Anne-Marie Richardson, a young woman from late-twentieth century England, has already visited two, quite different, alternative history ‘probability worlds’ - that of the Amazon-like Femyny, a classical era matriarchy battling against an early-Roman Latium League; and a twentieth century Malta that was still part of the Kingdom of Naples, in which a Gnostic matriarchy from the Middle East and North Africa was already rising to predominance, threatening the collective European anciens régimes.

In this, the third book of The Three Worlds Trilogy, she is again accompanied by Ganya Thephassa, the hermaphrodite from another, mysterious future matriarchy known as the ‘peoples of Gaia’, only to find herself in the self-proclaimed Grand Duchy of Wessex, part of a politically fragmented, alternative history England in which, following the destructive ‘Great War of 1917-25’ over three decades earlier, a biologically-engineered pandemic had devastated the male population, leaving the now-majority female survivors having to reconstruct a new, post-catastrophe society, with new rules, rationale and hierarchy.

This time the Gaians have transported other ‘temporal-dimensional itinerants’ to accompany her, including one of her companions from the Femyny world, but it soon becomes apparent that this is also a world in which it is sometimes difficult to distinguish friend from foe; and in which sinister forces already seem alert to Anne-Marie’s presence, and are apparently intent on trying to kill her….

The third book in "The Three Worlds" trilogy, this continues on from "The New Way". Again it has still to be published.

GREAT WAR OF 1917-25 - After years of growing tension, war scares and intense imperial rivalry, the Great War began in April 1917 and lasted until September 1925, rapidly becoming a global conflict involving combatants as far afield as China, Japan, the United States of America, Peru, Chile and Argentina. Beyond the battlefields of mainland Europe, the war continued on other fronts throughout colonial Africa, the western and southern flanks of Russia, India, the Middle and Far East, the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, America, Mexico and the Caribbean. It is estimated that over 80 million died in the actual conflict, of which at least 20 million were non-combatants, while perhaps another 30 million perished from the affects of widespread malnutrition or died later from their injuries. Much of Europe from the Portugal to the Ural Mountains was left in ruins, while Africa and Asia and Central America descended into anarchy and chaos. Beyond the frontlines aerial bombardment by biplanes and airships inflicted destruction on towns and cities in the United Kingdom, notably London, Southampton, Chatham, Hull and Glasgow, as well as the eastern United States of America and Canada and the Indian subcontinent and China. By late 1924 it should have been obvious there were no winners, only losers. The Russian, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires had already collapsed and there were widespread mutinies and rebellions in the territories of the British and French Empires. However, the final blow came with the so-called ‘Russian Plague’ early in 1925, and the pandemic rapidly spread throughout the world, eventually sparing no-one, military and civilian alike. As governments teetered or fell, what remained of the armies and navies disintegrated, and the war effectively petered out into internal insurrection, revolution, lawlessness and anarchy.

RUSSIAN PLAGUE - Although the influenza-like pandemic was known as the ‘Russian Plague’, even at the time of its most devastating (1925-1929) many speculated it had been originally artificially created in either America or Russia, possibly as a desperate, last-ditch bio-chemical weapon that had then somehow got out of control. The Americans initially claimed it began in China, and was natural rather than man-made, but certainly the first known outbreak occurred around Christmas 1924 on the chaotic sprawling stalemate that had been the Eastern Front, and by January 1925 was spreading through Ottoman Turkey and the Middle East, before devastating Europe, Africa, Asia and finally the Americas. Once abroad, it proved highly contagious, and it was later estimated that globally perhaps as many as seven out of every ten people contracted the symptoms; of whom up to sixty percent died almost within eighteen months of its first appearance. The symptoms were vomiting and dizziness, followed by fever and delirium. But whereas those women who were afflicted generally always recovered, and often at first with no apparent side effects, men, and even young boys aged ten or under, almost all succumbed, mostly from respiratory failure. Only much later did it become apparent that the mysterious disease had a long-term complication, effectively destroying or preventing the ‘Y’ chromosome at conception, thereby dramatically reducing the number of male-children in favour of females. It is for this reason in particular that later scientists and historians believe the disease was artificially created, rather than a natural epidemic. Originally it had been thought that the numbers of men would return to near a normal ratio within twenty years, but that did not happened. Throughout the rest of the 20th century male births were still sixty percent less prevalent then female ones, and the gender ratio remained at three-to-one in favour of women. Even the most optimistic speculation by these few male scientists still researching the after-effects, is that it might be at least another hundred years before the long-term genetic damage has finally worked itself out, and the unequal gender balance be restored again.

From the glossary of "In the Grand Duchy of Wessex".
by G. G. Anderson
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