Shakespeare is approached by Lord Burghley, the aging chancellor of Elizabeth and asked to write a play, on the ancient Queen Boudicca, and her plight to oust the invading Roman legions. It is to be designed to make the Englishmen rise up against Queen Isabella and Prince Albert of Austria and restore Elizabeth to the throne.
Meanwhile Shakespeare is commissioned by the Dons to write a play based on the life of His Most Catholic Majesty's life. It is to be a standing tribute to the life of King Philip II of Spain.
Forced to write two plays, Shakespeare is drawn into a world of espionage and double deals. He is frequently visited by Senior Luitenant Lope Felix de Vega Caprio, a womanising, Spainish soldier, who loves English thetre and is inspired to write his own plays for his countrymen. De Vega holds a postion in Spainish not far removed to what Shakespeare is in English. He is investigated or being investigated by the English Inquistion.
This report prepared by Liam Maddrell
The Spanish Armada invasion of England was successful several years earlier. William Shakespeare, a successful dramaticist, is called upon to write a play to arouse active rebellion against the Spanish.
This report prepared by Russ Rittgers
NAL, Nov 2002, 24.95, 464 pp.
On an earth that never was but could have been, The Spanish Armada was triumphant and landed in England. Queen Elizabeth was sent to the London Tower and King Phillip II of Spain's daughter Isabella and her husband Albert rule the land, forcing the Protestants into hiding and making Catholicism the state religion. Spanish soldiers are an army of occupation and the English Inquisition is a powerful instrument of the church.
William Shakespeare is not a political man. All he wants to do is have his plays produced for the masses to see. Will is approached by Sir William Cecil, Elizabeth's prime advisor to write a play that will appeal to England's sense of patriotism so that they will, when called upon, overthrow their Spanish masters. Will rises to the occasion and begins writing a drama while knowing that one mistake will mean his and the troupe's death by the flames.
RULED BRITANNIA is a fascinating stand-alone work of alternate history as Harry Turtledove departs from his American opus to provide a compelling work that is believable and shows what might have been if the storm and Drake had not caused havoc on the Armada. Using William Shakespeare as the hero and the reluctant catalyst to signal the beginning of the revolution is an inspired plot device, one that guarantees reader interest for more than just Mr. Turtledove's legion of fans.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner