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A.J. Hartley

A.J. HartleyBritish-born writer A.J. Hartley, author of the New York Times bestselling The Mask of Atreus and On the Fifth Day, is the Distinguished Professor of Shakespeare in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. As well as being a novelist and academic, he is a screenwriter, theatre director, and dramaturge. He is married, with a son, and lives in Charlotte. Learn about his other novels at A.J. Hartley’s website.
Click here for more books by A.J. Hartley.

Will Hawthorne

Will Hawthorne — (2009-2013) Publisher: Act of Will is a boisterous fantasy adventure that introduces us to Will Hawthorne, a medieval actor and playwright who flees the authorities only to find himself inextricably bound to a group of high-minded adventurers on a deadly mission. Will travels with them to a distant land where they are charged with the investigation and defeat of a ruthless army of mystical horsemen, who appear out of the mist leaving death and devastation in their wake. In the course of Will’s uneasy alliance with his new protectors, he has to get his pragmatic mind to accept selfless heroism (which he thinks is absurd) and magic (which he doesn’t believe in). Will must eventually decide where his loyalties really lie and how much he is prepared to do — and believe — to stand up for them.

fantasy book review A.J. Hartley 1. Act of Will 2. Will Powerfantasy book review A.J. Hartley 1. Act of Will 2. Will Power               fantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviews

Act of Will: Like a Shakespearean comedy

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Act of Will by A.J. Hartley

A.J. Hartley is best known as a writer of best-selling mystery-thriller novels, as a distinguished professor of Shakespeare in the English Department at University of North Carolina, and as editor of the Shakespeare Bulletin published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Dr. Hartley’s theater expertise is readily apparent in Act of Will, the first book of his first fantasy series.

It’s Will Hawthorne’s 18th birthday and he is finally a man. Today he hopes to be promoted to playing male parts and penning plays for his acting company. But, O how full of briars is this working-day world! Will instead finds himself on the run from The Empire, dashing across rooftops in a dre... Read More

Will Power: Will is a special hero

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Will Power by A.J. Hartley

Will Power is A.J. Hartley’s second book about actor-turned-adventurer Will Hawthorne. It’s a direct sequel, beginning just a month after the events in Act of Will, but a reader could easily enjoy this book without reading Act of Will.

In Will Power, Will and the gang are swept away to what appears to be a parallel universe in which goblin-like creatures are threatening the beautiful people of Phasdreille. But all is not as it seems, and Will finds himself needing to solve a mystery and, at the same time, confronting some of his own prejudices.

If you enjoyed Act of Will, you’ll probably enjoy Will Power. It’s a very similar book, but perhaps a little too simi... Read More

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: Solid and enjoyable retelling of Hamlet

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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by A.J. Hartley

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet by David Hewson and A.J. Hartley, is fairly straightforward. It doesn't depart from the basic plot events or thematic issues as we are familiar with them in Shakespeare, nor is it particularly inventive in language or structure. This surprised me at first, as I expected a meta or avant garde treatment of this most classic of texts. (Thinking about it, I was probably unconsciously expecting a more Stoppard-esque adaptation.)

What this book does do is deepen the characterization of each of the major characters. In Hewson and Hartley's version, we understand the myriad reasons for Old Hamlet's murder, for Fortinbras' invasion of Denmark, for young Hamlet's halting con... Read More

SFM: Ronald, Vernon, Tregillis, Kowal, Hartley, Deeds

Short Fiction Monday: There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we've read recently that we wanted you to know about.



“And Then, One Day, the Air was Full of Voices” by Margaret Ronald (June 2016, free at Clarkesworld or paperback magazine issue)


Dr. Kostia is a keynote speaker and panel participant in an academic conference. Her specialty is extra-terrestrial intelligence ― specifically, the analysis of some radio-like transmissions from an alien race called the Coronals. About thirty years before, Earth scientists received a signal from the Corona Borealis that rewrote an entire computing cent... Read More

More fantasy by A.J. Hartley

Darwen Arkwright — (2011-2013) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Eleven-year-old Darwen Arkwright has spent his whole life in a tiny town in England. So when he is forced to move to Atlanta, Georgia, to live with his aunt, he knows things will be different–but what he finds there is beyond even his wildest imagination! Darwen discovers an enchanting world through the old mirror hanging in his closet–a world that holds as many dangers as it does wonders. Along with his new friends Rich and Alexandra, Darwen becomes entangled in an adventure and mystery that involves the safety of his entire school. They soon realize that the creatures are after something in our world — something that only human children possess.

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