(Review) A Man of Honor, or Horatio’s Confessions by J.A. Nelson

Publisher and Publication Date: Quill Point Press. December 9, 2019.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 410.
Format: Paperback.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback copy from the author. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction and Shakespeare.
Rating: Excellent.

Book tour site page: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour.

Link to read the tragedy of Hamlet (free). Courtesy of MIT.
Another link to read Hamlet (free). The words are large print at this site. Courtesy of The Folger Shakespeare.

Winner of two silver medals
Best First Book, Fiction
Best Cover, Fiction
Awarded by the IBPA (2020)

2020 Notable Indie, Top 100 – Best Indie Book Awards, Shelf Unbound

Finalist, Literary Fiction
14th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards (2020)

Link @ Amazon
The Kindle is $3.99 on this day.

Link @ Barnes and Noble

About the Author:

J. A. Nelson’s passion for exploring connections between history, literature, and evidence in written texts has shaped her life—from a BA (Occidental College) and MA (The George Washington University) in cultural studies to a two-decade career at the National Archives of the United States, working with historical documentary treasures and helping people access unique stories in those records. Ms. Nelson is a native of Culver City, CA, a Los Angeles suburb. She lives with her husband in Northern Virginia. A Man of Honor, or Horatio’s Confessions is her debut novel.


A Man of Honor tells the fictional tale of how one man’s oath gave birth to the legend of Hamlet.

How far would you go to keep a deathbed promise?

Surrounded by the bodies of slain monarchs, a dying prince extracts a promise from his friend, Horatio: “Tell my story.”

Rival kings of warring nations strive to lay claim to the throne, now vacant, but what will happen to the people who live there, at Helsingør’s Krogen Castle? How will Horatio preserve his honor and the prince’s legacy while surviving this murderous kingdom and the men who would rule it?

Despite the odds and threats against him, Horatio persists, weaving the story of his dear friend into the fabric of one of their oldest and most revered medieval texts.

But when a nefarious Spaniard thwarts his plans, Horatio must once again risk everything to fulfill his oath.

With the help of some unexpected allies in the form of Margrete, a courageous lady-in-waiting, and Lanier, a disgraced French nobleman, Horatio undertakes this perilous quest that will lead him on a journey none of them could have ever predicted, to a place none of them ever thought they would see.

And after their hard-fought journey will it all be for naught?
Will Hamlet’s glory be Horatio’s downfall?

Page from a geography book. The time period is 1580s. Kronborg Braun-Hogenberg – Kronborg – Wikipedia

My Thoughts:

It’s been several years since I’ve read Hamlet. I recently read the tragedy to refresh my memory. I remember the main points, but I had forgotten some of the characters and dialogue.

A Man of Honor starts at the final scene in Hamlet. Hamlet lay dying while his friend Horatio watches in grief.
Hamlet asks Horatio to tell his story. This is the main plot of A Man of Honor: for Horatio to remember in honor Hamlet’s last wish of telling his story.

A Man of Honor stays true to the atmosphere and other elements of the tragedy, Hamlet. It is a dramatic story. It has characters who plot, avenge, murder; and, they seek to raise themselves above one another. The kings are devious and cruel. There is internal and external conflicts to seek justice. Yet, how can this be carried out?

I like the character Horatio. He is believable. He has both positive and negative character traits that make him a flesh and blood person. He has a transformation in the story which adds a remarkable journey in his person.

I love the character Margrete. She is an admirable person. She has survived abuse and harsh treatment because of the abuse, but she is a survivor. She is a survivor both in body and mind.

I love this story because it is a story I’ve not heard before. It is based on one of the most famous plays of Shakespeare. I love Nelson’s choice of topic. I love the research described in the author’s notes and sources. I love it that this is Nelson’s first published book.

Further reasons why I love this story:
I love the beautiful and descriptive writing style.
I love the romantic scenes.
I love the settings of the story. The story begins in Denmark, but the story travels to two other countries.
I love the how the characters act to overcome conflicts.

Themes in the story: courage, revenge, murder, loyalty, ambition, bravery, redemption, power of love, honesty, and honor.

A page from Gesta Danorum. Books of Danish history.


Enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on February 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Giveaway link: Man of Honor (gleam.io)

Impressions In Ink is not the host benefactor for this giveaway.


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