Interview & Review by Tom Carr
‘Gloriana’ is the fifth instalment of a novella nostalgia series, where films of a day gone past inspire a modern story. Based on the 2008 film, ‘Valkyrie’ starring the one and only Tom Cruise, this modern novella takes the 1940s story and updates it to encompass the dark and murky world of once-in-a-lifetime political wonder… Brexit.
“Oh no, I’ve heard enough!” you may exclaim, but this 85-page story, designed to be read in the same length of time as watching a movie, provides a unique and thrilling version of events that is written to be outrageously over the top, but leaves you with a sense that this could actually happen.
The story is shaped around 7 senior officials from across Government, the military and the royal household all of whom are in the latter stages of a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister, and thus stop Brexit. The tension is built in ‘Gloriana’ from the view point of Sebastian Pennington, Permanent Secretary to the Home Office, one of the members of ‘The Committee’ that has been formed to carry out this audacious plan. Sebastian comes across as a hard man to please, one of the “takes no nonsense” characters you’d imagine adorning the corridors of Whitehall, and the story follows the closing stages and the event itself, in which one small hiccup could jeopardise a number of lives and careers to boot.
Without giving too much away, the tension is built up to minute detail, with the reader being dragged one way and the other in order to work out what may happen next. The committee is led in a de-facto way by the lavishly named Brigadier General Xavier Llewellyn-Jones (nicknamed ‘LJ’) who’s booming demeanour encapsulates all of the character of an Army General, while there are intriguing personal power struggles within the rest of the camp.
This novella explores the incandescent need for power and the lengths that some will go to get it, and while the story is based on very current events, the plot outlasts it, meaning this novella could well stand the test of time. One example of this is the genderless use of ‘The Prime Minister’, meaning we could well be watching an event from a century in the future.
‘Gloriana’ packs in a number of absorbing and provocative sub-plots around the main event and gloriously unpicks the main characters in brilliant detail. The twist at the end is to die for (literally for some), and leaves you wanting more. What else can you ask for?