Ruled Britannia

Ruled Britannia

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Ruled Britannia

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Ruled Britannia is an alternate history novel by Harry Turtledove, first published in hardcover and paperback by Roc Books in 2002.

Plot introduction

The book is set in the year 1597, in an alternate universe where the Spanish Armada is successful. The Kingdom of England (and apparently most of Britain) has been conquered and returned to the fold of the Roman Catholic Church under the rule of Queen Isabella, daughter of Philip II of Spain. Queen Elizabeth, deposed, is imprisoned within the Tower of London as her fellow Protestants are burned as heretics by the English Inquisition.

The story is seen from the point of view of two famous playwrights: English poet William Shakespeare, and Spanish poet Lope de Vega; supporting characters include contemporaries Christopher Marlowe, Richard Burbage, and Will Kempe.

Plot summary

Shakespeare is a modest upstart playwright just coming into his own when he is contacted by members of an underground resistance movement who are plotting to overthrow the Spanish dominion of England and restore Elizabeth I to the throne. To do this, they employ Shakespeare himself, tasking him to write a play depicting the saga of Boudicca, an ancient Iceni queen who rebelled against the Roman invasion of Britain in the 1st century A.D. The conspirators hope that the play will inspire its audience, Britons once again under the heel of a foreign enemy, to overthrow the Spanish.

The plan is complicated by the Spaniards who, also recognizing Shakespeare's...
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