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King Hereafter Hardcover – 26 Apr 1982


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 721 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd; First Edition edition (26 April 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718116615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718116613
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 0.3 x 0.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 335,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A storyteller who could teach Scheherazade a thing or two." --The New York Times
"One of the greatest tale-spinners since Dumas." --Cleveland Plain Dealer

"From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a book I have read again and again with increasing pleasure. The story of Macbeth as written by Shakespeare paints him as a double-dyed villain. Here we see what COULD have been the true story - an awkward and fatherless boy growing up in Orkney, Caithness and Moray under the hand of a Norwegian guardian, a Scottish mother and a Moray step-father; a gawky but intensely intelligent young Earl of some-of-Orkney, desperate to win the respect of his people and regain his stolen inheritance; and at the end an almost unwilling king of Alba, thrust to the forefront by the death - some would say murder - of his half-brother. Both were grandsons of King Malcom of Alba (Scotland) and sons of Bethoc the king's daughter - Macbeth/Thorfinn fathered by Sigurd, Earl of Orkney, and Malcom fathered by Crinan the mintmaster. The possibility that the historical Thorfinn of Orkney was the semi-fictional Macbeth of Alba is chronicled elsewhere, and Thorfinn, particularly with regard to his Mormaership of Caithness and Moray, is an indubitably historical character. The fact that he was married to the Norwegian Ingjeborg (Groa) is also historically documented, and recounted fictionally by Nigel Tranter in his knowledgeable novels featuring Malcom Canmore - Thorfinn's nephew, whom Ingjeborg married after Thorfinn/Macbeth's death.
Whatever his historical provenance, Thorfinn of Orkney, like all Dorothy Dunnett's primary characters, stands head and shoulders above his contemporaries.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Aug. 2000
Format: Hardcover
Dorothy Dunnett's finest achievement, King Hereafter brings to life Macbeth and the epoch in which he lived so vividly that it puts to shame Shakespeare's hatchet job of one of Scotland's finest kings. Do not be put off by the size of the book, as from the first page the reader is enthralled. Whenever I pick up a Dorothy Dunnett novel, I find myself living the book (which does not make me easy to live with, according to my nearest and dearest). She is truly one of Scotland's greatest writers, historians and storytellers, of a stature comparable to Sir Walter Scott.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 18 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
Forget Shakespeare, this is the 'real' Macbeth... as Dunnett imagines him. Half-christian, half-pagan; half-Scottish, half Norse; Macbeth grows before our eyes from an unprepossessing and angry boy, to a man, a warrior and a king.

Like Dunnett's other magisterial books (the Lymond chronicles and House of Niccolo) this isn't ever an easy, formulaic or comfortable read, and the intricacies of the politics means that you have to read this more than once to have even a hope of understanding what is happening, but as any of Dunnett's fanatical fans will tell you, the effort is more than worth the payback.

In some ways this is a very different book from the two series, set in the Renaissance - but the brutality of the politics fits the geography of Scotland, Orkney and Scandanavia admirably.

As always in Dunnett, though the political intrigues are based on fact, the true fascination is with her characters, and here Thorfinn/Macbeth and his wife take and deserve centre stage.

The fact that we know how the story will end, is used magnificently by Dunnett, so that as readers we read with a growing dread that must surely mimic the feelings of the characters and still wish that somehow that end can be averted.

Magnificent, alive and ultimately heart-breaking, this is one of my all-time favourite novels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alyson BAILES on 2 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dorothy Dunnett was said to have regarded King Hereafter as the best of all her books - and that's saying something! it is perhaps the one that brings to the highest point her taste for mysteries and double meanings, as this is the story of a man who (as she brilliantly argues it) was at the same time the Viking hero Thorfinn of Orkney and the literary villain Macbeth of Scotland. He is a good man, more directly so than her usual heroes, yet one haunted by fate and condemned to leave an evil name after him - and that's just the first of the contradictions. One of the beauties of the book, though it may come out best at a second reading, is the way she shows Thorfinn/Macbeth being torn between the free-wheeling Viking life and the job of building a Scottish state; between paganism and Christianity, and perhaps between the man-love of his untrustworthy cousin Rognvald and the woman-love of his strong-willed (but no Lady Macbeth!) queen Groa. The details of the different cultures are drawn in with the accuracy and sensitivity you would suspect from Dunnett, and the images of Northern nature are grand and touching. Plenty of action, complicated politics, and a tragedy that somehow manages to leave a sweet taste at the end - it's like a refined essence of Dunnett both for those who know and who don't know the other books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Oct. 1998
Format: Paperback
Dunnet introduces us to a real MacBeth, complete with historic context - Lady Godiva, King Canute and William the Conqueror all crop up! She has her own theory about MacBeth's identity which diverges from the norm but at no time does she allow this to prevent the book from being both historically accurate and a fun read. Recommended highly and a good intro to Dorothy Dunnett if you haven't read her other historical works.
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