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.
"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)
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Ten hours well spent
It ties for first place with one other. See below.
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.
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!
Love and politics - a murderous combination.
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,
Hamlet, prince of tragedies never pales!
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.
Claudius, the traditional villian, who here reveals a depth as lover and "father" never imagined before.
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.
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.
The final comments by the two authors were an appropriate complement to the work and the music a lovely unexpected finale.