Balthazar Abrabanel was acquainted with William Shakespeare during Abrabanel's brief time with the Globe Theatre in London. Abrabanel knew that the plays attributed to Shakespeare, including Othello, King Lear, and Hamlet, were in fact written by his patient, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. The Earl of Oxford did not reveal this for fear that his association with the theater might damage his reputation, and bring debt collectors down upon him.
Shortly after Abrabanel arrived in Grantville, he was surprised to learn that in the centuries to come, Shakespeare came to be recognized as one of the greatest writers of all time. He shared the truth with Morris Roth, Judith Roth, and Melissa Mailey. He was quite delighted that the Earl of Oxford's deception had worked so well that Shakespeare was given the credit for the Earl's work.
- William Shakespeare at the Harry Turtledove Wiki