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Revenge At Elsinore

In 1517, Sweden is on the brink of declaring independence from Denmark, and Martin Luther has posted on a church door in distant Saxony incendiary views that will soon set Europe afire. Sweden’s arch-patriot Hemming Gadh has arranged the coincidence. The Danish king Hamlet is plotting to kidnap and deliver Luther to Rome and the stake in exchange for Vatican support of Denmark’s depredations upon Sweden. Gadh knows that the monk’s heresy is the key to his country’s liberation. Sweden must keep Luther alive and encourage his schismatic diatribe.

To fulfill that mission, Gadh engages young Magnus Vasa—brother of Sweden’s future king—as protector and confidant of the controversial theologian. Disguised as a Norwegian student named Horatio, Magnus enrolls at Wittenberg’s university. There he encounters the Danish king’s dissolute son Prince Hamlet and embarks upon adventures that will determine not only Sweden’s fate but Europe’s future. Meanwhile, Gadh, Horatio’s mentor and Sweden’s master counterspy, has embedded himself at Elsinore as the evil king’s chancellor Polonius. When King Hamlet’s atrocities culminate in the infamous Bloodbath of Stockholm, Gadh and Magnus—Polonius and Horatio—swear revenge upon the Dane, his bastard son and their kingdom.

Gadh summons Magnus to Elsinore, where Horatio falls in love with Queen Gertrude, recognizes the recently deceased king’s brother Claudius as a great and kind ruler, witnesses Polonius’s death at the prince’s hand, and finally—when called upon to duel the Black Prince to the death—finds his path between patriotism and romantic love, obedience and autonomy, vengeance and forgiveness.

Entertainingly intelligent and rich in historical detail, Revenge At Elsinore delivers in compelling prose a vibrant romantic adventure that may well provide the key that unlocks mysteries that have puzzled Shakespearean readers and scholars for centuries.