A new book claims William Shakespeare's plays were written by Elizabethan diplomat Henry Neville.

"The Truth Will Out: Unmasking the Real Shakespeare" by Brenda James and William Rubinstein claims Neville -- whose nickname was Falstaff -- used Shakespeare as a "front man," the BBC reported Wednesday.

Mark Rylance, artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, wrote the forward and said the authors have "shaken" the image of the Bard in their "pioneering book."

Among their arguments supporting Neville as the author were inside details of King Edward III and John of Gaunt -- both relatives of Neville -- as well as Shakespeare's details of court life, Elizabethan politics, Italy and France, the BBC said.

Renaissance Literature Professor Jonathan Bate of the University of Warwick called the book's claim rubbish.

"These arguments always fall back on verbal parallels, which never stand up," he said.