The Intelligencer

The Intelligencer

London, 1593: It is three weeks before the murder of Christopher Marlowe, playwright and spy in Queen Elizabeth I's secret service -- a crime that remains unsolved to this day. Marlowe is hoping to find his missing muse as he sets off on a new intelligence assignment...and closes in on the secret that will seal his fate.
New York City, present day: Renaissance scholar turned private eye Kate Morgan investigates a shocking heist and murder involving a mysterious, antique manuscript recently unearthed in central London. What secret lurks in those yellowed, ciphered pages...and how, centuries later, could it drive someone to kill?
Propelling us from the shadows of the sixteenth-century underworld to the chambers of a clandestine U.S. intelligence unit, from the glitter of the Elizabethan court to the catacombs of ancient Rome, The Intelligencer's dual narratives twist, turn, and collide as they race toward a stunning finale.
  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743432931 | 
  • April 2005
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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions for The Intelligencer
1) The action in this novel moves rapidly between Elizabethan England and modern times, shifting centuries with each chapter. How did this atypical structure affect your reading of the story? What does the juxtaposition of two time periods offer that novels confined to one period do not?
2) Christopher Marlowe is presented as a complex man: poet, spy, patriot, friend, and enemy. And while he doesn't follow many rules, his ultimate commitment to doing what he thinks is right never wavers. This becomes clear in chapter six: "It was a delicate balance to maintain-satisfying his handlers while operating according to his own set of principles-but somehow, he was managing it." What do you think of this policy? Given that Marlowe knows his delicate balancing act is "doomed to an unpleasant end," why does he persist? Would you?
3) Kate admits that she has always admired "the Cat," the burglar who initially tried to steal the manuscript. The Cat was described as a modern-day Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving the proceeds to charity. Do you think Kate would ever change teams and become a thief herself? She seems to relish the thrill of thwarting the bad guys; do you see her getting involved in other, perhaps not so legal, work? Do the connections between her character and the character of Marlowe help to answer this question?
4) Talk about the way that human nature is portrayed in this novel. Does see more

About the Author

Leslie Silbert
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Leslie Silbert

Leslie Silbert graduated from Harvard with a bachelor's and master's degree in the History of Science and studied Renaissance literature at Oxford. She works as a private investigator in New York City under the guidance of a former CIA officer and is currently writing her second Kate Morgan novel. For more information, please visit