A novel set in an AlternateUniverse where the Spanish Armada conquered England. Ten years later, Shakespeare is writing plays under the Spanish occupiers, but is simultaneously contracted by both them and the English resistance to write plays to either commemorate the dying King Philip or inspire rebellion against him. In the end he chooses the latter, and his play Boudicca sparks a revolution. Published under the slogan "To be free, or not to be free?"
!! This novel provides examples of:
* AlternateHistory: The Spanish Armada succeeded.
* GratuitousIambicPentameter: Not only in the quoted plays, but as much spoken dialogue is sneakily cribbed quotes from other plays and poems, so people regularly talk to each other in Iambic Pentameter. Shakespeare, Burbage, and Marlowe regularly [[LampshadeHanging hang lampshades]] on this.
** Some TruthInTelevision here; one reason for the success of iambic pentameter in its day was that it resembled the rhythms of ordinary speech.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: [[ShakespeareInFiction Shakespeare]], his players, Lope De La Vega, Nicholas Skeres, Christopher Marlowe. The majority of the major characters are this.
* HurricaneOfPuns: The needling between Kemp, Burbage, Shakespeare, and Marlowe descends into this rapidly
* MyCountryRightOrWrong: Shakespeare admits that, if given a choice, he probably would chose to follow the Roman Catholic traditions of Spain as opposed to the Protestant teachings of England, but he refuses to let these traditions be forced onto the country at gunpoint. Thusly, he helps launch the rebellion that topples the government of Queen Isabella and frees the imprisoned Queen Elizabeth, even if that means he will need to become a Protestant again, because at least then it would be England's choice in the matter.
* OccupiersOutOfOurCountry: Used frequently in the Timeline191 works. Here it is the English resisting the Spanish.
* TheQuisling: Loaded with 'em.
* ReassignedToAntarctica: Lieutenant de Vega is constantly threatening his lazy servant with reassignment to Scotland until he gets some better blackmail.
* VitriolicBestBuds: Burbage and Kemp
* VolleyingInsults: round and round and round again between Shakespeare, Burbage, and Kemp
* Creator/WilliamShakespeare: Our protagonist.