“Exeunt Omnes” — Ian Doescher works his Shakespearean magic on The Last Policeman

Ian Doescher is the guy who had the brilliantly simple idea of rewriting the entire Star Wars trilogy as Shakespearean tragedies—and not only did he have the idea, he’s executing it well, rendering all of Luke and Han’s dialog in flawless iambic pentameter. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars and The Empire Striketh Back were Times bestsellers, as I’m sure The Jedi Doth Return will be—it comes out tomorrow! 

Hereth is Ian: 

IanD
Ian Doescher, Poet Laureate of Dagobah.


When you work with a mid-sized publisher like Quirk Books, you hear a lot about the other books they publish.  While I was working on the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars trilogy, I heard about two other trilogies currently in the works with Quirk Books: Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children trilogy, and, of course, Ben’s Last Policeman trilogy.

 

When I heard about The Last Policeman in the fall of 2013, the concept was immediately attractive to me: a detective novel with just one element of reality tweaked—the impending end of the world.  I was fascinated by the concept and even more excited when I read The Last Policeman and Countdown City in quick succession.  Hank Palace was a hero unlike any I’d met before: dutiful, blundering, compassionate, thoughtful, and devoted to his craft (to a fault).  I looked forward to World of Trouble with excitement, and read it as soon as Quirk Books could send me an advance copy.  Now I know how it ends—but of course I’m not saying.  (How fun to write a trilogy and have your readers not know the ending!  Everyone knows how William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return is going to end up.)

Ben and I were virtually introduced back in November, and I couldn’t help but fan boy on him a little bit.  In the midst of our correspondence, I decided Hank Palace needed his own Shakespearean treatment.  So now, as we prepare for the final book in The Last Policeman trilogy, I humbly present the soliloquy Shakespeare might have penned had he been clever enough to invent Hank Palace:

 

Palace:

What dismal age is mine in which to live—

An asteroid doth come to crush the Earth,

trouble
The new book, which I cravenly did not write in verse.

Humanity of future is bereft,

Each story now is fear and apathy

And, in the end, the hand of suicide.

Yet even in the midst of terror great

Some signs of hope still break upon my sight:

The college boys out rowing in their shells,

The skill’d forensic doctor plies her trade,

All people who maintain their excellence—

Forsooth, these things I like.  Aye, them I like.

In such an age we stand apart, alone,

E’en a policeman who doth battle crime

Though seemingly ‘tis pointless so to do.

Yet, I have little pride as I perform

My calling to enforcement of the law.

Aye, even as I spend my working days

In dutiful fulfillment of my job—

Good Farley and wise Leonard with me e’er—

There sometimes comes a nasty, creeping thought:

Belike my lawful life is meaningless.

Such naggings plague my soul, and shake my heart—

In these dark moments doubt creeps in, and then

Ne’er was a Palace emptier than I.

Yet e’en when these vile questions do arise,

I see my Concord with the eyes of hope.

For from the darkest moments grows within

A newfound confidence in ev’ry step:

I can the last days face with courage rare

E’en if I were the last policeman e’er.

[Exeunt omnes]

Congratulations, Ben.  Here’s to the next trilogy.

 

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