Alternative plots

To return to the Gunpowder Plot once more — the fourth centenary of the day has spawned a host of interesting new books on the subject. Online reviews of these books abound. Ronald Hutton wrote a review in the TLS, Murrough O’Brien in The Independent, and Alex Butterworth publishes his review today in the Observer.

Among the books reviewed is Gunpowder Plots: A Celebration of Four Hundred Years of Bonfire Night by Brenda Buchanan et al (Penguin £14.99), in which Antonia Fraser imagines what would have happened had Guy Fawkes succeeded in his plot. The “what-if”-approach is current in The Netherlands as well, where historian Thomas van der Dunk in his new book, published this week, speculates on what would have happened had Balthasar Gerards been unsuccesful in his attempt to murder of William of Orange.

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