Queen High

Thrilling dystopian fiction from the acclaimed author of Widowland, 'Clever, thrilling, brilliantly imagined ... chillingly convincing post-war dystopia' (Clare Chambers). Perfect for fans of Fatherland and The Handmaid's Tale.

Picked as a 2022 Book of the Year by The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times and The Guardian

Britain, with the wrong queen.

1955. The Leader has been dead for two years. His assassination, on British soil, provoked violent retribution and intensified repression of British citizens, particularly women. Now, more than ever, the Protectorate is a place of surveillance and isolation - a land of spies.

The royal family has been usurped, and the widowed Queen Wallis reigns in their place. Yet still some citizens hold out hope that Elizabeth may one day return.

Every evening Rose Ransom looks in the mirror and marvels that she's even alive. A mere woman, her role in the Leader's death has been miraculously overlooked. She still works at the Culture Ministry, where her work now focuses on the outlawed subject of Poetry, a form of writing that transmits subversive meanings, emotions and signals that cannot be controlled. Therefore all Poetry is banned and Rose is appointed a Poet Hunter.

To widespread surprise, President Eisenhower is to make a state visit to the Alliance and Rose is tasked with visiting the widowed Wallis to provide a background briefing. When she arrives at the palace, she finds Wallis in a state of paranoia, desperate to return to America and enjoy the liberty of her homeland. She claims she has a secret document so explosive that it will blow the Protectorate apart - but will she dare to pull the trigger on the Alliance?


Brilliantly imagined and thoroughly chilling, this is a counterfactual tour de force
The Guardian
Exciting and provocative dystopian fiction
The Observer
This follow up is as enthralling as its predecessor
The Sunday Times
Carey steadily ramps up the tension in a masterfully imagined world, full of fear and dread A superbly imagined dystopia
Financial Times
A dazzling piece of alternative history . . . this is much more than a thriller. While being a true page-turner, it reminds us of the serious things, the meaning of love, the reason we treasure literature and – a timely reminder as it sadly happens – the reason we so cherish the memory of Queen Elizabeth II and the democracy she helped protect.
The Tablet
A chilling, compelling read, full of twists and 'what if' moments
Red Magazine
A sequel to the remarkable alternative history novel Widowland, Queen High has Wallis Simpson as puppet queen in a Nazi-ruled Britain, with conflicted literary censor Rose Ransom encountering sinister forces on every side. It’s both a trenchant thriller and a disquisition on the limits of freedom under a tyrannical regime
Barry Forshaw, Crime Time
History as it might have been, wonderfully-sketched characters, crime and conspiracies: a perfect thriller and I can’t wait for the next volume.
Book of the Month, Crime Time, Maxim Jakubowski,
A fascinating portrait of a fake collaborator waiting for a chance to rise
Marlene Harris, Library Journal