I normally don't buy hardcover books unless I'm really really eager to read a just-published book. This one was half-off and sounded rather interesting.
I think you really have to have some background knowledge about Shakespeare and his plays to really enjoy this book.
The plot is based on a really good idea but Ackroyd doesn't develop the story well enough. The characters seem pretty constructed and sometimes he tells little stories on the side which don't seem to have any significance at all.
The second half of this book is pretty confusing or just disordered...
The story needed too long to develop and then ended rather sudden. I got the feeling that half way through the book the author just wanted to finish it as fast as he could.
good idea, bad realization.