The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet: A Novel by Myrlin A. Hermes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Maybe this book wasn't "amazing" but it definitely deserves a five-star rating. Why? Because it's clever and fun, in addition to being unique, something all too rare these days.
Horatio is a perpetual student in Wittenberg, the son of a whore/witch and an unknown father, so there's no money and he lives a rather restricted life. Raised by Catholic monks, he's asked to convert (Luther being the in thing there). Essentially, he's studying divinity and had developed many philosophies (you may remember being told that there are more things in heaven and earth than Horatio can dream of? yep, it's that Horatio). He makes ends meet by translating and writing for others, and is given a commission by Lord Maricort to create a play from some bits and pieces, none of which really work together.
Anyway, one night he sees the most gorgeous man nude in the river. At first he thinks the man is crying, but figures out that it's not quite crying that's going on. Dared to jump in, he strips and meets the love of his life, a Prince from Denmark, Hamlet. And yes, Hamlet has two "friends", Rosencrantz and Gilderstern.
Horatio writes his play, convincing Hamlet to play Rosalind. The love between the two grows, and soon it's more than just a play he's writing, it's sonnets. He also starts an affair with the rather mannish/jolie laid wife of the Lord, Lady Adriane. This triangle becomes a square with the addition of rival poet Master Will Shake-spear (clearly a made up name)... or does it?
What makes this such fun is finding the references to the Canon - they're not always obvious but they are there. For example, there's a squabbling Thane and his wife (it's a brief mention). Hamlet has nightmares about stabbing a tapestry in his mother's room. Etc..
One caveat: this tale includes love scenes, both straight and gay. Nothing graphic, but it's clear what's going on. Very clear.
Copy provided by publisher.
View all my reviews