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Shakespeare Undead [Paperback]

Lori Handeland

RRP: 10.02
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Book Description

1 July 2010
When speaking of William Shakespeare, legends and rumours abound. But what is fiction? And wherein lies the truth? Some say his impressive body of work is too impressive. No single human being could have written all those plays, that multitude of sonnets. Others insist the reality of the historical plays, the pain of the tragedies, the joy of the comedies, the authenticity of characters are all too much for one man. He'd have to be superhuman to produce such genius. Well, here's the truth: Will was not only one of the greatest writers in the English language, he was also a necromancer. In exchange for a front row seat to history, Will supplied zombie armies. Sure, he's sorry now. Hey, he's refused to raise a shuffling, shambling corpse for years. And the talent - which comes only to a necromancer who's become a vampire - is extremely rare. So why are there so many zombies strolling around London? Will needs to find out. He has help from Katherine Dymond, the famed "Dark Lady" of Sonnets 127-152. Katherine is Will's one and only love, the woman he can only be near in the dark. Together, Katherine and Will struggle against the reanimated corpses, even as they attempt to discover who has raised them, who is controlling them and what the zombies are after.

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About the Author

Lori Handeland is the "USA Today" and "New York Times" bestselling author of the Nightcreature Novels, "The Phoenix Chronicles" and "Shakespeare Undead." She is the recipient of many industry awards, including two RITA awards, a "Romantic Times" Award for Best Harlequin Superromance, and the Prism Award from Romance Writers of America. She lives in Wisconsin with her family and a yellow lab named Ellwood.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Double double, toil and trouble. 20 July 2010
By Rosalie Stanton - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really wish Amazon allowed for half-stars, because while I did enjoy this book, there were certain aspects that prevented me from giving it four stars.

A brief summary: "Shakespeare Undead" is about a necromancer vampire who goes by the name Will Shakespeare and has, among other things, penned a good percentage of the world's great literature over his considerably long life. He abstains from drinking from humans and raising zombies, though he has done both in the past. Teamed up with Kate, a zombie-slaying machine, Will works at chopping the undead down to size all the while attempting to identify the necromancer responsible for the zombie invasion. He and Kate are also infatuated with each other, though she is married and he is, well, a vampire.

There were many things to enjoy in "Shakespeare Undead." The writing is above par, and while I didn't care for the shifting POVs, it didn't distract me from the story as much as I thought it might. I also really enjoyed Ms. Handeland's characterization of Shakespeare. He is drawn as a brilliant, though aloof character, often fantasizing about various plot ideas that come to him at the most inconvenient moment. The audience is supposed to infer that Shakespeare ultimately pens "The Wizard of Oz," "The Sixth Sense," "Star Wars," and perhaps one or two other works of consideration. This was cute the first time the reference was made, but by the time Shakespeare started envisioning Princess Leia telling a wise old sage that he was her "only hope," the joke had run its course.

Ms. Handeland also did a good job of creating sizzling chemistry between Will and Kate. I truly enjoyed the back-and-forth of their relationship.

I mentioned the shifting POVs, and while they didn't distract me, they didn't seem necessary by the end. Kate's first person narration didn't reveal anything that Will's third person did not. Likewise, if there was any mention as to what Will used as a blood substitution, as he didn't feed from humans, it wasn't made obvious. Yes, vamplore is ever-changing and subject to the author's personal mythology, but when the cornerstones of vamplore are dismissed, we need some explanation as to where the vampires who abstain from blood of any kind get what they need in order to survive. Like I said, this might have been touched upon in the book, but if it was, it was done so in such a way it was easy for the casual reader to overlook it.

I also caught myself thinking of Shakespeare in Love more than I should have. Obviously with any fictionalization of Shakespeare's life, we're going to see some references to his literary works, but from the stolen balcony scene from "Romeo and Juliet," to the R&J lark/nightingale back and forth as dawn approached, to Kate masquerading as a boy both to hunt zombies and to act on stage, to the Silvia speech from "Two Gentleman of Verona," it seemed Ms. Handeland's best knowledge of Shakespeare came from the movie and not history books. I would have liked some hint at other Shakespearan insight than just from the film. Constantly reciting from Shakespeare's plays was also a little jarring when Ms. Handeland returned to normal dialogue. It was likely meant to be an intentional anachronism, but the shift was very obvious.

I will say I thought the last few lines of dialogue were brilliant, and I love where she left this story off.

Overall, this was a very entertaining read, one I gobbled up in less than 36 hours. It kept me interested, made me laugh, and while I did find fault with it upon reflecting, the plot spoke to the Shakespeare enthusiast in me, as well as the lover of a good paranormal romance.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could Have Been Better 3 Dec 2010
By BCB - Published on
I would've actually given this book 3.5 stars if that was possible. I enjoyed the premise of 'Shakespeare Undead' especially since I have a thing for zombies and historical fiction. It seemed like the perfect combination. While it was an enjoyable read at times it felt forced and hurried. The love story definitely took main stage and left the zombies lumbering along behind. I enjoyed the elements of allusion throughout the book (even the cornier ones with modern ties) and imagine if you don't know much about Shakespeare's works then those would be lost in the reading. Overall I liked the book but was a little disappointed by the lack of development (and what seems to be a deliberate nod to Shakespeare in Love).
5.0 out of 5 stars New and exciting concept 4 Jan 2014
By Titanic fan - Published on
Verified Purchase
Great story with a new, exciting twist. Shakespeare is a vampire who fights zombies! Sounds ridiculous but it's beautifully written with a wicked sense of humor. Lots of lovely little zingers that refer to his plays; makes you wish it were real
5.0 out of 5 stars All is Well with Shakespeare 10 Mar 2013
By M. R. Randazzo - Published on
Verified Purchase
Shakespeare UndeadThis book caught my eye because of the title. Everyone talks about Shakespeare the writer but what if he had other tendencies. This book gives reasons why he wrote about his characters in his plays in a very new way. If he had been a vampire, he would have had knowledge of many eras of time and would have been around to see and interact with all them. I enjoyed viewing him this way because it made him more enjoyable. I have seen live performances of Shakespearean plays so all those anecdotes of how he would direct the performances in this book make sense. I highly recommend this to anyone who has read or seen a play by Shakespeare. Good reference to the Taming of the Shrew.
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable 24 Oct 2012
By Navie Dunne - Published on
I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long time. The subtle references to modern fiction were humorous, and the romance satisfying without being too angsty. Overall, a fun, well-written and unique twist on the bard of Avon. The last line in the book: absolutely priceless.
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