the whole truth about what they really intend and why…. Every time an advertisement bends reality to make their product look better than it is, the bonds that hold us together fray a little more.
And that is where the book came from.