Length: Medium (9500 words)
Warning: Canonical and extra-canonical death
Rating: Mild - author's rating is R
Author on LJ: just throw words at the page
Website: The author has a separate writing journal and the 'Memories' section of it is linked here
Summary: Ghosts stalk Elsinore; sometimes a traveller returns.
Review: The dead of Elsinore don’t stay dead, particularly if they have something on their minds. Having refused to let Horatio die with him, Hamlet returns to haunt both his dreams and his waking hours - but, like his father before him, is maddeningly elliptical about the world he inhabits and the future of his country.
This is, of course, the continuation of a love affair between Horatio and his Prince which began - at least in the physical sense - when Hamlet found his way back to Denmark after the pirate attack. Lodged at Horatio's expense in a rough dockside tavern the two are free for the first time to express their feelings for one another, although these are not sudden or surprising revelations and indeed this love scene is rather delicately handled.
And, when Hamlet returns to confront his destiny, Horatio stays loyally beside him and only remains alive at Hamlet's express insistence. After he has told the world what he knows, however, the hauntings begin; Marcellus again reports the presence of ghosts in the castle. Indeed, all the dead are returned - including Ophelia, who for some reason has taken up residence in a tree and seems particularly communicative.
Horatio, of course, wants to be wherever Hamlet is, and Hamlet wants the same. Since 'the Almighty has fixed his canon against self-slaughter' it looks as if a futile sacrifice is called for - and so Horatio goes off to fight in Fortinbras's war against the Polack, which has the desired effect. He is soon returned, blissfully, to Hamlet's arms.
The story here is very nicely put together, although I must admit there is something a bit comical about poor Ophelia hanging around in a tree waiting for Hamlet to return to her and never realising that he's off elsewhere haunting Horatio. The real quibble I have is the extremely uneven and sometimes impenetrable quasi-Shakespearean dialogue which perhaps could have been simplified to better effect. Having said that, it's emotional honesty rather than verbal tricks which define a good story in my opinion, and this story certainly has it. Thia's steadfast and unassuming Horatio is very much my favourite sort of character; loyal to death and beyond. Her Hamlet ranges from mercurial to inexplicable at times, but then again that's Hamlet for you.
This is a solid and enjoyable piece of work with a lot to recommend it. It will make a useful and welcome addition to anyone's collection of favourite Shakespeare slash.
Link: Undiscovered Country