An evil Empire or a benevolent monarchy? You decide!
It is 1936. All of Britain still mourns the death of King George V. But behind the scenes, a change happens in both newly-crowned King Edward and HRH Prince Albert. A change that would inspire them to enact daring reforms that would not only bring sweeping change to a struggling Empire but also restore old glories and powers lost in World War I. They would remind the world why Britannia rules the waves, or risk bringing about its final downfall.
So begins For King and Country, a epic-length After-Action Report for Hearts of Iron II by Draco Rexus, chronicling the evolution, survival and rise of the British Empire. Its relatively plausible story does much to cover the British's trials and fortunes, from a grand, global scale down to the personal level as it shifts through multiple perspectives. The result is an incredibly well-thought out work that also questions the reader whether having a reinvigorated Britannia is desirable, even if they're the "good guys"...for the most part.
The AAR is still ongoing, although the last update was in May 2012. It can be found here.
This series provides examples of:
- Alternate History: The main change is stated as having been with King George V's death in 1936, although there are hints that it may have been at least a few years in the making prior to that event.
- Black and Grey Morality: The Nazi SS and Soviet Union are clearly the bad guys in much of the AAR (although there are sympathetic Germans and Russian characters). On the other hand, the British aren't entirely altruistic either, considering some of their covert and more questionable adventures.
- The British Empire/The Commonwealth of Nations
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Averted. Despite being portrayed as constantly squabbling amongst themselves, the French are by no means petty pushovers even after the Socialist takeover. Although it's mentioned that Frenchmen are united in worrying about their increasingly screwed-up neighbor.
- Church Militant: The Vatican, thanks to the British, takes a much more proactive role in dealing with the Nazis and Soviets to the point of virtually calling a crusade. Though London's involvement in all this is revealed to be more out of self-interest and "mutual foes" than pious reasons.
- Dirty Communists: The British have a damn good reason for hating Stalin, the Soviets and Communists in general. King Edward's assassination by Soviet collaborators may have had something to do with it.
- The Empire: The British like to see themselves as a benevolent one. Though their American allies increasingly view them in a more traditionally dubious light.
- Enlightened Self-Interest: In both forwarding the realm's interests and confronting the Nazis and Soviets, the British make a point in being benevolent. On the other hand, they're not afraid to engage in rather dubious Realpolitik if necessary.
- The Federation: What the British Empire becomes following the reforms, which give Dominions and most colonies virtually equal footing with London. Or at least that's what it tries to be.
- For Want of a Nail: For want of a more powerful crown, a mighty kingdom was gained.
- Four-Star Badass: Malcolm Drake is implied to become one in the end. And the story goes a long way in showing how.
- Genre Shift: While the story stays consistent in its focus on the Drakes and their liege, the AAR tends to switch between political intrigue, military action, espionage and even Slice of Life.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Deliberately invoked in the case of King Edward. Due to the increasingly altering events, he avoids many of the mistakes that ultimately tarnished his reputation in real life, such as abdicating the throne. Following his assassination, he's even hailed as a hero.
- In Spite of a Nail: Some events, especially early on like the Spanish Civil War more or less happen as they did in real life. Much to the dismay of the British.
- World War II still happens more or less on schedule with the German invasions of Poland and Denmark. How it plays out from those points on the other hand...
- Kill 'Em All: The author does not shy from killing characters left and right. Including King Edward.
- My Country, Right or Wrong
- Oh, Crap!: Oswald Mosley's reaction when King George VI gets fed up with him and tells him where he can stuff his ideas.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The royal brothers and a select group of high-ranking officials (including Winston Churchill and even a reined-in Oswald Mosley) basically run the Empire from behind the scenes. More often than not, they try their best in persuading if not outright manipulating Parliament to support their ultimate objectives. And they're also the good guys.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Charles de Gaulle, who ends up being sent to French Guiana for insubordinate behavior.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Edward and Prince Albert (later King George VI after his brother's murder) pretty much make the British Monarchy on par with, if not more powerful than Parliament.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: What the British Government (and the peoples of the Empire in general) does to the Soviet representatives.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Cecilia, the King's secretary (and later Malcolm Drake's wife) is shown as a classic young British lady. It's not long however before it's revealed just how formidable and assertive she is that even the Royal brothers listen to her. Which only gets even more evident once she becomes a mother.
- Spy Fiction: A good deal of it, though of the "Stale Beer" variety. Given all the risks and potential backlash, a day in the life of British Intelligence agents is not a walk in the part. Although some, like Drake's brother, do enjoy some of the "perks" involved in the service of their country.
- The Spymaster: The man usually known as Intrepid. Who later becomes head of British Intelligence.
- War Is Hell
- We ARE Struggling Together: What many of Britain's allies eventually come across as.
- World War II: Starts of somewhat like real life... but then takes on a very different turn.