Remember, remember the 5th of November/ Gunpowder, treason and plot;/ I see no reason why gunpowder treason/ Should ever be forgot….
It’s been 407 years since the Gunpowder Plot was discovered and no one, after years of scholarly wrangling, is entirely sure what happened. Who sent that mysterious warning note? Was the plot really a fabrication, an invention of the cunning mind of Robert Cecil? And after all these years, why does it still have the power to catch our imaginations?
I wanted to do an “if you like” about books related to the Gunpowder Plot, but all I could think of was:
— Antonia Fraser’s Faith & Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot and Mark Nicholls’s Investigating Gunpowder Plot, both excellent and highly readable accounts of the complexities of the plot and the various actors involved;
— and, of course, that modern cinematic offshoot, V for Vendetta.
— LATE ADDITION: Chanpreet tells me that the latest in Susan Carroll’s Dark Queen series, The Lady of Secrets, is set around the Gunpowder Plot. It comes out December 11th.
Can you think of any good novels or nonfiction set around the Gunpowder Plot?
[A quick addendum from the author: In the plotting stage, The Seduction of the Crimson Rose was originally Gunpowder Plot inspired. I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to map out the cellars of the Parliament buildings (the old ones) and the buildings nearby. In the end, however, the plot took a different turn, and my villain wound up blowing up something else instead.
As my villain puts it, “I had planned to blow up Parliament, in a tribute to Guy Fawkes, but when this opportunity arose, it seemed too good to pass by. Ever since the Gunpowder Plot, they do have an inconvenient habit of inspecting the cellars before the King gives his speech.”
“Very inconsiderate of them,” agreed Mary sarcastically.]