Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel

  • by A. J. Hartley, David Hewson
  • Narrated by Richard Armitage
  • 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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What the Critics Say

"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

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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- Madeleine "Audiobook addict."

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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- C. Telfair "Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-20-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios