London is under siege by the Black Plague, closing its theaters and losing its frightened citizens to the countryside. Lord Westfield's Men decide upon the relative safety of the road and a tour of the North. Before they can pack up and depart, one player in the troupe is murdered.
As they travel, the company of players managed by its bookholder, Nicholas Bracewell, learns that their arch-rivals, Banbury's Men, have been pirating their best works. Hoping to shake off Banbury's Men, actor Lawrence Firethorn eventually leads his troupe to York where all is revealed in a thrilling performance.
Originally published in the U.S. in 1990 by St. Martin's Press, The Trip to Jerusalem is the third Nicholas Bracewell Elizabethan mystery following The Queen's Head and The Merry Devils.
From Publishers Weekly
Marston ( The Merry Devils ) here skillfully develops an engaging tale of murder, politics and general mayhem focused on the travels and tribulations of Westfield's Men, a 16th-century, London-based troupe. As the Great Plague decimates the city, the right to stage plays, always precarious, has been revoked. In an effort to find work, Lawrence Firethorn, the group's leader, takes his contentious crew on the road. Misfortune dogs their every step. Banbury's Men, a rival yet inferior company, purloins Westfield's plays, costumes and even players. Westfield also finds itself enmeshed in the vicious battle raging between the Church of England and the recently disenfranchised Catholics. The climax occurs at an inn in the city of York called "The Trip to Jerusalem." Marston uses period dialogue; it is cleverly handled and easily understood. A historically authentic depiction of life in England is lightly woven into the main story, and a delightfully ribald flavor freshens many scenes.