Dakota Rusk's Reviews > Ruled Britannia
Dakota Rusk's review
Jun 19, 2014
This is one of my favorite alternate histories. Its point of departure is the attempted invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in 1588. In our universe, the smaller, more nimble English fleet (aided by some killer winds) pulverized the bloated, slow-moving Armada, and ushered in an era of English triumphalism. But in Silverberg's novel, which opens in 1597, it's the Spanish who won; and for the past decade, England has been ruled by Spain, its Protestant religion outlawed and Roman Catholicism re-imposed, and the aged Queen Elizabeth imprisoned in favor of the King of Spain's daughter, Isabella. The novel's protagonist is a young playwright who's recruited by the nationalist underground to write a drama that will incite London to overthrow the Spanish occupation. The playwright's name—well, what else could it be but William Shakespeare? It's great, tub-thumping stuff, and it appeals not only to my own personal fondness for the Tudor period and for all things Shakespeare...it also adds in another layer of interest, in Shakespeare choosing for his rabble-rousing play the subject of Boudicca, the ancient British queen who led a rebellion against the Romans. Terrific from beginning to end.
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June 19, 2014 – Shelved