Customer Reviews for

Ruled Britannia

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Very fine, wot?

    Outstanding!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2005

    A hard fought book!

    Can't say that I loved the book, but I will say this... I couldn't put it down! Harry gave us a very good read between the covers of this 'very thick' book! After reading Ruled Britannia I had to change gears in my verbage the thees and thous take some getting used to! I am a very avid reader of the great Mr. Turtledove!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2004

    Previous books by Harry Trutledove have been great, this... wasn't.

    I've been a fan for most of Harry Turtldove's books, so I know the author's writing style and have been familiar with his work for years. This book, I felt was just lacking in many places. The moral of the story is apparent from the first chapter, you can already tell what's going to happen, just not how exactly. The how completely ruins the book in my opinion at several points, one of them dealing with mysticism. In a book that was supposed to point out alternate reality with possibility, Harry Turtledove went and threw in some bits of mysticism and utterly ruined the story for me. The idea that the occupation could be ended over a play was at best extreme and at worst, completely impossible, sure it's a moral idea that the pen is mightier than the sword but ask anyone in China just how mighty their pen is against the sword of the Communist Party. The plot was nice, the writing was good, but the conclusion and how it came to be was dreadful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2003

    Ruled Britannia is a Delight!

    Harry Turtledove, the undisputed master of the alternative history genre, proves in Ruled Britannia that the pen can indeed by mightier than the sword. It is ten years after the Spanish Aramada landed in England, bringing that fair isle under the merciless boot of the Spanish Empire. The fires of the English Inquisition consume enemies of the state and the one true church. And it seems that only one man can overthrow this tyranny. The Bard himself, with a play to fire the hearts of all true, freedom loving Englishmen. My one regret is that, at least in this universe, we will never see The Tragedy of Queen Boudicca performed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2002

    A single volume does the trick.

    Harry Turtledove reigns as the current master of alternate history fiction. He can imagine a possible world in a short story or in a multivolume epic. Personally, I grow impatient with the neverending series, not because they lack quality but because I desire some sort of resolution. (I know, history itself doesn't get resolved, or "end," but I still prefer my fiction so.) Ruled Britannia gives us a plausible point of departure, fully realized characters, and a very entertaining plot, all in one volume. I wish we had more than a brief glimpse of Queen Bess, but how that could have been worked smoothly into the story line I know not. Even those uncertain of the plays' authorship should find this Will Shakespeare satisfying and plausible. His Spanish counterpart, theatre-loving womanizer Lope de Vega, is equally entertaining. The other characters, especially Shakespeare's actors and the "cunning woman" Cecily Sellis are believable as well. <p>I appreciate Turtledove's technique of combining a modern English narrative with Shakespearean English dialogue. We soon grow accustomed to the Elizabethan vocabulary, and it affords terrific opportunities for word play. This is a very satisfying read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2003

    'Tis a noble effort, sirrah!

    Turtledove masters yet another (what-if) historical era, this time in Elizabethan England, where the author meddles with a change in both gov't and religion. Without rehashing the plot of the previous reviews, I can only add that Turtledove does a remarkable job of incorporating Elizabethan English into the dialogue (takes some getting used to!) as well as instilling a significant degree of detail of 16th century England. Turtledove also does a commendable job of keeping the predominant historical figures of the time (Elizabeth and Phillip) in the background while focusing the attention on minor players of history (Shakespeare, de Vega, Phelippes, Kemp, Burbage and Marlowe) and how they would theoretically attempt to change the situation. The plot is somewhat tediously drawn out at times and I believe Turtledove does better with multi sub-plots/characters (American Empire series, e.g.) but the book has a strong and satisfiying climax and conclusion as I have come to expect from Turtledove. Once again I am impressed with Turtledove's breadth of Historical knowledge.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2002

    A new Shakespeare play!

    William Shakespeare is well considered to be the greatest English writer in history. Though his English is now archaic, the intricate cleverness of his plot lines and their timeless insights into human nature have made him acclaimed. Which presents a serious problem for any author attempting to have him as a major character in a novel. Can you better his prose? Well Turtledove lacks any temerity! He makes Shakespeare the central character of this novel. Both Shakespeare's spoken dialogue, and the invented writings in his play Boudicca are well done. More to the point, and the harder of it, read carefully the few stanzas of the latter that are presented in the text. Turtledove seems to have captured the cadences of authentic Shakespeare. As another reviewer said, it feels like an undiscovered Shakespeare play! Having said all this, I should add that the story is a little sparse on action. It's a lighthearted romp through England of that time. Certainly, it does not compare in action or grimness of subject with Turtledove's WorldWar series, with its subtext of Nazi genocide, or his Civil War series. The forced admixture of Spanish and English cultures is amusing. Turtledove lives in Los Angeles, as do I. Here there is a melange of both, with the Anglo influence being dominant. I think he used this experience and inverted it, to get some of the everyday depictions of London under the Spaniards. The casual use of a few Spanish phrases in English is unremarkable in 21-st century LA, but would certainly have been rare in 16-th century London, but for the Occupation. This book may appeal more to the fans of Shakespearean and Middle English literature than your dyed-in-the-wool science fiction fans. In this, it resembles Turtledove's early short stories set in an alternate Byzantium Empire. As you may know, he has a PhD in Byzantine history from UCLA. He parlayed this expertise into various stories. Someone asked him about this once: How do people in that field feel about what he did. He said about half thought it was just weird. But the other half thought it was cool that he could put such arcana to use. He has done similarly here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2002

    A worthwhile sidetrip

    Normally, I wish that Mr. Turtledove (like so many authors today) would finish with one project before embarking on an altogether new one. However, I found Ruled Britannia to be so special as to be well worth the interruption. I have already learned to admire the author's grasp of history, storytelling skill and characterization (historical and fictional). In this latest book, I find myself dazzled by some of the smoothest and wittiest dialogue I have read in many years. I consider Ruled Britannia to be the best from Mr. Turtledove to date and the best novel I have read this year.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fascinating stand-alone work of alternate history

    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. <P>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. <P>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. <P>Harriet Klausner

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    Posted August 8, 2010

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    Posted July 13, 2011

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    Posted July 13, 2010

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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    Posted January 3, 2010

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