After several years fighting in the Low Countries and Italy, Mal has returned to London to take up his family responsibilities. However making ends meet isn’t easy, especially when your dark colouring makes you look more like a foreign spy than a native Englishman!
Orphaned during her family’s attempt to escape the Spanish invasion of the Low Countries, Coby lives disguised as a boy in order to gain honest employment. She spent her late teens working as a tireman (dresser/costumier) for Suffolk’s Men, a theatre company based in Southwark.
Mal’s identical twin brother was supposed to join him at Cambridge University, but a few weeks before their sixteenth birthday he had a seizure and had to be confined to a separate bedchamber for his own safety. After the death of their father, Sandy was committed to Bethlem Hospital, the infamous mental asylum, by their elder half-brother Charles.
Mal’s best friend, drinking companion and occasional bedfellow, Ned is a scrivener by trade, copying play scripts, legal documents and whatever other paperwork the capital’s businessmen need. Not that he isn’t averse to earning a bit of money on the side; the taverns of Southwark provide plenty of opportunities for a man with more guile than morals.
An orphan of the parish of St Mary Overie (hence his surname), Gabriel was taken in by the Admiral’s Men as a young boy and taught to play women’s roles, but when his voice broke he was turned out onto the street. Unlike many such youths he managed to survive on his admirers’ gifts for long enough to re-establish himself as an adult actor with Suffolk’s Men.