A Man of Honor, or Horatio's Confessions by J.A. Nelson
Publication Date: December 9, 2019
Quill Point Press
Paperback, eBook & AudioBook; 414 pages
Winner of two silver medals
Best First Book, Fiction
Best Cover, Fiction
Awarded by the IBPA (2020)
2020 Notable Indie, Top 100 - Best Indie Book Awards, Shelf Unbound
Finalist, Literary Fiction
14th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards (2020)
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.
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?
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Praise"Like a train, A MAN OF HONOR's narrative builds speed and takes off into an often gripping adventure of love,war, and discovery. Author J.A. Nelson's novel follows in the tradition of historical fiction. Nelson creates a beautiful but terrifying sixteenth century where numerous factions struggle for power and influence. The main characters are loyal but fallible, and the reader identifies with their struggle to keep moving forward--to finish what they've started.... Nelson has developed a timeless story.... A MAN OF HONOR may be set in a distant time and place, but Horatio's search for the truth about his late friend, Hamlet, is an internal journey of discovery to which many readers will relate." - IndieReader Reviews
"With its literary flourishes and exciting scenes, A Man of Honor addresses ethical questions in fascinating ways....Setting and moods...capture the flavor of Nordic sagas.... A literary novel featuring taut action and strong characters who address questions about the nature of integrity." - Clarion Reviews
"The story of Hamlet survives, truthfully told.... Horatio is the perfect character to carry on Hamlet's story.... An intriguing twist.... Among the pages of an adventure is a story of one man's commitment to his sense of honor and duty, as well as the importance and worth of legends." - The US Review
When offered the opportunity to read and review a book that takes up where Hamlet left off, I was eager to accept - of course. I'm a big Shakespeare nerd, we made sure to spend ample time studying Shakespeare during our homeschooling years, and even now that all the kids have graduated and moved on to colleget and beyond, we still have nerdy conversations about our favorite plays.
I think I got off to a bad start with A Man of Honor by focusing too much of the Hamlet aspect. I think this book is better if the reader focuses on Horatio as a stand alone character. Hamlet is a huge influence on him and his action throughout the book, but the story is actually about Horatio, his friends and his quest to honor his friend Hamlet.
There were aspects of the book that bothered me a bit like how Horatio seemed to miraculously learn archery and how to be chivalrous in a day or so, and some of the chases seem just a bit too much. The timeline is shortened and the author takes some liberties with history, but overall it was a fun read. Nelson does explain her historical choices in the Author's Note, which I appreciated. It is an adventure tale with lots of action and drama. And when you pull in Marlowe at the end -- I'm also a huge Marlowe fan, so naturally I liked the ending of the book.
If you are a strict literary person, maybe don't read it, but if you like historical adventure tales that refer to your favorite literay characters and authors, then you will probably enjoy A Man of Honor.
About the Author
J. A. Nelson’s passion for exploring connections between history, literature, and evidence in written texts has shaped her life—from a BA (Occidental College) and MA (The George Washington University) in cultural studies to a two-decade career at the National Archives of the United States, working with historical documentary treasures and helping people access unique stories in those records. Ms. Nelson is a native of Culver City, CA, a Los Angeles suburb. She lives with her husband in Northern Virginia. A Man of Honor, or Horatio’s Confessions is her debut novel.
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Man of Honor