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William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back (William Shakespeare's Star Wars Book 2) Kindle Edition

115 customer reviews

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Length: 176 pages Optimized for larger screens

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Editorial Reviews


“...enormous fun…” —       
“Good luck getting to the end without rolling off your chairs. This book is a hoot.”—McClatchy Tribune
“ inspired illustrated mashup that retells the space adventure in artful iambic pentameter and answers the question: What light through Yoda's window breaks?”—Tampa Bay Tribune
“So what are you waiting for? Get thee once more to a galaxy far, far away.”—Paste Magazine
“‘Tis a delight.”—Palm Beach Post
“This is a must for any fan of ‘Star Wars’”—The Citizen
“Illustrated with beautiful black-and-white Elizabethan-style artwork, [William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back] offer[s] essential reading for all ages.”—East Bay Express
“Classic literature blended with fun is the best way to describe William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back...”—San Gabriel Valley Tribune

“…masterful…”—Deseret News

About the Author

Ian Doescher the author of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars®: Verily, a New Hope. He lives with his family in Portland, Oregon.

Product Details

  • File Size: 40100 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Quirk Books (March 18, 2014)
  • Publication Date: March 18, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,884 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Ian Doescher - author of the William Shakespeare Star Wars series - has loved Shakespeare since eighth grade and was born 45 days after Star Wars Episode IV was released. He has a B.A. in Music from Yale University, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Ethics from Union Theological Seminary. Ian lives in Portland, Oregon, with his spouse and two sons. Visit Ian online at [Photo by Shan Applegate]

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C.R. Hurst TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am new to Ian Doescher's reworking of Star Wars a la William Shakespeare, and despite some initial skepticism, I must admit that I am very impressed. Doescher creates a wonderful blend of George Lucas's classic story and the great dramatist's style. In William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back we once again meet the principal cast of Star Wars: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader, and secondary characters such as C-3PO, R2-D2, and Yoda. And their familiar story is organized into prologue, acts, and scenes, as well as with many of the trappings of a Shakespearean drama: iambic pentameter, choruses, asides, soliloquies, and the elegant language of the Bard. Even those who have not read Doescher's first installment, Star Wars, should easily follow the plot--all is needed is a working knowledge of and a fondness for Star Wars and a love of Shakespeare and parody. I recommend The Empire Striketh Back wholeheartedly.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Canadian eReader on March 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars – The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher is the sequel to William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, a retelling of George Lucas’s space saga in the style of William Shakespeare. I would strongly recommend picking this up as an audiobook rather than ebook or hard copy – Random House Audio’s production is top notch with an excellent cast. It is far more like a radio play than an audiobook and the excellent cast does a wonderful job of telling the story.

What I liked

The source material. The original Star Wars trilogy is a darn good story. It contains a lot of strong themes which would have been as relevant in Shakespeare’s time as today: love, betrayal, youthful impetuousness, struggle against tyranny. Doescher therefore has a strong base on which to base his adaptation. It also isn’t too jarring, for example, when Han rails against Lando’s betrayal in Shakespearean language as it is a theme and emotion found in many of Shakespeare’s works.

Yoda. On my first listen through I was a little disappointed that Yoda didn’t sound too different from the other characters. In the movies, he has a unique speech pattern and I was hoping that this would be reflected in Empire Striketh Back. It was only on reading Doescher’s commentary that I realised Yoda was speaking in haiku! Darn I wished I’d picked that up first time. This is intended to reflect Yoda’s role as Luke’s master – or sensei – in the mystical force giving an eastern feel to it. Brilliant. Appropriate and brilliant.

The production. Random House Audio has gone full out to make this a radio play rather than an audiobook. We have a strong cast, sound effects (including the iconic swish of the lightsabres) as well as snippets of John Williams’ memorable soundtrack.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TrinityTwo on June 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover
(Trinitytwo’s Point of View from the *Reviewed the 3 books in the series together)

I am forgoing my usual short synopsis of the stories I review because in this case I think I am justified with assuming that most people already know a little something about the original Star Wars trilogy.

I’ve loved Star Wars since I saw the first film in 1977. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to review these books. However, I will admit to being a bit nervous about the “Shakespearean” component. Honestly, I admire the Bard and absolutely love Shakespearean theater, but given the choice it is not the first (or even second) book I would pull from a shelf to read. If you have similar fears, let me put them to rest: Ian Doescher’s triple combination of the beloved bard, George Lucas’ classic Star Wars saga, and a few of the author’s own secret ingredients creates one of the most enchanting and delightful series imaginable. This well-loved story written in Shakespearean style made the material fresh and exciting.

Pay special attention to the asides and soliloquies: they can be funny, poignant or sad but each gives a unique insight into character personality or motivations. I really love Doescher’s books the best when he shares our cherished character’s innermost thoughts. For instance, how does C-3PO really feel about R2-D2, or vice-versa? Haven’t we all wondered what Obi Wan was really thinking when he told Luke his father was killed by Darth Vader? Speaking of Vader, what are the thoughts behind that monstrous mask? Are Stormtroopers people with ideas and hopes, or just faceless soldiers? How did Luke and Leia feel when they found out they were siblings after their infamous kiss? Is the Emperor all bad?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By wordsandpeace on April 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Last year, I posted a few brief thoughts on Shakespeare’s Star Wars, which I found really hilarious and excellent. Eric Smith at Quirk Books noticed, and asked if I was interested in volume 2.

The Empire Striketh Back is of course the same stuff, that is, Star Wars recounted in the style of the Bard, with rhymes, chorus, list of characters entering and exiting for each scene, etc, just like a real play.
But I found it even better. Ian Doescher is getting a real Jedi of the iambic pentameter! It flows, even sometimes with rhymes, like for the very first chorus of the play.

Ever more so than in the 1st volume, you even have here and there hints at some plays by Shakespeare. Had you ever imagined Leia as a new Juliet? I had not, but reading what she says in that style, it made me rethink of the whole story. Between Romeo and Juliet and Star Wars, don’t we have here some very common human archetypal characters and patterns?

LEIA: Thou must not do this to impress me, Han.
[Aside:] Already he hath won my heart, ’tis true,
Yet would I rather live to tell him so!

R2-D2 is so much like many funny fools in Shakespeare:

My path shall be to play the fool and watch:
I shall maintain my droid like silence and
Bear witness as the boy becomes the man,
The learner doth become the Jedi true.

There are so many great passages I could quote, for instance the tragic soliloquy by Exogor (pp.85-86), not unlike Shakespeare’s Macbeth or King Lear.

And how about instead of watching Vader and Luke fight with their lightsabers, you hear the chorus tell you all about it? That was a powerful passage for me.
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