Falstaff's Big Gamble

Humor, Science Fiction & Fantasy

By Hank Quense

Publisher : Strange Worlds Online

ABOUT Hank Quense

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 l More...




This novel is Shakespeare's Worst Nightmare.  It takes two of the Bard's most famous plays, Hamlet and Othello, and recasts them with fantasy characters in a place called Gundarland.  Hamlet is a dwarf and Othello is a dark elf.  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, a human.

Never read Shakespeare?  Not a problem.  You'll still this romp over the Gundarlandian countryside.


For years, I tried to writer a short story spoofing Shakespeare's Othello. I wanted to do the same with Hamlet. Nothing I tried would get either of these stories to work and I attempted to get them going several times a year. After another frustrating attempt to get each story started, I tried putting Hamlet and Othello into the same story. That didn't work either because there was nothing linking the two characters. In a flash of inspiration, I added Falstaff to the cast. About thirty seconds later, I had the entire story (and it was a novel, not a short story). I've never experienced anything like that. But I'd love to have it happen again, It was awesome.

Shakespeare...meets The Sopranos...meets Elves and Dwarves???? Yes, it might seem hard to believe, but there are colorful characters and creatures from all of the above, who are alive and feuding in Falstaff's Big Gamble! Hank Quense has worked his magic like a mad scientist, using his literary test tubes, flasks, beakers, and cylinders to concoct this one-of-a-kind creation.

In this unique world of Gundarland, Hamlet, the dwarf beekeeper, struggles with avenging his father's murder and with the integrity of Falstaff. One of my favorite lines is when Hamlet says, "To bee or not to bee." Othello, the elf responsible for Homeland Security, is conflicted about his connection with "The Godmother," a creative, humorous take on the patriarchal Soprano-type figure.

 I was rolling on the floor, laughing at Emilia's incessant sarcasm and masochistic relationship with Iago. The author's cast of unusual elves, dwarves, and other-worldly critters adds a vivid dimension of fantasy and mystical mayhem. If you are already a fan of Quense's masterpieces, you will love this one! If you have not yet experienced his gifts of wit and wackiness, this novel will get you hooked! Lynn Coyle


If you are a fan of fantasy worlds, humorous story plots, and unpredictable adventures, you will love this story as a Shakespeare fan or not! This is one of those books I couldn't put down all day. I got wrapped up in the outrageous troll scenes, twisted plots, running my imagination wild! All your favorite Shakespeare characters are portrayed as Dwarves, Elves, Trolls, in this witty, comical, and adventurous tale of a whole other world called Gundarland. I think this could well be another great Shakespeare-tragedy spoof. 

I love how the author takes famous quotes and turn them slightly to another meaning, for example, Hamlet and the, "To bee, or not to bee," in regards of his beekeeping business that he is trying to pursue and establish, even though in spite of his mothers and the new king's wishes. Hamlet is to revenge his father’s death while Othello has been set up by the grand Godmother. This is one you will have to read for yourself with no spoils! 

I will most definitely be recommending this book to everyone I know, and especially the people I game with online who are very much into Lord of the Rings, Everquest 2, and World of Warcraft. Mostly because this is how I envisioned the book. It made the book an even more fun read imagining that the characters were people I have gamed with over the years who played as these certain races. 

Sky Tillery