|The Two Georges|
|Cover artist||Bob Eggleton|
|Genre(s)||Alternate History, Mystery, Steampunk|
Hodder & Stoughton (U.K.)|
For more than two centuries, the present-day United States and Canada have been the North American Union, an integral part of the British Empire as a result of an agreement between George Washington and King George III of Great Britain. This event is commemorated in a Thomas Gainsborough painting titled The Two Georges and has itself become a symbol of national unity, much like the Stars and Stripes, which in this world is the "Jack and Stripes."
While being displayed in the great 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 steamer (car) salesman - who, based on his nickname and description is clearly intended to be Richard Nixon. Colonel Thomas Bushell of the Royal American Mounted Police leads the search for the painting, accompanied by curator Kathleen Flannery and Captain Samuel Stanley. Some days later, a ransom note is received from the Sons of Liberty, a paramilitary organization that wants to see America independent of the British Empire.
The search takes Bushell, Flannery and Stanley across the North American Union via airship (an advanced form of dirigible), trains and steamer. Along the way, the trio's investigations bring them into contact with many suspected members of the Sons of Liberty, including Boston tabloid editor John Kennedy.
The Governor-General of the Union, Sir Martin Luther King, informs Bushell in confidence that the painting must be recovered in time for the impending state visit of King-Emperor Charles III, or the government will pay the Sons' ransom demand of 50 million pounds.
The searchers arrive at Victoria, the Union capital, and manage to discover The Two Georges an hour before the King-Emperor arrives and avert an assassination attempt by the Sons of Liberty; both on the dock where the King-Emperor lands and at the All-Union Art Museum where the King-Emperor is giving a speech in front of the recovered painting (an explosive is hidden in the picture frame).
Bushell and Stanley are both knighted by the King-Emperor for their efforts.
- Annotations prepared by Kevin Lauderdale may be found here. Certain conclusions should not be considered canonical.
- The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump shares many elements with The Two Georges, the most obvious one being that Confederated Provinces, analog of the United States, is a constitutional monarchy, divided into Provinces rather than States. Spell Dump is primarily a fantasy work, although there is an undercurrent of alternate history.
- Gunpowder Empire, first volume of the Crosstime Traffic Series. In one of the alternates briefly mentioned in the opening chapters, North America remains a contented part of the British Empire in the 2090s.