Bryson paints a concise picture of the world Shakespeare would have encountered when he came to London. A City within walls with gates closed at certain hours and theatres that had to pack them in and do so on a regular basis just to make a paltry profit.
Eluding nearly all of the engravers, diary keepers and official signature catchers is Shakespeare who seems to disappear for years before cropping up only in second-hand references.
The fact he is not around does not seem to matter because this is an enjoyable Elizabethan travelogue with plenty of easily digestible history. Bryson exposes various historical debates, for instance was Shakespeare a Catholic? Did he travel to Italy? Without forcing himself or the reader to commit to any of them.