Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Falstaff's Big Gamble by Hank Quense

Hope you read the Guest Post yesterday from Hank!
We are happy to share a wonderful excerpt from the book, Falstaff's Big Gamble 
and a VERY wonderful Giveaway for THREE lucky BTHM readers!

falstaffs big gamble

Synopsis: This novel is Shakespeare’s Worst Nightmare.
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 the throne

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."

About Hank Quense
Award-winning author Hank Quense lives in Bergenfield, NJ with his wife Pat. They have two daughters and five grandchildren. He writes humorous fantasy and scifi stories. 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’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:

Follow him on twitter:

Purchase Falstaff’s Big Gamble in paperback or kindle format at Amazon

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I was offered this excerpt and giveaway for blog purposes, on this blog, free of charge, from the author, via Pump Up Your Book ! No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it. 


  1. Zaftan Entrepreneurs looks wonderful. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. all the reviews so far agree with you.

  2. Falstaff big gamble

    arifamily at

  3. Falstaff's Big Gamble

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  4. Hi everyone
    Check out the Goodreads reviews for my book.

  5. I'd most like to read "Falstaff's Big Gamble".
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. I'd like to read Falstaff's Big Gamble first.

  7. I have never read anything of his because I never heard of him until now! Falstaff's Big Gamble looks like a lot of fun. Playing with Will's Greatest Hits - who wouldn't think that was fun?

    1. Hi tanmmygirl

      Playing with the Bard's stuff is fun. I love doing it. I also like to rewrite legends and old myths.

  8. A Conflict of Interest by Adam Mitzner
    when the review stated that if you like grisham books u would love this book..I am sold..thanks!!

  9. I subscribed under

  10. Your button is on my sidebar at

  11. Falstaff's Big Gamble!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  12. Falstaff's Big Gamble is the only book i know as i do not know of this author

    tuckersaver at hotmail dot com

  13. I think Brunnhilde's Quest sounds like a good story!

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

    1. Brunnhilde's Quest is fantasy spoof about the Rhinegold myth. My next book (1Q13) will be Wotan's Dilemma, a scifi version of the Rhinegold muth with fantasy creatures replaced by aliens. It's great fun.

  14. tales from gundarland


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