Every Inch a King

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Every Inch a King
Author Harry Turtledove
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fantasy
Publication date
November 11, 2005
Media type Print (hardcover & paperback)
Pages 314 pp.
ISBN 0-9759156-1-4

Every Inch a King is a 2005 fantasy novel by Harry Turtledove, published by ISFiC Press. It is a fictional account of the story of Otto Witte, who allegedly spent five days pretending to be the King of Albania. The title is a quotation from Shakespeare's King Lear, Act IV scene 6, wherein the insane King, crowned with weeds, makes futile assertions of his now usurped power.


The book centers around Otto of Schlepsig, a circus performer and tightrope walker, who is surprised to learn that he's an almost dead-ringer for Prince Halim Eddin, recently invited to become king the newly independent country of Shqiperi. Fed up with his life in the circus, Otto, and his friend, the sword swallower Max of Witte, get some uniforms and set out to take the Prince's place as King of Shqiperi.


The book takes place in a fictional version of the Balkans, between the First Balkan War and the Second Balkan War. All the countries mentioned there have real world analogues (ie: Hassocki Empire = Ottoman Empire, Lokris = Greece, Shqiperi = Albania). Magic is predominant in the land and fills the same roles technology does in our world. It is also worth noting that the names given to the analogous countries all have some basis in reality. For instance Shqiperi is the Albanian name for Albania, Poland is named after Gdansk, a city in northern Poland, the United States is Vespucciland after Amerigo Vespucci, Greece is named after the ancient region of Locris, etc.

The politics of the world are almost the same as our own, as well, right down to having analogues of Catholic Christianity, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and Islam.


The novel is essentially a fairly light-hearted comedy. There's minor violence, but nothing too severe. Unlike in many Turtledove books, the sexual activity takes place "off screen" and is aided by a wizard who makes a magic spell that, in part, uses some little blue pills as a main ingredient.

Real-World Analogues for People and Places[edit]


Nations and Cities[edit]

  • Aeneas/Ancient Aeneans = Rome/Ancient Romans


  • War of the Kingdoms = World War I
  • Nekemte Wars = First and Second Balkan Wars
  • Major Mustafa/Colonel Kemal = Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
  • Zogu = King Zog I (Skander also gets his name from King Zog)
  • Religion of the Quadrate God = Islam
  • Zibeonite Religion = Eastern Orthodox Christianity
  • Eliphaletism = Roman Catholicism
  • Cytherea's Temple = Temple of Aphrodite
  • Fortress Hill (in Lokris) = the Acropolis