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Hamlet's Bastard' is a fairytale for grown ups. Mattias discovers he is the illegitimate son of Prince Hamlet. As the only surviving member of the Danish royal family, Mattias is a potential threat to King Fortinbras, the Norwegian who wears the Danish crown. The novel follows Mattias as he seeks the truth about his father - while trying to stay alive and out of the royal Hamlet's Bastard' is a fairytale for grown ups. Mattias discovers he is the illegitimate son of Prince Hamlet. As the only surviving member of the Danish royal family, Mattias is a potential threat to King Fortinbras, the Norwegian who wears the Danish crown. The novel follows Mattias as he seeks the truth about his father - while trying to stay alive and out of the royal dungeons. Then y Mattias learns the surprising truth from the survivors, including the cynical soldier Marcellus, the retired spymaster Reynaldo, the berserker Viking turned diplomat Voltemand, the fop Osric, and the First Player, the famous author of the play. (He was of course Danish – but this hypothesis is not widely accepted, and it is not suggested that you refer to it in school examinations). During the course of uncovering the full truth of what befell the Danish royal family, and while struggling to stay alive and out of the palace dungeons, Mattias also begins to learn about taverns, alcohol, girls, how to fight, and when to run away. The novel requires no prior knowledge of Hamlet or of Shakespeare, and has more jokes than the tragic play from which it is derived. It can be read as a light-hearted adventure story or ‘whodunit’, but it also has some serious points to make about the way that fine words can obscure our understanding of despicable behaviour – an issue that seems very relevant in a world of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts.’ Readers who do have an interest in Shakespeare and in the famous play can expect to find a very different view of the ‘noble prince’ –but one that is nevertheless rooted in the text of the play.


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Hamlet's Bastard' is a fairytale for grown ups. Mattias discovers he is the illegitimate son of Prince Hamlet. As the only surviving member of the Danish royal family, Mattias is a potential threat to King Fortinbras, the Norwegian who wears the Danish crown. The novel follows Mattias as he seeks the truth about his father - while trying to stay alive and out of the royal Hamlet's Bastard' is a fairytale for grown ups. Mattias discovers he is the illegitimate son of Prince Hamlet. As the only surviving member of the Danish royal family, Mattias is a potential threat to King Fortinbras, the Norwegian who wears the Danish crown. The novel follows Mattias as he seeks the truth about his father - while trying to stay alive and out of the royal dungeons. Then y Mattias learns the surprising truth from the survivors, including the cynical soldier Marcellus, the retired spymaster Reynaldo, the berserker Viking turned diplomat Voltemand, the fop Osric, and the First Player, the famous author of the play. (He was of course Danish – but this hypothesis is not widely accepted, and it is not suggested that you refer to it in school examinations). During the course of uncovering the full truth of what befell the Danish royal family, and while struggling to stay alive and out of the palace dungeons, Mattias also begins to learn about taverns, alcohol, girls, how to fight, and when to run away. The novel requires no prior knowledge of Hamlet or of Shakespeare, and has more jokes than the tragic play from which it is derived. It can be read as a light-hearted adventure story or ‘whodunit’, but it also has some serious points to make about the way that fine words can obscure our understanding of despicable behaviour – an issue that seems very relevant in a world of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts.’ Readers who do have an interest in Shakespeare and in the famous play can expect to find a very different view of the ‘noble prince’ –but one that is nevertheless rooted in the text of the play.

8 review for Hamlet's Bastard

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robert Brown

    A reflection of alternatives for the well-known Hamlet characters. Good from the first scene. If you love the Bard, you will love this book. If you like the Bard, you will like this book. If you are neutral or even disinterested in the Bard (me) you will still probably like this book. That pretty much covers readers of English. Could use a thorough house cleaning by a good proofreader. Formatting and punctuation are sloppy and some personal pronouns confuse the reader as to who is doing what. So A reflection of alternatives for the well-known Hamlet characters. Good from the first scene. If you love the Bard, you will love this book. If you like the Bard, you will like this book. If you are neutral or even disinterested in the Bard (me) you will still probably like this book. That pretty much covers readers of English. Could use a thorough house cleaning by a good proofreader. Formatting and punctuation are sloppy and some personal pronouns confuse the reader as to who is doing what. Some long dialogue begs for interruptions, anything, a sudden heart attack perhaps, or maybe the breakout of war. Pace also slogged at times. Typos stand out, for example, sowing instead of sewing, (unless sowing was a long-reach for depiction of getting pregnant and if it was, I stand in awe). However, overall, delightfully written with grace, charm, humor and friendliness; a good story that I enjoyed reading. All’s well that ends well.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Loralee

    If you love the play Hamlet, like I do, you will enjoy this tale about what could have happened to other people living at the time of the events in Hamlet. And you will enjoy finding possible answers to questions that I find myself asking whenever I read Hamlet. Was Claudius really as evil as Shakespeare's play portrays him? Was Gertrude really that dimwitted and gullible? Was Hamlet just acting crazy to seek revenge for his father, or did he genuinely lose his mind? Was Horatio as unselfish and If you love the play Hamlet, like I do, you will enjoy this tale about what could have happened to other people living at the time of the events in Hamlet. And you will enjoy finding possible answers to questions that I find myself asking whenever I read Hamlet. Was Claudius really as evil as Shakespeare's play portrays him? Was Gertrude really that dimwitted and gullible? Was Hamlet just acting crazy to seek revenge for his father, or did he genuinely lose his mind? Was Horatio as unselfish and helpful? If you've asked these questions, you will enjoy this story. The writing was well done, for the most part, though I noticed a p.o.v. violation here or there where we abruptly left one character's mind, and went into another's without warning which confused me a little (that should only be done in a scene shift, or at the least with a dingbat between one character's thoughts and another's). Also, I noticed here and there, characters saying "Okay." That word did not come into use until the mid 1800s. Therefore, people in Hamlet's time would not have used it. Overall though, the story was good, and I did enjoy it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stacie

    Hamlet's Bastard, by Mick Foster, is a fictional tale that reimagines old players in Shakespeare's famous tragedy and features new ones, including protagonist Mattias, Hamlet's unacknowledged son. This new tale, which occurs after the death of Hamlet, draws heavily from the text of the play, is light and will be enjoyable to fans of the Bard. As a former English Instructor and Shakespearean player myself, I was happy to give this tale a spin. While Foster clearly has the writing skill and litera Hamlet's Bastard, by Mick Foster, is a fictional tale that reimagines old players in Shakespeare's famous tragedy and features new ones, including protagonist Mattias, Hamlet's unacknowledged son. This new tale, which occurs after the death of Hamlet, draws heavily from the text of the play, is light and will be enjoyable to fans of the Bard. As a former English Instructor and Shakespearean player myself, I was happy to give this tale a spin. While Foster clearly has the writing skill and literary knowledge to complete the task, the story lacked the dramatic tension that is ever-present in the Bard's plays. Because readers of this book are most likely to be readers of Shakespeare, the comparisons are unavoidable and will hold Hamlet's Bastard to a high standard. Fans of the Bard may indeed find this book enjoyable (as I did), and when finished reading perhaps will pull out their old copy of Hamlet - or better yet, go see a production of the play. Perhaps that kind of engagement is what Foster intended, and to that end Hamlet's Bastard does both classic literature & drama good credit. *Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Shakespeare's Hamlet has taken on a life of its own – authors of all sorts have lined up to add a slant or a footnote. Easy to be persuaded that the characters had a life before the Bard. But what happened to the real Fortinbras, you might catch yourself asking. Especially when reading this fascinating take, written by a theatre practitioner who knows the play well, and thinks that in many productions the Prince is given a heroic halo he doesn't deserve. To set the record straight, Foster imagine Shakespeare's Hamlet has taken on a life of its own – authors of all sorts have lined up to add a slant or a footnote. Easy to be persuaded that the characters had a life before the Bard. But what happened to the real Fortinbras, you might catch yourself asking. Especially when reading this fascinating take, written by a theatre practitioner who knows the play well, and thinks that in many productions the Prince is given a heroic halo he doesn't deserve. To set the record straight, Foster imagines an illegitimate son for Hamlet, who, as he leaves childhood behind, is desperate to discover the “truth” about his late father. And sets out to interview the survivors, to learn what role they played in the familiar tragic events in Elsinore. It's a surprisingly long list, from Osric to the King himself, and there's a ghost in there, too, though not who you might expect. If you know the play well, you'll be impressed by the careful unpicking of the plot; if not, you'll certainly want to read it again, or better yet, see a production. And decide for yourself if Shakespeare has been fair to all those dead Danes.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rhian

    Rating: 8/20. Some very interesting ideas and sparks of creativity and talent here but they are lost in a dialogue-heavy volume that sacrifices plot and urgency for critical discussion. Fuller critique/review available here: https://rhianwriting.wordpress.com/20... Rating: 8/20. Some very interesting ideas and sparks of creativity and talent here but they are lost in a dialogue-heavy volume that sacrifices plot and urgency for critical discussion. Fuller critique/review available here: https://rhianwriting.wordpress.com/20...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mick Foster

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sally Lake

  8. 5 out of 5

    Philip Birtwistle

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