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Publisher's Summary

It is a tale of ghosts, of madness, of revenge - of old alliances giving way to new intrigues. Denmark is changing, shaking off its medieval past. War with Norway is on the horizon. And Hamlet - son of the old king, nephew of the new - becomes increasingly entangled in a web of deception - and murder.
Struggling to find his place in this strange new order Hamlet tries to rekindle his relationship with Ophelia - the daughter of Elsinore’s cunning spy master, a man with plots of his own. Hamlet turns for advice and support to the one person he can trust -- Young Yorick, the slippery, unruly jester, whose father helped Hamlet through a difficult childhood. And all the while the armed forces of Fortinbras, prince of Norway, start to assemble, threatening to bring down Elsinore forever.
Beautifully performed by actor Richard Armitage ("Thorin Oakenshield" in the Hobbit films), Hamlet, Prince of Denmark takes Shakespeare’s original into unexpected realms, reinventing a story we thought we knew.
A. J. Hartley is the New York Times best-selling author of the Will Hawthorne fantasy series and several thrillers, as well as the Darwen Arkwright books for younger readers. He is the Russell Robinson Distinguished Professor of Shakespeare at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
David Hewson is the best-selling author of more than 20 novels, including the Nic Costa crime series and a trilogy of books based on the hit Danish television show The Killing. His most-recent novel, The House of Dolls, begins a new series set in Amsterdam.
Richard Armitage is known to movie audiences around the world as "Thorin Oakenshield" in the trilogy of films based on The Hobbit. Born in Leicester, England, and trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Armitage has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and created memorable roles on Robin Hood, North & South, and other British TV series.
©2014 A.J. Hartley, David Hewson (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"It's a fresh, contemporary take on Shakespeare's tragedy, one not afraid to create new characters or cut long soliloquies. We get a noirish Hamlet, who, when asked by Laertes if he's ready to fence, blurts out: 'I've been ready all my life.'" ( Associated Press)
"English literature teachers worried about getting pupils entranced by Shakespeare should plug them in to this imaginative gloss on Hamlet before starting on the real thing. Hobbit-fanciers will rejoice to find that Richard “Thorin Oakenshield” Armitage is an outstandingly versatile narrator. This is the one of the most powerful listening experiences that I’ve had." ( The Times London)
"Armitage is amazing. He's more than a simple reader, showing himself as a gifted actor. He gives distinct life to each of the many characters in the tragedy, making it easy to follow the story. You can actually close your eyes and listen to the work and imagine the scenes unfolding, thanks to Armitage's acting skills." ( AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Carole T. on 08-23-14

Something Rotten in Denmark...

…But not entirely what we have always thought!

Shakespearean purists may object, but, as the authors point out in the epilogue, Shakespeare himself wasn't a purist. He borrowed and changed and molded stories to the stage.

And it's a good story! This novelization, without the familiar speeches, proves that the basic tale still holds attention and gives the authors a great opportunity for expanding characters and plot features.

I'll admit I bought this primarily to hear the wonderful voice of Richard Armitage, and he certainly does not disappoint. As with all excellent narrations, the listener quickly forgets she/he is experiencing the voice of one person, and we are drawn into the action and the characters effortlessly.

I love this take on the old story. There's depth of emotion here, and the characters and actions make sense in a new way. Anyone who's enjoyed Tom Stoppard's "Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead" should appreciate the twists and turns in this version as well.

As a wonderful bonus for those of us who have longed for deeper and better-realized female characters in Shakespeare's plays (tho we know we've had no right to expect it), Hartley and Hewson endow the women of Elsinor with brains and sensible motives and actions.

It's refreshing and different and beautifully read.

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58 of 62 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Madeleine on 06-10-14

The Devil's In the Details

I thoroughly enjoyed this retelling and restructuring of Hamlet. I began listening with moderate expectations, knowing the play well and expecting it would just be a fleshing out of the original, but it was so much more than that.

The authors have done a wonderfully creative job of approaching the tale from a fresh, very lateral perspective. Lesser events and characters in the play are brought to the fore, and a wonderful layer of Machiavellian political intrigue suffuses the story. The same is true of the play's original paranormal elements. The authors have developed it into a lush political and psychological thriller.

I didn't give the story five stars only because I found the villain of the piece (I won't tell you who it is because that would be a huge spoiler) a little underdeveloped and cardboardish. That being said, this was more than a retelling of the play. If you like historical mysteries or alternate histories, you'll love this. It's rich and atmospheric and wonderful.

The narration was outstanding.

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60 of 66 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By JD on 05-21-14

Ten hours well spent

Where does Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It ties for first place with one other. See below.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Claudius: although Shakespeare does not portray him as a complete villain, this Claudius drew my sympathies. Both the authors and Armitage's interpretation reveal him as a decent man, one who has always loved Gertrude and Hamlet, but who has painted himself, through one violent act, into a corner and can only escape through more violence. Armitage gives him a deep, sensuous, authoritative voice - kindly even. The reader has to walk a fine line with his voicing because I felt that you had to understand Claudius and yet side with Hamlet in the end.

Have you listened to any of Richard Armitage’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Richard Armitage is my favourite reader and seems to choose books by my favourite authors. The Georgette Heyer books are great fun and very entertainingly read and voiced. But Bernard Cornwell's Lords of the North is wonderful. This Hamlet book ties with Lords of the North, but sadly it is not available on Audible or anywhere now except ebay since AudioGo went bust. Come on, Audible! Wake up to this man's talent and buy the rights to this version!

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Love and politics - a murderous combination.

Any additional comments?

I was very impressed by how close the authors kept to the original play, making many nods to Shakespeare's language and text, yet at the same time filled the gaps with imaginative and gripping scenarios....Like the pirates. Pirates! What pirates? Yes, an episode only lightly touched on by Shakespeare, but it's there, LOL! And the authors not only develop some exciting moments out of it but weave it into the following action of the book. Loved the pirate captain!But, without the reader and his wonderful interpretations where every single voice is a different one, this audiobook would be a lesser thing than it has turned out to be,

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Catherine on 05-26-14

Hamlet, prince of tragedies never pales!

What made the experience of listening to Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel the most enjoyable?

The pace of the story, the new, unexpected twists to the plot and characteristion along with the unexpected and haunting persona of Yorick; the splendid narration.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Claudius, the traditional villian, who here reveals a depth as lover and "father" never imagined before.

What does Richard Armitage bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

His narration and masterly interpretation of the characters both male and female, bring the story and its people to life. Modulated and varied, his voice carries the listening on in a flow of enjoyment.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Like with the original Shakespearean play, the novel aroused both mirth and sadness, sometimes mingled in bittersweet fashion. A gentle sadness tended to prevail, without actually provoking tears.

Any additional comments?

The final comments by the two authors were an appropriate complement to the work and the music a lovely unexpected finale.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Bronte on 11-13-14

Intriguing treatment of an old story

Like most I know this story well. This novel version was really enjoyable (if a tragedy can be thus). The narration was apt, with consistent accents and you could almost see the oily nature of Polonius and Voldermere while Yorick was the comic relief. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous User on 02-12-18

A Fantastic Retelling

This was an amazing retelling of the classic play. AJ Hartley and David Hewson make Hamlet fresh again and the use of characters like Yorick add another level to an already complex play. Which I absolutely loved. Richard Armitage did a fantastic job narrating this book. He is able to manipulate his voice in such a way that as a listener you can automatically tell which character is currently speaking. This is not a simple thing for an actor to do and I applaud Mr Armitage for his mastery and talent.

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