|Author Falstaff's Big Gamble
About Hank Quense
Award-winning author Hank Quense writes humorous fantasy and sci-fi stories. His motto is fantasy and sci-fi stories told with humor and satire. He has over forty published short stories and a number of nonfiction articles. On occasion, he also writes an article on fiction writing or book marketing but says that writing nonfiction is like work while writing fiction is fun. He refuses to write serious genre fiction saying there is enough of that on the front page of any daily newspaper and on the evening TV news. Hank lives in Bergenfield, NJ with his wife Pat. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
Hank’s previous works include Zaftan Enterprises, Zaftan Miscreants and Tales From Gundarland, a collection of fantasy stories. Readers Favorite awarded the book a medal and EPIC designated it a finalist in its 2011 competition. His Fool’s Gold is a retelling of the ancient Rhinegold myth and Tunnel Vision is a collection of twenty previously published short stories. Build a Better Story is a book of advice for fiction writers.
He has a number of links where you can follow his work and his occasional rants:
Strange Worlds website:http://strangeworldsonline.com
Follow him on twitter: http://twitter.com/hanque99
Facebook fan pages: https://www.facebook.com/StrangeWorldsOnline
Purchase the book at Amazon
About Falstaff’s Big Gamble
It takes two of the Bard's most famous plays, Hamlet and Othello, and recasts them in Gundarland. There, Hamlet becomes a dwarf and Othello a dark elf and Iago and his wife, Emilia, are trolls.
If that isn't bad enough, these two tragedies are now comedies with Falstaff, Shakespeare's most popular rogue, thrown in as a bonus.
Both Hamlet and Othello are plagued by the scheming Falstaff, who embezzles money from Othello. After Hamlet becomes king (with help from Falstaff) the rogue becomes the dark nemesis behind throne.
About The Strange Worlds of Hank Quense
Hank Quense has written about the Strange Worlds that he has developed as a background to many of the books he has written. One of these worlds is called Gundarland, a planet inhabited by humans and fantasy creatures. The second is Zaftan 31B, home world of the alien race known as Zaftans. The books contain information on culture, races, religion, politics and other topics. His latest book in this series is Zaftan Enterprises.
Falstaff’s Big Gamble Book Excerpt
Hamlet, Crown Prince of Denmarko, paced the castle battlements late on a clear, cool spring night. He walked with hands clasped behind his back and head down. He had a thin nose with brown hair and eyes. His scrawny build and clean-shaven face gave him the appearance of a starving waif.
He paused, gazed at the multitudinous stars, sighed and continued his pacing. A breeze brought the smells of the harbor: salt water and rotting fish guts. At last, he stopped, thrust one hand to the sky and declaimed, "To bee or not to bee?" He stroked his chin. "Whether 'tis nobler to buy honey from the peasant farmer in the market and thus provide him sustenance and income to support his brood of brats, possibly keeping him from rebelling over high taxes . . . or to grow my own honey thus, gaining coins to assert my independence from my noble family and the sordid court? Hmm."
He paced some more, still troubled by his vexing question. Nothing less than his future depended upon the answer. Because his uncle, and now stepfather, Clodio, had usurped his right to rule the kingdom, he needed a profession and an income.
"Do you always talk to yourself?" a voice said from the shadows.
"Who . . . who goes there?" Hamlet's head snapped from one side to another while his hand grasped the hilt of his dagger.
"'Tis I, the ghost of your father. I bring a message for your ears alone."
Hamlet goggled at the specter who materialized in the shadows of a doorway. "You're not my father's ghost. My father was a dwarf and you're the ghost of an elf. You're an impostor and a dead one to boot."
"Hey, your father is busy and he asked me to fill in."
"Busy? In the underworld? What's he doing?" Hamlet clutched his red tunic and tugged downward as if to hide his shaking hands.
"He met a good-lookin' ghost of a female dwarf and he's wooin her."
"Dead not a month, and he forsakes his wife, my mother?
"You gotta understand. Life on this side — no pun intended — is pretty borin'. When you gotta a chance to do somethin' interestin', you gotta go with it."
Hamlet ran a hand over his face. Why me? he thought. "What's the message?"
"His death was no accident. It was murder most foul. Here is his exact message. 'But know, thou noble youth, the serpent that did sting thy Father's life, now wears his crown.’” The ghost paused then added, "Did your father always talk funny like that?"
"Murdered? By whom?"
"Didn't you listen? The message tells you who whacked him. Your father wants you to send this guy over here so he can talk to him. He doesn't wanna wait until the guy croaks from natural causes."
Hamlet watched in awe as the ghostly figure evaporated. A few seconds later, it popped back into sight. "Oh, I forgot to tell you. Your father says, 'Thy mother the queen is to know naught of this nocturnal visit.’" The ghost disappeared.
His father's murder shocked him. And the murderer had married his mother immediately afterward. Did the world have no morals?
He recalled his first thoughts when he'd heard of his father's death. How he admired the perseverance and tenacity his father must have had to commit suicide by suffocating himself with a pillow. Now all that admiration was wasted; the old dwarf had had help.
What to do? He needed to make decisions about bee farming and now he had to avenge his father. Was there no end to the demands on a prince's time? He said to the stars, "To bee-keep or to avenge? That is the question."