A Man of Honor, or Horatio's Confessions
A Man of Honor tells the fictional tale of how one man's oath gave birth to the legend of Hamlet.
How far would you go to keep a deathbed promise? Surrounded by the bodies of slain monarchs, a dying prince extracts a promise from his friend, Horatio: “Tell my story.” Rival kings of warring nations strive to lay claim to the throne, now vacant, but what will happen to the people who live there, at Helsingør’s Krogen Castle? How will Horatio preserve his honor and the prince’s legacy while surviving this murderous kingdom and the men who would rule it?
Despite the odds and threats against him, Horatio persists, weaving the story of his dear friend into the fabric of one of their oldest and most revered medieval texts, the Gesta Danorum. But when a nefarious Spaniard thwarts his plans, Horatio must once again risk everything to fulfill his oath. With the help of some unexpected allies in the form of Margrete, a courageous lady-in-waiting, and Lanier, a disgraced French nobleman, Horatio undertakes this perilous quest that will lead him on a journey none of them could have ever predicted, to a place none of them ever thought they would see.
And after their hard-fought journey will it all be for naught? Will Hamlet’s glory be Horatio’s downfall?
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 6.75 out of 10
Plot: Nelson’s novel reimagines the life and times of a perennially intriguing and under-explored Shakespearean character.
Prose: Nelson’s prose effectively channels the language of Shakespeare while remaining clear and accessible to modern readers.
Originality: Stories that draw from Shakespeare are hardly novel, but this work’s direct focus on Horatio in the aftermath of Hamlet’s death, provides a welcome degree of novelty.
Character/Execution: A Man of Honor begins where the tragedy concludes. Nelson provides Horatio with agency and depth, while remaining living characters of the play are offered additional stage time. New characters are well integrated and the historical setting is vivid.
Date Submitted: August 15, 2020