fantasy, alternate history
Gloriana; or, The Unfulfill'd Queen.
World Fantasy Award 1979, John W. Campbell Memorial Award 1979. British Fantasy Award nominee 1979.
First published in 1978 and winner of the John W. Campbell Award and the World Fantasy Award, Gloriana is a lush masterpiece of empire and eroticism. The story of a fantasy Queen Elizabeth I unfolds amid the tangled intrigues of state, the rivalries, romances and complicities of court, and the scrabbling lives of the human refuse who dwell between the palace walls.
Beautiful, powerful and revered, Gloriana rules Albion, a vast empire that stretches from Asia to America. On the surface, the queen appears happy and her empire enjoys unprecedented peace and prosperity. But underneath the golden veneer is a monarch suffocating under the burden of duty and seeking a release she has never found.
Her personal distress mirrors the underlying trouble in her court and in Albion itself. Duty dictates that the queen must marry, but she will only wed the one who can satisfy her need. Some lust for her in secret, like John Dee, Gloriana's Doctor of Philosophy, whose experiments with alternate realms amuse his queen and enrage his rival, Chancellor Montfallcon. But other suitors - foreign rulers who mean to make a favorable alliance - post a serious risk.
Unbeknownst to Gloriana, the wily Montfallcon keeps crown and empire secure through terror, oppression and a network of informants - the most dangerous of whom is the sinister Captain Quire. And when this peerless spy feels insulted by the court and seeks revenge through seducing the frustrated queen, all Albion will suffer...
Michael Moorcock (born 1939) is a prolific English writer primarily of science fiction and fantasy. Moorcock's most popular works have been the Elric novels, starring the character Elric of Melniboné. In 2008 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named him as a Grandmaster of SF.