“The Lord Chamberlain’s Daughter” by Ron Fritsch

Ron Fritsch
Asymmetric Worlds Publishing (2019)
ISBN 9780997882971
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (12/19)

“The Lord Chamberlain’s Daughter” by Ron Fritsch is a seductive tale of power and greed, love and sacrifice, murder and betrayal, and the senseless war that caused it all. The tale is a distinctive rendition of one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies, “Hamlet” and it is as compelling as it is bewitching. The best part? No former knowledge of Shakespeare’s original tale is necessary to appreciate, “The Lord Chamberlain’s Daughter.”

The story occurs in Denmark, and the murder of Hamlet’s father, King Hamlet, sets a circuitous stage for the story. Hamlet suspects his uncle Claudius is the killer as he was next in line to the throne. But the death toll mounts as numerous other high-ranking officials in the kingdom fall prey to a murderous predator. Is the Prince of Norway responsible? He did lead the Norwegian charge in the war with Denmark. Or, was it the local villagers? Their resistance to the royal family was widely recognized. What does Ophelia, the Lord Chamberlain’s daughter, know about the murders? And, could she be next?

The tone for the story is set from the very first page. Told from Ophelia’s perspective, readers are in for a treat – Ophelia is a fierce heroine with her own agenda. The story begins with a conversation between Fortinbras of Norway and Ophelia, as they recount the events of that fateful time. The plot reveals itself through their current conversation with recollections of the past providing the substance and details. It’s a brilliant way to give the reader an insightful glimpse into the drama – an “insider’s view,” so to speak. The writing drives the story forward with an enticing pace and attention to detail that keeps the reader captivated and guessing.

“The Lord Chamberlain’s Daughter” is also full of delightful characters for the character-driven reader. That’s not to say they are all delightful in nature, far from it, but rather they are all well-rounded with distinctive tendencies that elicit strong emotional reactions. My personal favorite is Ophelia, she is definitely a woman ahead of her time, knows what she wants, and has a plan to achieve her goals.  Love her! Most intriguing is that many of the characters teeter the lines of moral ambiguity, leaving the reader guessing as to what they will do next!

Overall, I highly recommend “The Lord Chamberlain’s Daughter” by Ron Fritsch as an impressive, exhilarating take on a classic. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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