William Shakespeare's Macbeth Retold: A Novel
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018
Shakespeare’s dark and tragic play retold in a heart-pounding New York Times bestselling thriller from the author of The Snowman and The Thirst.
Set in the 1970s in a run-down, rainy industrial town, Jo Nesbo's Macbeth centers around a police force struggling to shed an incessant drug problem. Duncan, chief of police, is idealistic and visionary, a dream to the townspeople but a nightmare for criminals. The drug trade is ruled by two drug lords, one of whom—a master of manipulation named Hecate—has connections with the highest in power, and plans to use them to get his way.
Hecate’s plot hinges on steadily, insidiously manipulating Inspector Macbeth: the head of SWAT and a man already susceptible to violent and paranoid tendencies. What follows is an unputdownable story of love and guilt, political ambition, and greed for more, exploring the darkest corners of human nature, and the aspirations of the criminal mind.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Scandinavian noir collides with the Scottish Play in this high-speed, blood-soaked Shakespearian reboot. Jo Nesbø reimagines Macbeth as the head of a SWAT team in a dreary, working-class town in the ‘70s. Committed to cleaning up the gangs and corruption, Macbeth’s also obsessed with murdering police commissioner Duncan and taking his post. Nesbø doesn’t tamper much with Macbeth’s major themes, showing how relevant and modern the Bard’s treatment of power, ambition, and greed remains. Still, the best-selling Norwegian author finds places to let his own gifts for high atmosphere and grisly prose shine through.
In this ambitious entry in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, bestseller Nesb (The Thirst and 10 other Harry Hole novels) transmutes Macbeth into a crime novel set in 1970s Scotland. Macbeth heads the SWAT team in a dreary city called Capitol, determined to take down criminal gangs and to clean up the corrupt local government, a goal shared by Duncan, Capitol's upstanding police chief. But local drug kingpin Hecate wants to be rid of Duncan and schemes to put Macbeth, something of an outsider and an addict to a drug called "brew," in charge. Hecate sends Macbeth three sisters (the witches in Shakespeare's original), who foretell his future: that he will be head of the Organised Crime Unit and then chief commissioner. Macbeth is promoted to the first post by Duncan, and "Lady," Macbeth's consort and a local casino magnate, has the manipulative wiles to ensure Macbeth does whatever it takes to eliminate Duncan and rule the city. The themes will resonate well with contemporary readers, but, at nearly 500 pages, the story feels bloated. It's a clever reengineering of one of Shakespeare's great tragedies, but may disappoint Nesb 's fan base.
I didn’t know what to expect, given the mixed reviews I have seen here and elsewhere; but then once I started I could not put the book down. I like the modern version of the story and the more in depth background of the characters. Some critical junctures could have used more analysis, but otherwise I think this is a very interesting read indeed.
This book just doesn’t work. WKerby1
Jo, please bring Harry back! Thank you...