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King Hereafter [Hardcover]

Dorothy Dunnett
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 April 1982
In the 11th century, young warlords of northern Europe were divided between pagans and followers of the White Christ. One was a boy called Thorfinn who would grow to become one of the great kings of history, under his Christian baptismal name of Macbeth.

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: 23.2 x 16.2 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 470,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget Shakespeare, meet Macbeth at home 23 Oct 1998
By A Customer
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miraculous reconstruction of Macbeth 18 Oct 2006
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
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
4.0 out of 5 stars History Alive 10 Nov 2002
One of the best historical novels written. Dorothy Dunnet brought the participants, period and places alive with her descriptive writing. Once picked up, the book will not be put down until it is finished and is so gripping that it leaves the reader begging for more information about the characters and period chosen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man of two identities and two worlds 2 Sep 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Shakespeare's Macbeth
What do you read once you have finished the Lymond Chronicles and the House of Niccolo? This is where the discerning Dorothy Dunnett fan goes, and discovers a very different king... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Cicero
5.0 out of 5 stars King Hereafter Dorothy Dunnett
This book kept me enthralled, brilliant writing, the kind of detail you expect from this authorand the ending made me weep which I don't often do!
Published 11 months ago by Margaret Pickering
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating period by the best historical novelist
A brilliant, engrossing, exciting read - a great love story amidst all the intrigue and adventuring. Dorothy Dunnett really researches in depth.
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars IT'S GOOD
It's good ,but I'm finding it a bit of a struggle to get through,probably because I'm not quite used to her style of writting.It is interesting but you have to stick with it
Published 16 months ago by robyn pinto
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Saga
Dorothy Dunnett has written an outstanding work of historical fiction that captures the spirit and style of the old Icelandic sagas, together with the humour. Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2010 by Thormod Morrisson
2.0 out of 5 stars Note to author: SHOW, DON'T TELL!
I read this on the basis of recommendations from both my wife and a friend. I read it while on a driving holiday around northern Scotland, so it should have been perfect. Read more
Published on 16 Aug 2010 by Mark Poles
5.0 out of 5 stars happy readers
There's no excuse for not reading! With Amazon's prices and excellent service you can smother yourself with good books. Read more
Published on 9 Aug 2010 by bosque
5.0 out of 5 stars King Hereafter, Dorothy Dunnett
One of the few historical novels I have read that can really transport you into the era in which it is set. Read more
Published on 7 Aug 2010 by katie
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read
Despite the author's name, which might mislead one into thinking this a the work of a romantic novelist, there is plenty here for the general reader. Read more
Published on 1 Sep 2009 by patacake
4.0 out of 5 stars book
Happy with this - book in condition as described and arrived quickly. Thank you
Published on 10 April 2009 by Mr. S. Krucker
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