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This wonderful imagining of the tale of Macbeth fleshes out the story line of Shakespeare's play and brings to life even further than Shakespeare implies the love story between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, whom the authors name "Skena," and the love story between Macbeth and Scotland. The scenery is as bleak as ever Scotland in the dark ages can be painted, and yet the players love the land. The theme "the king and the land are one" is maintained from legend to this telling and pathetic fallacy abounds. But as beautiful as the writing is, the choice of Scot Alan Cumming to narrate this novel was nothing short of inspired. Scots are often unintelligible to the American ear, but Cumming is intelligible and completely Scottish at the same time. His narration is charming, romantic, and compelling. The authors have scored high with this imagining of a story found deep in history. I hope their next experiment will be with one of my favorite characters from Shakespeare and history--Richard III.
78 of 80 people found this review helpful
I came to this novel differently than many people probably have - I have never read or watched Shakespeare's plays. I have only the slightest general cultural knowledge of things like MacBeth and Romeo & Juliet, etc. My hope was that this novel would lead me to take on Shakespeare - and it has! The book was dark, of course, and a tragedy (I think even I knew that much) but it also led me through the path of MacBeth and Lady MacBeth from idealistic youth to their tortured endings in an understandable way. The narrator was AMAZING as others have stated, and really made each character come to life for me! I look forward to reading the actual play MacBeth (probably the Spark Notes "no fear Shakespeare version, I'm a wimp) to see the differences and similarities. So really, any novel that leads a regular working-class person to want to read Shakespeare has to be a good one, right?
58 of 60 people found this review helpful
I have to admit to being very dubious about this book, but decided to take the plunge and try it because I absolutely adore the play (despite studying it at school!)
The positives are that the Shakespearean story remains intact and very well interpreted, it is set conventionally in 11th century Scotland, and I have to say that Alan Cumming is absolutely brilliant as a reader. The plot is the same as the play and belts along just like the play. The authors have really fleshed out the characters with more back story and more characterisation.
There is only one negative and this is that I was expecting more of the historical King Macbeth who died in 1057. Now this may just be me and my reading of the blurb above but I was expecting more of the historical facts rather than the novel just sticking to Shakespeare's version of events.
That said, it is a great book and well worth a listen.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
I never did Shakespeare at school and even now I follow the Bertie Wooster philosophy of "...sounds well but doesn't mean anything." (Call me a Philistine if you wish).
This book however is an exciting adventure story set in the 11th Century and whether you know Shakespeare or not it is page turning stuff (or the audio equivalent).
I highly recommend this for just what it is.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful