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Ruled Britannia

A stand-alone story by Harry Turtledove. One of his most praised recent works. If any criticism is attached to it, it is that it is slightly too long. But its concept is original and its Shakespearean blank verse - which, Turtledove admits, he had help with - is refreshingly authentic.

The story is based on the idea that the Spanish Armada of 1588 succeeded. It is now 1598. England is now Catholic once more, Queen Elizabeth is imprisoned in the Tower of London, and Ferdinand and Isabella are on the throne. However, even as the English Inquisition burns recalcitrant Protestants in the auto-da-fé, resistance continues to fester. Robert Cecil leads an underground movement to overthrow the Spanish occupiers, and soon Philip II will die, giving them their chance. But they need a symbol, a rallying cry to command the attention of the great and the good of the nation…

Enter William Shakespeare. The playwright, who has written slightly different plays to OTL (e.g. If You Like It rather than As You Like It) is approached by Cecil to write Boudicca, using the old story of her rebellions against the Romans as a symbol. However, he is simultaneously approached by the Spaniards to write King Philip, a propaganda piece about Philip II. He proceeds to write both, wondering where his loyalties lie. The story follows both Shakespeare and Spanish playwright Lope de Vega, also in England, as viewpoint characters. In the end, Shakespeare's players put on Boudicca, rousing a rebellion which overthrows the Spaniards.

alternate_history/ruled_britannia.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/29 15:13 (external edit)