Fourteen year-old Widge has very little going for him, no family, no real name, but he can write shorthand and that is a very valuable asset to the man who wants to steal William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. In those days there was only one copy of the play script, and that was jealously guarded at the Globe Theatre, London by Shakespeare's company of players. Widge sets off for London, accompanied by Falconer, a cruel and fearsome cutthroat whose job is to make sure that the mission is accomplished, no matter what the cost. But Widge gets so caught up in the play that soon all that matters to him is whether Hamlet will take action to avenge his father, and he forgets his task. Then his notebook is stolen. Under threat from Falconer, he manages to work his way into the troupe of actors, who befriend him and, for the first time, make him feel part of a family. How can he betray them now?