New York – July 1976 – in a World in which New England remains the sparkling jewel in the crown of the British Empire.
It is the day before Empire Day – 4th July – the day each year when the British Empire marks the brutal crushing of the rebellion dignified by the treachery of the fifty-six delegates to the Continental Congress who were so foolhardy as to sign the infamous Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on that day of infamy in 1776.
It is nearly two hundred years since George Washington was killed and his Continental Army was destroyed in the Battle of Long Island and now New England, that most quintessentially loyal and ‘English’ imperial fiefdom – at least in the original, or ‘First Thirteen’ colonies – is about to celebrate its devotion to the Crown and the Old Country, of which it still views, in the main, as the ‘mother country’.
Yet all is not roses. Since 1776 in a world of empires the British Empire has grown and prospered until now, it stands alone as the ultimate arbiter of global war and peace. The Royal Navy has enforced the global Pax Britannia for over a century since the World War of the 1860s established a lasting but increasingly tenuous ‘peace’ between the great powers.
Nonetheless, while elsewhere the Empire may be creaking at the seams, struggling to come to terms with a growing desire for self-determination; thus far the Pax Britannica has survived – buttressed by the commercial and industrial powerhouse of New England stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific North West – intact for all that barely a year goes by without the outbreak of another small, colonial war somewhere…
This said, the British ‘Imperial System’ remains the envy of its friends and enemies alike and nowhere has it been so successful as in North America, where peace and prosperity has ruled in the vast Canadian dominions and the twenty-nine old and recent colonies of the Commonwealth of New England for the best part of two centuries.
In Whitehall every British government in living memory has complacently based its ‘American Policy’ on the one immutable, unchanging fact of New England politics; that the First Thirteen colonies will never agree with each other about anything, let alone that the sixteen ‘Johnny-come-lately’ new (that is, post-1776) colonies, protectorates, territories and possessions which comprise half the population and eight-tenths of the land area of New England, should ever have any say in their affairs!
New England is a part of England and always will be because, axiomatically, it will never unite in a continental union. Notwithstanding, in the British body politic the myths and legends of that first late eighteenth-century rebellion in the New World still touches a raw nerve in the old country, much as in former epochs memories of Jacobin revolts, Oliver Cromwell and the Civil War still harry old deep-seated scars in the national psyche.
Empire Day might not have originally been conceived as a celebration of the saving of the first British Empire and but as time has gone by it has come to symbolise the one, ineluctable truth about the Empire: that New England is the rock upon which all else stands, an empire within an empire that is greater than the sum of all the other parts of the great imperium ruled from London.
In past times a troubling question has been whispered in the corridors of power in London: what would happen to the Empire – and the Pax Britannica – if the British hold on New England was ever to be loosened?
Generations of British politicians have always known that if the question was ever to be asked again in earnest it has but one answer.
If the New World ever discovers again a single voice supporting any kind of meaningful estrangement from the Old Country; it would surely be the end of the Empire…
Coming soon: Book 2 – Two Hundred Lost Years; and Book 3 – Travels Through the Wind.
The Cuban Missiles Crisis didn’t end peacefully and the 'swinging sixties' didn't happen.
On Saturday 27th October 1962 American and Soviet geopolitical brinkmanship resulted in the most terrible war in human history. The forever changed world that remained when the thermonuclear fires had burned themselves out is the world of ‘Timeline 10/27/62’.
Love is Strange is Book 2 of the alternative history series Timeline 10/27/62.
Love is Strange picks up the story a year and a month after the terrifying events in Operation Anadyr, Book 1 of the Timeline 10/27/62 Series. In a partially devastated world in which people are beginning to discover what actually happened and who their friends really are, chaos and disintegration threaten and old allies drift like sleepwalkers towards new wars.
The USA has assumed a new global hegemony and written off its old European allies. Therein lie the seeds of a generational conflict but nobody in Washington wants to hear that kind of news, or recognise that the laurels of victory might in time come to crush the seemingly invincible American eagle.
In a Britain ravaged by nuclear war in which the survivors are struggling to come to terms with the cataclysm questions are being asked about the reasons why; and how what remains of the nation will survive in the new world. Out of the catastrophe new leaders are beginning to emerge and there is a growing consensus that one day there will be a reckoning.
The Cuban Missiles Crisis didn’t end peacefully and the 'swinging sixties' didn't happen. On Saturday 27th October 1962 American and Soviet geopolitical brinkmanship resulted in the most terrible war in human history. The forever changed world that remained when the thermonuclear fires had burned themselves out is the world of ‘Timeline 10/27/62’.
‘Operation Anadyr’ is Book 1 of the alternative history series Timeline 10/27/62.
‘Operation Anadyr’ is about the first hours of that alternative history of the world. It is about living through the cataclysm, and wondering how it happened. How did the unthinkable happen? How could our leaders let it happen? How does one quantify the magnitude of the disaster? And what of the survivors living with the aftermath of a world gone mad? ‘Operation Anadyr’ confronts these questions. In ‘Operation Anadyr’ the anatomy of the disaster is writ plain and the men and women who survive it begin to find their voices.
It is January 1964 in an alternative timeline in which the swinging sixties never happened. A little over a year has passed since the Cuban Missiles War of late October 1962.
Red Dawn, spawned as Josef Stalin’s answer to America’s atomic monopoly in the late 1940s has fomented full scale insurrection in Washington DC and almost sparked a war between the World’s two remaining nuclear superpowers.
But the real fury of Red Dawn — Krasnaya Zarya — is unspent and time is running out.
Now is a time for charismatic leaders to come forward…
‘The Burning Time’ is Book 5 of the alternative history series Timeline 10/27/62.
It is February 1964 in a World in which the ‘swinging sixties’ never happened.
The atomic mushroom clouds over the Mediterranean have dispersed and now as the World teeters on the brink of a new thermonuclear war, it is dawning on the ‘victors’ that their ‘victory’, far from being absolute, was tragically pyrrhic.
In the uneasy half-peace the United States stirs from its post-Cuban Missiles War slumber. But will it awaken soon enough to overcome its own divisions to confront the new and terrible forces unleashed by Red Dawn’s first paroxysm of violence?
Now is a time for betrayal. Now is judgement day when all the mistakes of the months since the October War will come back to haunt the ‘victors’.
The Ancient Greeks called the Straits of Gibraltar the ‘Pillars of Hercules’. The Rock of Gibraltar was the northern pillar; Monte Hacho in Ceuta its probable southern analogue. To the ancients the Pillars of Hercules delineated the western end of the known Mediterranean World. Beyond lay the limitless, impassable vastness of the Atlantic; wherein lay monsters…
It is December 1963 and the tensions that have been simmering since the October War have come to the boil in an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion so poisonous, that nobody in England or Washington DC has realised that in the background there is a third, malignant force at work.
When the CIA is implicated in the attempted assassination of the Royal Family, United States aircraft subsequently attack two British destroyers off the coast of Northern Spain and take part in a devastating surprise raid on the Maltese Archipelago, the belligerence of General Franco’s government over Gibraltar and the sabre-rattling of the new fascist Government of Italy suddenly assumes the proportions of a Machiavellian American plot to drive the final nail into the coffin of the British Empire.
In England the hard-pressed United Kingdom Interim Emergency Administration is struggling to feed and house its survivors; and every time it tries to talk to the Kennedy Administration nobody is available to take its call.
On Malta hundreds are dead, thousands injured. Bunker-buster bombs have destroyed practically every key headquarters building, Sunken British warships lie in the oil-fouled waters of the Grand Harbour and Sliema Creek, and the medical facilities of the islands have been overwhelmed.
Off the Straits of Gibraltar a Royal Navy carrier battle group is fending off mass attacks by the antiquated Spanish Air Force and harrying Franco’s army and navy as they press around the beleaguered Rock, while far out at sea the Royal Navy’s one nuclear powered attack submarine, HMS Dreadnought, is playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with two US Navy submarines.
Britain and the United States of America are a heartbeat away from war. Never have two nations been so grievously separated by their common language. It is as if every word the former allies say to each other is being passed through a filter that translates ‘peace’ into ‘war’.
It is the late spring of 1978 in a world in which the American Revolution failed in 1776 after George Washington was killed and the Continental Army was destroyed at the Battle of Long Island.
The rumbling aftershocks of the Empire Day atrocities which reverberated through the pages of Two Hundred Lost Years are threatening to come to the boil.
While in Philadelphia the politics become ever more fractious in Spain the Royal Alcazar is a citadel besieged in a country which might as well still be stuck in the nineteenth century.
Preparations for war hamstrung by colonial politics begin to gather pace in New England in a climate where the Governor in his mansion and the government back in England continues to tiptoe around provocations in the Caribbean and the Borderlands of the South.
In Spain, Melody Danson and Henrietta De L’Isle have performed their role as distractions, adornments to a diplomatic mission whose only purpose is to delay the moment when the truth about the Empire Day attacks finally emerge. Because, when that day comes the road to war will suddenly confront the great European powers.
The Peace of Paris, the basis of the post-Great War of 1857-66 settlement, threatened by Anglo-German-Russia tensions is now hostage to the machinations of a Spanish Empire in its death throes and the failing health of Old Spain, ‘the sick man of Europe’.
Brothers Abe and Alex Fielding find themselves making ready for war. Melody and Henrietta discover unlikely friends in the Mountains of Madrid. Journalist Albert Stanton of the Manhattan Globe unwittingly stumbles into a war zone. The Governor of the Commonwealth of New England and his political masters in England wrestle with a crisis they saw coming years ago but can do little or nothing to avert.
The World in which England’s Georgian colonies in the Americas became the keystone of the British Empire◦– upon which it seemed the Sun could never set◦– is about to fray around the edges and our heroes and heroines are going to find themselves directly in the firing line!