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The Shakespeare Manuscript [Kindle Edition]

Stewart Buettner
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.99
Kindle Price: $2.99
You Save: $10.00 (77%)
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Book Description

Not one of Shakespeare’s plays exists in manuscript form until a failing bookseller discovers a long-lost, early version of HAMLET. In an attempt to trace the puzzling manuscript's origins, its new owner finds he can’t trust the identity of play’s author and soon has doubts about his own. But by then, the race to stage the new HAMLET is on, taking a toll on everyone involved. In the end, the new play leaves audience and actors alike wondering about the unexpected and moving consequences of the play they’ve just experienced.

Editorial Reviews


"Author Stewart Buettner puts together a blend of history and modern intrigue, leading to a unique and fun read. The Shakespeare Manuscript proves a riveting read not to be overlooked, very highly recommended."
--Midwest Book Review

From the Author

Shakespeare's Hamlet has fascinated me for years and especially its title role. Truly, Hamlet is one of the most thoughtful, complex characters ever written. 
After learning that a first edition of Shakespeare's plays (1623) had sold at auction for over six million dollars, I immediately thought something like 'wouldn't a manuscript of Hamlet, Shakespeare's most often-performed play, be far more valuable?' After all, there are hundreds of first editions in libraries but not a single manuscript of any of Shakespeare's plays exists today. That idea (and my love of Hamlet) ultimately led me to write The Shakespeare Manuscript.
Since I've been a book person virtually all my life (and worked in a bookstore and rare book collection), I thought why not make the protagonist a bookseller and at least begin the novel in a bookstore?  
This may sound a little too esoteric, but have no fear. If you like Shakespeare, you may well love him by the time you finish this novel. But even if you've never been to one of his plays, the book will provide hours of quick-paced, fascinating reading.

Product Details

  • File Size: 328 KB
  • Print Length: 279 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615462650
  • Publisher: Performance Arts Press (March 14, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004S7FTZ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,218,618 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Uniquely Written Shakespearean Tale March 5, 2011
By Mandy
Format:Kindle Edition

Well, it's not the most exciting cover I've seen, but it does get the point of the book across.


I enjoyed the uniqueness of this book. Yes, it was about a Shakespearean manuscript, but it was also about the drama that unfolded amongst the actors that were bringing that manuscript to life. The interactions amongst the characters were well-written and thought out.

There were questions I had about the story that did not get answered. However, I believe that lent an air of mystery to one of the main characters, which helped to make her who she was.


April, due to a tragic event, was scared to go outside of her apartment. Because of love, she ventures out into the real world and slowly finds her place back in it. She was slightly annoying and a little dramatic at times, but she was an actress so I suppose that was to be expected.

Miles is April's father. He has traveled to London to obtain old documents from an estate and ends up getting mugged the night before he's due to fly back to America. He's depicted as somewhat mean and abrasive by April, but ends up getting a slight personality change after an event in London.

Avery is the director of the actors and actresses practicing the Shakespearean play. He is also April's love interest and her reason for venturing back out into the world. He's older than her, but I believe it's what she needs. I don't think she would've ventured out into the world with someone less worldly or experienced.


This is a fantastically written and unique story that I believe many people would enjoy. I would recommend it to just about everyone.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars sad disappointment October 1, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't mean to sound cruel, but there should be some way of forcing people to identify whether they've given birth to or slept with the author of a book, because sometimes that's the only way to explain 5 stars. If there is a previous relationship, people looking for a fair review can be forwarned and take things as being somewhat biased.

This is sadly one of those cases. This book is a case of 'what could have been', and nothing more. The main character is a whiny loser, surrounded by self important whiny jerks. Her flippant lack of care for what she believes is a lost manuscript of Shakespeare himself (handling it bare handed, handing it over to people who can not be seriously taken as experts, not ensuring security, etc) is embarrassing and blows any possible believability in this sad little plot.

The only reason this is two stars instead of one is it seems to have at least been edited a bit. That puts it a step ahead of the self published free Kindle authors onto whom I've stumbled. Unless you think the plot of Murder She Wrote is Pulitzer material, please do yourself a favor and skip this book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
April Oliphant, managing her father's antiquarian bookstore in New York, opens a package sent to the store from him while on his travels in England searching for and buying rare books and documents. The package contains a 36 page written manuscript on very old paper. Upon further examining it, it appears to be a play about the early life of Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare. Let me repeat- it is a handwritten manuscript by Shakespeare containing a heretofore unknown play about Hamlet!!! This is the initial premise of a potentially incredibly exciting literary thriller about the first ever discovery of an actual Shakepeare manuscript (none exist in the real world)- and it being a new play to boot!

And then it fizzles completely. The earthshaking excitement of such a find, the veracity or forgery of the manuscript, the unbelievable impact on the literarary world, the history of the missing manuscript, maybe even some insight into Shakespeare's world and writing. NONE of it is touched. This books represents an incredible lost opportunity for a fascinating narrative (think of the Dan Brown-like thrillers of re-discovered ancient writings and its present day impacts) that the author just completely misses.

Instead, the story relates how April takes the manuscript to her former acting troupe who will stage it, and in which she will make her stage comeback as Ophelia. Who cares? What about the revolutionary discovery of the manuscript? Fuggettabboutit!

My wife and I are Shakespeare fans, seeing about 6 of his plays a year for the past few years, and even two new plays by Robert Brustein about Shakespeare and the writing of his plays. I eagerly downloaded the free Kindle book from Amazon and put aside my other books to read it.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Page-Turner for Shakespeare Lovers February 11, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Stewart Buettner's well-crafted mystery is a page-turner hinging on the apparent discovery of a new play by Shakespeare. In this clever novel--which moves freely from the business of antiquarian books to the plight of a small, cash-strapped acting company to the insolence of office--an agoraphobic young actress faces her demons and struggles with them as a priceless manuscript unexpectedly appears in her life and soon goes missing. Buettner knows how to tell a story and keeps the intricate plot interesting without letting it become convoluted. The characters are multifaceted, the sentences carefully constructed, the pacing swift. The author wears his erudition lightly and conveys his considerable knowledge of the topic with style and charm as well as earthiness. I'll add that in this novel, the Ur-Hamlet--that great white whale that Shakespearians still hope to find--is not an early version of the traditional Hamlet story by one of Shakespeare's contemporaries (or by Shakespeare himself) but a kind of prequel to the famous tale. With two "new" Shakespeare works having been tentatively added to the canon in recent years (Edward III is now included in the Oxford Shakespeare, and Double Falsehood has just been issued in the Arden series), Buettner's novel is not only entertaining but also timely.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars A Waste of a Good Premise
The blurbs offered a good thriller based on the premise of a discovery of a heretofore unknown first attempt at the Hamlet play by Shakespeare. Read more
Published 9 months ago by William A. Henslee
5.0 out of 5 stars far noble endeavor
Well done and very interesting. I liked how all the pieces of the story came together and how musings on a different Hamlet were woven into the fabric of the story. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Damian P. Gadal
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn!
This was a disappointing read. While the idea for the plot is intriguing, the book is not. It did not kept my interest. The plot didn't flow well and the characters were flat. Read more
Published 14 months ago by bookjunkie
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Shakespearania
Being a Shakespeare nut, it always fun to read speculations abouit him and his contemperaries. This was an excelent reimagining of Marlow's fate.
Published on June 10, 2012 by James M. Crews, Jr.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad read
It took me a while to finish this book, but even though I would put it away for a while it kept drawing me back till I finally finished it. Read more
Published on May 5, 2012 by Chris Christo
1.0 out of 5 stars Weak story, poorly told
Other reviewers have said it already: this is a thin story that I'm sorry to have spent the time to finish reading. Read more
Published on April 12, 2012 by Margery L. Goldstein
3.0 out of 5 stars Let down in the end...
The plot held more promise of an interesting end than it delivered. The characters of Miles and April were overly dramatized. Read more
Published on February 29, 2012 by Laura98092
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor execution
I've read worse books that were professionally published, but this one could have used an experienced fiction editor, one who would probably have insisted on more show than tell... Read more
Published on December 20, 2011 by TwoTooth
1.0 out of 5 stars don't bother
Gotta do my part to reduce the average rating of this book. I paid $0 for it and that was too much. Read more
Published on November 30, 2011 by Poughquager
2.0 out of 5 stars I Wanted to Like It. . .I Tried to Like It
Gave it a try but found that once I put it down it was hard for me to pick it up again. Eventually, I stopped trying. Read more
Published on November 30, 2011 by Limelite
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More About the Author

Stewart Buettner served in the Army and on the staff of a U. S. Congressman, and worked in a rare book collection. After earning his doctorate, he taught full-time at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, then resigned his position to devote more time to writing. He is the author of four books, two of them novels: BOMBERS B-52 and THE CONFESSIONS OF INES. His primary residence is in Portland, but he spends part of every year in New York City.


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