If you've read S.M. Stirling's The Peshawar Lancers.....

…I have a question. Or a speculation, or call it whatever you like.

At one point in the novel the line of descent of the British throne/the Raj/ the Lion Throne is detailed. Up to George V it is the same as in our timeline, as George was born before the Fall, and obviously was evacuated with at least a good part of his family. So there was Queen Victoria I, followed by Edward VII, her son, and then George V, his son.

After that the line of the monarchy diverges from our own. It’s not mentioned who George married, but it probably wasn’t Mary of Teck. But a daughter, who became Victoria II suceeded him. She died childless it was said, and was suceeded by a cousin, Albert.

So, my question, or speculation is this, who would this Albert’s parents(most likely mother) have been? My best guess is Louise, George’s sister, who immediately followed George V in birth order. In our time line she married and had children, and was styled Princess Royal, but in the timeline of the Fall she wouldn’t necessarily have married the xsame person(Alexander of Fife), but could have, as her brother may have, married someone else. It all depends on who got evacuated safely to India

But allowing for the changes brought on by the Fall there were two other possibilities for Albert’s parentage. George and Louise had two more sisters, Victoria, who in the OTL died unmarried and childless, and Maud, who in the OTL married the King of Norway, but at the time of the Fall would have been a young teenager.

This is all totally mundane and pointless I suppose, but I ask here because it is about literary speculation.

Feel free to offer your own ideas, or to comment further on TPL. I liked that book!

Big fan of the book but I have to admit I hadn’t considered that aspect of it.

Are you aware that Stirling wrote another shorter work set in the same background? “Shikari in Galveston” is set a generation ahead of the events in the novel (its main character is Athelstane King’s father Eric.

Yes, I liked it too, and the other stories in the same anthology. I thin the short story was written before TPL, wasn’t it? So at the time Eric King’s future hadn’t been decided. I wouldn’t mind seeing more Fall short stories set in North America.

Not that I know of. If the story was written first, its publication must have been delayed. The novel was published two years before the story.

Instead of that endless series Stirling’s embroiled with? Or did it morph into another endless series? Not actually* bad*–but I lost track & haven’t bothered to get back on…

Or maybe more of his alternate SF that began with The Sky Kings & ended with In The Courts of the Crimson Kings. (So far.)

I know publishers encourage huge, massive series. But sometimes less is more. I’d like just a* little bit* more, please. An occasional short story?

Haven’t read the book, but it sounds interesting. Your speculation about Albert’s parents seems reasonable. The Wiki article says the British King-Emperor in 2025 is John II. Why would anyone want to have the same regnal name as that failed monarch?

He wasn’t the original heir. His older brother Edward broke his neck playing polo, so John suceeded his mother.

For anyone interested, here’s how it went.

Victoria I 1837-1882
Edward VII 1882-1900
George V 1900-1921
Victoria II 1921-1942, died childless, followed by her cousin
Albert I 1942-1989
Elizabeth II 1989-2005, first son Edward dies in 2000
John II 2005-2025 children Charles, Sita, Dalap, Edwina
Charles III 2025-

Thanks, but my point was, why would anyone choose John as a regnal name? The sole previous example was and is pretty widely regarded as a disaster.

Stirling is now calling them separate series.

The Change Series: Dies the Fire, The Protector’s War, and A Meeting at Corvallis
The Sunrise Lands Series: The Sunrise Lands, The Scourge of God, and The Sword of the Lady
The Montival Series: The High King of Montival, The Tears of the Sun, Lord of Mountains, and the first part of The Given Sacrifice
The Rudi’s Children Series: the last part of The Given Sacrifice, The Golden Princess, The Desert and the Blade, and probably one more book

I can see his point in calling them separate series. There are gaps of several years between the series. But I agree with the consensus that these books seem padded. They’d have been better if Stirling had compressed each series down to a single book. And I think the same is true about his Shadowspawn trilogy.

Of course, if he had done so, we’d probably be saying we wished he had written more into these stories.

Stirling’s novel contains here are brief character-sketches of the monarchs. George V is described as “the bluff, tongue-tied Sailor Emperor” – greatly like OTL’s George V. George’s daughter Victoria II is the “wild card”, told of as “gorgeous and mad and brilliant” – and bohemian and irresponsible and with decidedly shaky morals (she was the author of high-quality love poetry written to an embarrassingly wide variety of loves). The novel mentions that its featured, staid and very proper, Charles III “would have been totally out of place at her court, which the more respectable history books still skipped over rather lightly”. One feels that in a country less tolerant and fundamentally decent and law-abiding than the Angrezi Raj, an empress like Victoria II would not have been allowed to occupy the throne for two decades – an “accident” would likely have been arranged quite early in her reign.

Her heir Albert I is described as a career academic, who was outright horrified at having to become Emperor. His daughter Elizabeth II gets mention as the “Whig Empress” – with strongly progressive views, having used her influence to get the Empire’s leading universities to admit women students. Very nerdy-nitpickily: at one point in the novel, the same achievement or pretty much so, is ascribed to John II’s consort (deceased, I think, at the time of the novel’s action) Alice. Possibly both true – as in OTL, women admitted, but some time went by before their degrees were recognised as “real” degrees?

Perhaps mistakenly, and just latching on to the name, I suspect that Stirling may intend the novel’s Charles III as a brighter and less personally-screwed-up version of OTL’s Prince Charles, current heir to the British throne. The novel’s Charles is, like his OTL namesake, highly earnest and well-intentioned; with a tendency to get rather wistful – as he says to Cassandra; if he were not the heir to the throne, “I’d like to have adventures… not just amusing myself… but doing something important with my own hands and wits, and a few friends”.

I’d guess, the general perception being that the immense changes involving the Fall, and the transfer of the base of the British Empire to the “hot lands”: amounted to a “new deal”, in which old jinxes and hoodoos no longer applied. One gathers that in the light of seventeenth-century history, Charles also, is not reckoned an auspicious regnal name for the British monarch in OTL: when and if the current Prince Charles succeeds to the throne, it is expected that he’ll take a regnal name which is not Charles.

I love The Peshawar Lancers and Shikari in Galveston, and would delight in more by Stirling, set in that universe – likewise the “Conquistador” and “Island” ones. So far as I’m concerned, the “Emberverse” and “Shandowspawn” stuff which seems to occupy him totally nowadays, is a complete waste of time and effort.

We’re getting into the alt.history details here because that sort of thing is interesting, especially to Nitpicking Dopers. And I am one!

But The Peshawar Lancers is basically a Ripping Yarn. And well worth reading.

There were some Prince Johns in real life history. Prince Alexander John was Edward VII’s son, and died soon after he was born, and Prince John was George V’s son. He was an epileptic, who died of an epileptic seizure at 13.