Read the Reviews


“A fascinating blend of Renaissance espionage and modern intrigue. If you liked The Da Vinci Code, you’ll love The Intelligencer.”

bestselling author of The Protector

“This is terrific—an intelligent, graceful, sophisticated novel that packs a real thriller’s punch. Think Shakespeare In Love meets James Bond.”

bestselling author of The Enemy

“This book should come with a ‘Dangerous’ label, for once you pick it up, you cannot put it down. I missed book deadlines, forgot to pay bills, gave up sleep for the duration, and it is all Leslie Silbert’s fault!”

bestselling author of The Dragon’s Lair

“A fast-paced, entertaining romp through the worlds of both the Elizabethan literary scene and twenty-first century espionage. Exciting, engrossing, amusing, informative—fun from beginning to end!”

bestselling author of Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles

“Both impressively learned and absorbingly entertaining. Leslie Silbert does a remarkable job of presenting fascinating details from the world of espionage—both Tudor and contemporary—and weaving them into a fast-paced, engaging and witty thriller.”

award-winning author of A Conspiracy of Paper

“An unforgettable tale of espionage and high-level politics played across time and continents. Make sure your electric bill is paid. You'll be up all night reading!”

bestselling author of The Coil



“An artful and ingenious blend of Elizabethan history and twenty-first century espionage by a gifted and insightful observer of the age-old dark side of intelligence.”

former Acting Director for Operations at the CIA


“Discover this year’s Da Vinci Code.

If this book were to be sold to a Hollywood film studio (and in all likelihood it will be) the ‘pitch’ would go something like this: Think James Bond meets Elizabethan-era intrigue, meets TV’s ‘Alias’ with a dash of Three Days of the Condor all mixed together with a large literary helping of the brilliant historical plotting found in The Da Vinci Code.

And that’s just the first couple of chapters...

This spellbinding first novel is penned by newcomer Leslie Silbert, who herself comes from an intriguingly mixed background of Harvard graduate, Renaissance literature scholar, and private investigator. With this novel, she crafts an imaginative story that weaves together 16th-century English politics, modern day high-tech espionage, and globe-trotting adventures into a tough, thrilling, and thoroughly exciting ride through history.

In 1593, Christopher Marlowe—poet, playwright, and double agent (known as an intelligencer)—embarks upon what could be his final assignment trying to uncover who in Queen Elizabeth’s government is selling weapons to the enemy. But just as he’s about to reveal the corrupt individual’s startling identity, he is mysteriously slain. Fast-forward 400 years to when Marlowe’s top secret last manuscript is unearthed in modern-day London—and someone will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. Private eye Kate Morgan is hired to find out why, but what she discovers is an intricate plot that points to the men behind Marlowe’s death—while simultaneously pushing her closer to her own.

Moving in time between the 16th century and the present, Silbert deftly keeps us guessing till the last secret is revealed. This thriller heralds the debut of a new author with a real talent for spinning a memorable mystery.”

Book of the Month Club

“Dazzling…a literary adventure and an enticing treat for book clubs.

The Intelligencer offers book clubs a combination of two kinds of reading enjoyment. From the very first pages, which invoke the picturesque atmosphere of Elizabethan London, readers are immediately drawn in to a carefully reconstructed historical picture—and are shortly introduced to figures who are familiar from the pages of history. But, like The Da Vinci Code—another thriller which mixes erudition and suspenseful adventure—The Intelligencer never lets history slow down its sense of up-to-the-minute danger and hi-tech excitement, which owes much to Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

Reading groups will no doubt love following along as first-time author Silbert—through the guise of her young private-eye heroine, Kate Morgan—unravels one of literary histories most beguiling and overlooked mysteries, the untimely and violent death of Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe was a contemporary of Shakespeare, the author of such great plays as Dr. Faustus, which have proved an indelible influence on writers ever since. Murdered in 1593, Marlowe was not only a great writer cut off in his prime—he was also a rumored spy and dealer in political intrigue.

The author might build an exciting enough tale by spinning her own imagined version of what really happened to Marlowe—and indeed she does, providing reading groups with a great opportunity to discuss her alternate version of events. But The Intelligencer goes further, weaving together this Renaissance story with a parallel plot, in which Kate Morgan (who, like Marlowe, is more than she seems at first glance), must figure out the significance of a strange Elizabethan manuscript, which contains a beguiling code.

Savvy book club readers, of course, won’t take long in figuring out that this document figures in a game played by shadowy international forces, and that Silbert’s heroine is in trouble far deeper than her grad-school education had prepared her for. But the pleasure for reading groups will come in following along as the author shifts between colorful history and up-to-the-minute espionage—and discussing where fact and fantasy diverge in this tale of ancient secrets and double meanings. Book clubs will find The Intelligencer may send them running for their old English Lit notebooks, in the spirit of the novel’s own playful investigating.”

Barnes & Noble
Book Club Recommendation



“Twisting a modern tale around old secrets, codes, ciphers, treachery, and murder . . . it's a winner.”

The Poisoned Pen

“Cleverly crafted…one of the best books I have ever read. My highest possible recommendation!!!”

Murder by the Book
Staff Recommendations

“An absolutely stunning read. Atmospheric depictions of the two time periods made me hunger for more, while intricate and fascinating plot lines made it a real page-turner. I did not believe a first novelist could pull it off, and Ms. Silbert did so with bravado.”

Mystery and Imagination
Staff Recommendations

“From Elizabethan London to present-day New York, from the death of Christopher Marlowe to the introduction of a modern PI and spy, this novel has everything, including a mysterious lost manuscript. If you liked that Da Vinci thing, you’ll love The Intelligencer...Kate Morgan/Leslie Silbert are going to be stars!”

Barnes & Noble in Kenmore Square
Staff Recommendations

“Silbert offers a wonderfully imagined new take on the eternal mystery of Christopher Marlowe’s untimely death in this thoroughly enjoyable first novel that will appeal to fans of historical mysteries, biblio-mysteries and PI novels alike.”

Partners & Crime
Partners Picks

“A fun romp through espionage, past and present. And as a bonus, Silbert, an Elizabethan scholar with a particular interest in Marlowe, provides sources to back the theories and the facts laid forth in her book.”

Politics & Prose Bookstore
Staff Recommendations

“A tour-de-force.”

The Mystery Bookstore

“A remarkable debut!”

Mysteries to Die For



“Delightfully literate, intricately detailed and plotted . . . a cracking good page-turner.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune

“The pace is quick and the action fascinating . . . a fun mystery with bonuses.”

Library Journal

“Artful, sophisticated, and gracefully intriguing, The Intelligencer is a fascinating espionage thriller that ranks among the best books of the past year. Grade: A.”

The Trades

“Silbert brings hands-on experience as a private eye to her entertaining debut thriller, which shifts deftly between the present and the late sixteenth century. . . . The tale moves at a refreshing clip, and Silbert provides plenty of engaging back story about Elizabethan history, ciphers, Iranian jails, the poison of the Australian blue-ringed octopus and much more.”

Publishers Weekly

“Cool and glamorous and witty . . . keeps us guessing all the way.”

The Los Angeles Times

“Mystery buffs will devour this one, loaded as it is with spies, gadgets, and stolen gemstones . . . Silbert, herself once a Renaissance scholar at Oxford and today a private investigator, also tosses in intriguing historical research about Shakespearean-era London and even a whiff of The Da Vinci Code—there’s a rare manuscript locked away for centuries that destroys anyone unlucky enough to uncover its secret . . . Silbert’s I.Q. shines in The Intelligencer.


“Intriguing . . . witty . . . a fast-moving tale that should charm the many lovers of spy thrillers.”

The Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City)

“Forget Shakespeare. Christopher Marlowe is the true man of mystery to former Elizabethan scholars like Leslie Silbert, who studied literature at Oxford before going to work for a New York firm of private investigators. . . . Silbert makes a spirited case for the revisionist theory that the romantic sixteenth-century poet and playwright was not killed in a taproom brawl but dispatched for his spymongering.”

The New York Times

“Silbert moves with ease from the past to the present, and . . . proves that if she’s a Charlie’s Angel, she must be the smartest one.”

The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“Part literary mystery, part comic-book thriller, rolled into an entertaining package that should delight a variety of readers. . . . Silbert has a couple of tricks up her sleeve that might get by even a veteran thriller reader.”

The Denver Post

“Intriguing . . . the concluding author’s note makes clear not only Silbert’s debt to Elizabethan history but also her inventiveness in bringing it alive for contemporary audiences.”

The Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale)

“Multiple locales, rat-a-tat pacing . . . offers a vigorous tutorial in the brutality that flourished under the Virgin Queen—not to mention disquisitions on Copernicus and Galileo and cameo appearances by Walter Ralegh, a saucy barmaid named Ambrosia and England’s pre-eminent torturer, Richard Topcliffe.”

The Washington Post

“Weaving parallel stories of espionage plots in Queen Elizabeth’s court in 1593—and a mystery involving an ancient manuscript in the present time—Silbert uses her own interests and expertise to craft an intellectual spy novel with historical accuracy and intrigue. . . . The Intelligencer sets Silbert apart from other spy novel authors through witty, believable dialogue and simultaneous historical and present-day plots.”

Boston Metro

“Silbert shows off her scholarship quite nicely when she’s following Kit Marlowe around London’s fetid streets . . . her writing is full of the atmosphere and paranoia of the Elizabethan era.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“The Intelligencer is rewarding for those looking for something different, and a boon for the historical-mystery fan. If you liked Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, you’ll love this complex brew.”

Shotsmag Reviews (United Kingdom)

“[A] page-turner . . . well-paced and well-researched . . . literary interest, history, and suspense are well balanced.”

The Drood Review of Mystery


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