The Two Georges
First edition (UK)
|Author||Harry Turtledove and Richard Dreyfuss|
|Publisher||Hodder & Stoughton (UK)
Tor Books (US)
March 1996 (US)
|Media type||Print Paperback|
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 self-governing dominion 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 (formerly 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 become independent from the British Empire.
The Governor-General of the North American Union, Sir Martin Luther King, informs Bushell in confidence that the painting must be recovered before King-Emperor 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 (the nation's capital, on the south side of the Potomac River across from Georgestown, Maryland), 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 most of Latin America and Northern Africa, and Bushell's superior officer and covert fanatic Sons of Liberty sympathizer, Lieutenant General Horace Bragg. Bushnell then thwarts Bragg's attempts to assassinate the King, first by gunfire then by a bomb concealed in the frame of The Two Georges. Bragg is sent to the gallows, while Bushell and Stanley are both knighted by the King for their accomplishments.
Provinces of the North American Union
The North American Union is made up of several provinces according to the map in the book.
|Province name||OTL Equivalents||Notes|
|Albertus||Alberta and west-central Montana||Named after Prince Albert|
|Baffin||North West Territories (minus the southeastern section) and northwestern Nunavut as well as the Victoria and King William Islands|
|Cherokee Nation||Northern Mississippi, northwestern Alabama, a northeastern part of Louisiana, and part of southeastern Arkansas||Named after the Cherokee tribe.|
|Cranmer||Texas (minus the eastern section) and Oklahoma (minus the southeastern section)||Named after Thomas Cranmer.|
|Disraeli||Southeastern Idaho, eastern Nevada, all of Utah, and western Colorado||Named after Benjamin Disraeli.|
|Florida||Florida, possibly the Bahamas, the portions of Alabama and Mississippi bordering the Gulf of Mexico, and the Florida Parishes of Louisiana||The status of the Bahamas is unspecified, as the map is a little vague on this point.|
|Franklin||Kentucky||Named after Benjamin Franklin.|
|Georgia||Georgia and most of Alabama|
|Hanover||eastern Montana, southwestern South Dakota, all of Wyoming, and eastern Colorado and Nebraska north of the Platte River||Named after the Kingdom of Hanover, which was in personal union with the United Kingdom until 1837.|
|Hudsonia||Nunavut (minus the northwestern section and the Victoria and King William Islands) and the southeastern section of the Northwest Territories||Named after nearby Hudson Bay|
|Louisiana||Louisiana (minus the Florida Parishes and the northeastern part), central Mississippi, eastern Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, and southwestern Arkansas|
|Lower California||Baja California Peninsula|
|Massachusetts||Massachusetts and Maine|
|Miami||Ohio||Named after the Miami tribe|
|Mississippi||Iowa, western Minnesota west of the Mississippi River, southeastern North Dakota, South Dakota east of the Missouri River, and Missouri north of the Missouri River|
|Missouri||Missouri south of the Missouri River, northern Arkansas, all of Kansas, and Nebraska south of the Platte River|
|New Brunswick||New Brunswick|
|Newfoundland||Newfoundland and Labrador|
|New Guernsey||Wisconsin, Minnesota east of the Mississippi River, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan||Named after Guernsey Island in the English Channel|
|New Hampshire||New Hampshire|
|New Jersey||New Jersey|
|New Scotland||Nova Scotia and possibly Prince Edward Island||New Scotland is a literal translation of the Latin name. Status of Prince Edward Island is unspecified, as the map is a little vague on this point.|
|New York||New York (minus the western section), but includes all of Vermont|
|North Carolina||North Carolina|
|Ontario||Manitoba, northeastern North Dakota, and northwestern Minnesota|
|Oregon||Oregon and Washington, most of Idaho, a small chunk of northwestern Nevada, and northwestern Montana|
|Pennsylvania||Pennsylvania (minus the north central section)|
|Phoenix||Arizona and New Mexico|
|Rhode Island||Rhode Island|
|South Carolina||South Carolina|
|The Six Nations||Western portion of New York State and a portion of North central Pennsylvania||Named after the "Six Nations" Iroquois tribes, comprising the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora people.|
|Upper California||California and western Nevada|
|Virginia||Virginia and West Virginia|
|Washington||Saskatchewan, eastern Montana, western North Dakota, and northwestern South Dakota||Named after George Washington|
|Wilberforce||Lower Peninsula of Michigan||Named after William Wilberforce|
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.