The Two Georges
|The Two Georges|
|Author||Harry Turtledove and Richard Dreyfuss|
|Country||United Kingdom, United States|
|Publisher||Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Tor Books (US)|
|Publication date||1995 (UK), March 1996 (US)|
|Media type||Print Paperback|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-340-62825-1, ISBN 0-312-85969-4|
The Two Georges is an alternate history novel co-written by science fiction author Harry Turtledove and Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss. It was originally published in 1995 by Hodder & Stoughton in the United Kingdom, and in 1996 by Tor Books in the United States, and was nominated for the 1995 Sidewise Award for Alternate History.
For more than two centuries, what would have become the United States and Canada has been the North American Union, a territory encompassing the northern portion of the continent except Alaska, retained under the rule of Russia. The Two Georges, a Gainsborough painting, commemorates the agreement between George Washington and King George III that created this part of the British Empire. The painting itself has become a symbol of national unity.
While being displayed in the city of New Liverpool (occupying the same territory as the real-world Los Angeles), the painting is stolen while a crowd is distracted by the murder of "Honest" Dick (a.k.a. "Tricky" Dick), the Steamer King, a nationally-known used car salesman. Colonel Thomas Bushell of the Royal American Mounted Police leads the search for the painting, accompanied by its former curator Dr. Kathleen Flannery and Captain Samuel Stanley. Some days later, a ransom note is received from the Sons of Liberty, a terrorist organization that wants to see America independent of Britain.
The Governor-General of the North American Union, Sir Martin Luther King, informs Bushell in confidence that the painting must be recovered before King Charles III's state visit, or the government will have to pay the Sons' ransom demand of fifty million pounds.
The search takes Bushell, Flannery, and Stanley across the country via airship (an advanced form of dirigible), train, and steamer. They also meet many members of the Sons of Liberty, including Boston newspaper editor John F. Kennedy.
After chasing many false leads and the wrong suspects, Bushell and his associates arrive at Victoria and find The Two Georges an hour before the King arrives. They also uncover the true culprits: the Holy Alliance, a union of France and Spain controlling almost everything from the Rio Grande to Cape Horn, and Bushell's superior officer and covert fanatic Sons of Liberty sympathizer, Lieutenant General Horace Bragg. Bushnell then thwarts Bragg's two tries to assassinate the King. Bragg is sent to the gallows, while Bushell and Stanley are both knighted by the King for their accomplishments.
Literary criticism and reception
The Houston Chronicle listed The Two Georges as one of many pieces of fiction that have pictured blacks as the head of the executive branch, in this case Sir Martin Luther King, Governor General of North America. Publishers Weekly praises the novel's "recognizable yet delightfully distorted" world where "engaging characters play out a suspenseful and satisfying story". School Library Journal described the novel as "a fast-paced and gripping story."
- "Sidewise Awards for Alternate History". Uchronia. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
- Amy Biancolli (2008). "Fiction has long pictured blacks, women in White House". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
- "The Two Georges on Amazon.com". Amazon. Retrieved 15 May 2011.