New England Series

BOOK 1 – EMPIRE DAY

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…

BOOK 2 – TWO HUNDRED LOST YEARS

Isaac Fielding knows exactly where he stands: ‘Things were not looking good. Upon that at least, everybody could agree. The other thing that everybody seemed to agree about was that when, eventually, I had my day in court it was likely to be a short, bitter-sweet experience and that the main topic of discussion would be the manner of my subsequent execution…’

A year has passed since the Empire Day outrages of July 1976. Up until now the colonial administration and the government in the Old Country have controlled ‘the narrative’ and by and large kept the truth well and truly buried.

Unfortunately, police and judicial bungling in New England is threatening to undo Government House in Philadelphia’s good work. As always in the affairs of New England nothing is quite what it seems to be. A year might have passed but the seismic after-shocks still reverberate through the disunited colonies of the East Coast.

Isaac Fielding and his sons have yet to have their day in court; the Governor of New England has been put through the mill by Parliament and horror of horrors, copies of Two Hundred Lost Years, the thirty-year-old seditious epistle banned in the First Thirteen are flooding into North America courtesy of the free press back in the British Isles.

Notwithstanding the authorities might have arrested and already condemned the wrong men for the Empire Day atrocities….

BOOK 3 – TRAVELS THROUGH THE WIND

TO BE RELEASED: 18/3/19.

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’.

 

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!

Author’s note: the books of the New England series are written as episodes in a contiguous narrative arc. This book concludes not so much with overt cliff-hangers but with deliberate ‘unfinished business’ which will be picked up in Book 4 – REMEMBER BRAVE ACHILLES.