Title: Falstaff’s Big Gamble
Author: Hank Quense
Genre: fantasy, humor
Price: $2.99 (ebook) / $12.99 (paperback
Publisher: Strange Worlds Online
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib
Some time ago, Hank Quense asked me to review his science fiction / fantasy novel Zaftan Entrepreneurs. I did, and found it unique and humorous. So, when the PR for his new title Falstaff’s Big Gamble crossed my desk, I agreed to review it. I’m darned glad I did.
Hank took a simple concept – lift some characters from Shakespeare, put them in a box and shake vigorously – and added his own unique touches. For example, Hamlet, who is actually the first character we meet, is a dwarf, and prince of the town of Denmarko. He does in fact meet a ghost, but it’s not his father – the recently-deceased is too busy in the afterlife to show up, so he sends another ghost. Oh, and Hamlet? He wants to be a beekeeper, so his famous soliloquy is “to bee or not to bee!” (No, I did not misspell ‘bee’!)
In similar fashion, Othello is a dark elf, married to the troll Desdemona, whose grandmother is the “Godmother” of the local crime syndicate! Othello has been padding his military resume, a problem now that he’s Minister of Homeland Security. Sir John Falstaff, a human, needs no padding, but he does need money. At first all three of these characters wander the stage separately, but when they do meet, it’s perhaps not exactly the way Shakespeare would have done it.
I am a tough audience when it comes to humor, but Falstaff’s Big Gamble was right up my alley. It’s not a laugh-out-loud book, but it is amusing and light-hearted. Quense gets the essence of each character correct, and runs that essence to its logical if farcical conclusion. Everybody gets what they deserve, if not what they want, and you the reader will have a lot of fun watching it happen.
I highly recommend Falstaff’s Big Gamble.