All the Queen's Men

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Zine
Title: All the Queen's Men
Publisher: CornHusker Press
Editor:
Author(s): Victoria Racklyft, edited by Suzan Lovett
Cover Artist(s): Suzan Lovett
Illustrator(s): Suzan Lovett
Date(s): 1998
Series?: no
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Professionals
Language: English
External Links: All the Queen's Men (Circuit Archive)
All the Queen's Men Illustrations (Circuit Archive)

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All the Queen's Men is a modern-day slash Professionals Vampire AU by Victoria Racklyft, with seven lavish illustrations by Suzan Lovett. The illustrations are graphic style, with multiple panels and text picking out key themes.

front cover, showing binding, see below for the fanart
sample text from the print zine

Genre Comments

Is this story an AU?

Some 2010 comments by fans:

"The description is a bit off. This is not an AU. It is a CI5 story set in London in the lads' time. It is a supernatural story, but that doesn't make it an AU to me. It makes it a supernatural story. *g* [1]

"This is not an AU." I'm glad you raised that, 'cos I was wondering. I decided it must be AU because vampires don't exist in the CI5 universe (or in the real world, in case no one had noticed *vbg*). [2]

"For me, an AU needs to be out of the normal setting. The lads are in their own time, in their own city, working a case. Having a supernatural element doesn't make that an AU for me. If they'd been in say Victorian England, then it's an AU. Think Professional Dreamer or Cornish Ghosts for two different examples of same time, different lives, and totally different time and lives. Or if Bodie was a racing driver like he wants to imagine. *g* It's no different than if they'd done an actual episode involving a supernatural element. And considering some of their women, they had vampires sometimes. LOL! [3]

"But what about the lads in contemporary London, was it "Gravity's Angel" where Bodie was CI5 but not Doyle? Isn't AU any setting which doesn't have both Bodie and Doyle as CI5 agents based in late 1970s London?

On that definition, "All the King's Men" [sic] would not be AU. But a London with vampires and the royal family communing with long dead queens is not the real 1970s London but an alternative London.

"It's no different than if they'd done an actual episode involving a supernatural element." But if it had been an episode (and how I wish they had!, esp. with Doyle fainting and being comforted so lovingly *g*)), the supernatural element would have to have been proved to be a fake at the end (a la Sherlock Holmes!). In "All the Queen's Men", in contrast, the reader has to accept the supernatural as really existing." [4]

"If you want to get technical, I guess only canon is canon and everything else, strictly speaking, is AU. But I think for most people the idea of an alternate reality or an alternate universe is mostly interchangeable. So if it could happen in the real existing 70s world of Pros -- like a trip to France -- it's not considered AU, whereas a vampire queen would be unlikely to happen (certainly in the show -- real life? Hey, who knows?). Of course if you are stanchly het, then you consider slash AU. And if you firmly believe in ghosts or demons or vampires, then this fic is not AU.

I agree, though, it's easy to tangled up in labels." [5]

Later Reproduction Comments

About an agent's reproduction: "I do see that Agent With Style offers the zine. I haven't seen the reprint to know the quality. One can only hope that the art is well reproduced since I really like it." [6]

Awards and Accolades

The fanzine won the 1998 Stiffie Award for Best Novel.

The zine sometimes appears on fan's Desert Island lists.[7] It was reviewed on January 21, 2010 at ci5hq.[8]

See below for other fan comments and reviews.

Gallery

In the print zine, the author thanks Suzan Lovett: "To Suzan, [thank you] for creating a series of masterpieces that I had to try to live up to. I can't thank you enough for your advice, editing, and support. Add to that the outrageous artwork! Somebody pinch me!"

Four of the seven illustrations are below -- see more on the Circuit Archive: All the Queen's Men (Circuit Archive); All the Queen's Men Illustrations

.

Reviews and Reactions

Victoria Racklyft has only one on-line story that I can find, but that one puts her right near the top of my heap. All the Queen's Men is an AU novel that's set in the London of CI5, with everything pretty well as it should be, except that this case has the guys fighting not criminals or terrorists but vampires. She makes the premise work because she's able to convey both the horror and disbelief of people suddenly caught by the supernatural, and the pragmatic way that tough fighting men have to suck it up and deal. It's a tight, suspenseful story, with the added bonus of two very different romances - Bodie and Doyle finally having their eyes opened to the feelings between them, and Cowley finding a soul mate of his own. (And Cowley is just beautifully characterized through the whole story.) It's romantic in the good sense, not all snuffles and purple prose, but full of deep feeling expressed in action. There's lots of wonderful scenes, but my favourite is definitely when Bodie has to dig up the vampire's grave and face who it is. A wonderful added bonus comes from the illustrations by Suzanne Lovett. The front cover is especially eye catching: it's done in the style of an old-fashioned stained glass window, with Bodie and Doyle in the centre, all tough and holstery, and on the outliers the two of them dressed as medieval knights. Sigh.[10]
It's an AU, but it's not a how-they-met AU. Instead, it's a supernatural AU. The stress of a case involving monster slaying members of MI5 pushes the partners into a sexual relationship. Droolingly lovely illustrations from Suzan Lovett were the main buying point for me. [11]
The zine All the Queen's Men by Victoria Racklyft is now available on the web. I can't in all honesty say that the story thrilled me, the premise is interesting, but could have been better executed - but you must look at Suzan Lovett's illustrations! [12]
Let me start right off by saying I give this one a thumbs up. Then let me add that I was fully prepared to detest this thing. The first time I read a fanfic story that mixed a non-supernatural show with vampires, I thought it was really an interesting idea. The 3,065th time I encountered one I got very, very, very bored. So I read the words Pros and 'vampires' and thought 'Ick, pass.' However, as Media West drew near and no Pros zines were coming out that sounded interesting, I decided I couldn't not get one and that the artwork usually made up for a bad story. I asked a friend to pick this one up for me all of a day before she left for the con. Glad I did now. I can't say I think this one will have a high it-readability factor for me, but I found the story a page-turner this first time through and read the entire thing in one sitting. I'm not going to spoiler much in this. But I will say that none of the show's regulars are secretly vampires nor do any of them have long-lost twins who are secretly vampires. Thank the maker. Instead, this features vampires in the roles of guest villain and guest hero. I did figure out who the villain was before the CIS crew but I have time to watch more television than they do. And, more importantly. I never felt they were stupid for not figuring out things sooner. I won't tell you who the guest hero turns out to be, but I was delighted as this person is one of my favorite historical figures. However, il should be mentioned that no sense of reality was used when portraying the rather dysfunctional family this person came from. If you're a stickler for that sort of accuracy, forget the story - you ain't gonna like it, worse, it will drive you nuts. This is first and foremost a case story, in my opinion. The relationships move in and out through the tale, not always centre stage. However, what is there is very nice. I especially liked Cowley in this story and would say it is a must-have for the Cow's fans. Sex scenes don't really sizzle, but they are far from uninvolving either. As to the art it is quite different from anything I've seen Lovett do in Pros (I think she may have used a similar style in a MUNCLE once, but I'm not certain). These aren't the full-page portraits I've seen in other zines. They are more like montages complete with captions. Not a comic strip by any means, but pieces of scenes pulled together into one illo. Some of these little scenes feature the best colour renditions I've ever seen her do of Bodie, not to mention some of the best Bodie faces. I've often felt she slights him - especially making his eyes dull. Not here- Bodies eyes are rendered in all of their lush glory in several scenes. And her Cowley is wonderful. However, I also found some of the renditions of the lads quite poor and, other than the cover, none of her Doyles really clicked. So, I'd call the artwork uneven, and with the collage effect, I can't say that any one ilio strikes me as spectacular, but they are well worth the price of the zine. And the cover is quite striking. All in all this is a good read and nicely illustrated. It is expensive. But colour reproductions of Lovett's work are usually $30 all by themselves. So it's well woith the price. Unless vampires absolutely drive you crazy with loathing (and remember what I said at the beginning about being bored with the concept myself) I'd recommend this one. [13]
. . . Anyone who loves the artwork in Harlequin Airs and Master of the Revels will also
appreciate the artwork in AU The Queen's Men. Including the cover, there are seven pieces of
 Suzan's art,all in colour. The technique is beautifully hers, just the layout is different. It is really 
nice to see a well-illustrated Pros novel. I believe three or four pieces are in the artshow at 
Media West this weekend, plus a couple of pieces of her original Sentinel art. I haven't finished
 Queens Men (besides being a slow reader it has been a hectic few days since I got it) but so far I
like it. [14]
Another zine novel I don't regret the purchase of! In fact, I think Victoria Racklyft's zine novel is compulsive reading, and there are many captioned panels of Lovett's color illos to highlight the more memorable scenes. The story is really an AR, rather than an AU. It is a vampire horror story set firmly in the world of CI5 canon, as well as a first time love story for Bodie and Doyle. Marikka, Bodie's former lover, rises from the dead and stalks MI6 and its director, Willis, in revenge for her murder. The Home Secretary and the Queen Mother engage the services of Cowley and CI 5 to assist their secret weapon to fight fire with fire. One of the strongest and most colorful Plantagenet queens from England's past is recalled from seclusion in France by the Queen Mother to counter the threat. What unfolds is a suspenseful, nail-biter of a tale, a dangerous cat and mouse game of human and inhuman chess as CI5 and the vampire, Madame, try to anticipate and neutralize the horrific activities of vampire Marikka and her allies.

The zine novel is 115 pages, but reads longer and fuller because of the writer's wonderful writing style. At times the prose is succinct and terse, at other times there are lyrical turns in the phrases. The pace of the story is kinetic, but the action sequences are not rushed or summarized. There are both strong character development and interaction; a few examples are:

  • Doyle's indecisiveness about a physical relationship with Bodie
  • Doyle's contention with a powerful OFC, Madame
  • Cowley's acceptance of the physical intimacy between Bodie and Ray
  • Cowley's complex relationship with Bodie and Doyle as he looks upon them as his sons while ruthlessly using them as his best agents: Bodie as his emotional favorite; the fractious relationship with Doyle not blinding Cowley to Doyle being the best choice as his successor
  • Bodie's angst with the feral killer Marikka has become in her quest for vengeance against Willis -Bodie torn between his loyalty to Cowley and his love for Ray

Victoria has certainly done her homework for this story, and it shows: the reader gets more than a tourist's view of London, both on the surface and underground, as the conflict escalates with the roles of the hunted and the hunter changing constantly. There is death of a major character, (not Bodie or Doyle), but he doesn't stay dead, if you catch my meaning and the story is one of, ultimately, triumph and happiness.

You would think a vampire fic would be unusual enough, but Victoria gives the reader yet more. In a way, this is also a story of reincarnation; as the mystery of Madame's identity is solved, the basis for her strange relationships with Cowley, Bodie, and Doyle are realized without straining one's credulity.

I want to reiterate how great this story is: strong, suspenseful story, fascinating plot, great sex scenes, and credible characterization. I really enjoyed this story and give it my highest recommendation. [15]
"Plantagenets aside, this was a hugely enjoyable gothic tale. The plot in summary sounds completely barmy, but the writing was good enough to keep me engrossed all the way through. Halfway through reading the fic last night, having gone upstairs for something, I was on the landing when all the lights suddenly went out – and I jumped out of my skin! (the OH had inadvertently switched off the light from downstairs). Nicely erotic, too, in both human and supernatural ways. The intensity of Bodie and Doyle’s experiences in the case flowed seamlessly into the sex scenes." [16]
I have a special affinity for supernatural stories and this one works for me. I like the original female character in this story, and I like the way the author tells this tale. It's a true case story, with an investigation. Steps are followed; agents are assigned duties; a villain is sought. That's why I think this would make a great Professionals movie. *g* It has everything: mystery, intrigue, love, hate, death, and rebirth. [17]
I really love this text.

I only have two minor things which poke me in the eyes everytime I read this text: the first one is Doyle. I don't quite like the Doyle in this text. I don't really know why, but there is something. And the second is that Cowley is part of this text too much.

Other than that I love it, and it's a joy to read! [18]
Vampires, all that supernatural stuff, is something I won't follow, and something I can't see in any context with Bodie and Doyle and Cowley. Probably because it means death, lost of humanity, lost of your own will, a shadowy existence... [19]
Your review has me wanting to read it now. I have the zine for the art work. It sounds better than I had heard. [20]
I adored the story - and liked the prominence (and romance) given to Cowley! I thought the beginning was brilliant, and I loved the way the author managed to use canon (and fanon) facts to flesh out and make real a tale that was really 'over the top' in terms of the supernatural, vampires, violence, etc. And slash too!! Very clever writing. I also thought she had all the major characters 'right', including Eleanor, from what I've read of her. Anyway, do you sense a 'but'? After the first few paragraphs my virtual editor's red pen came out and drove me nearly insane.(I have pages of notes if anyone's interested). There are so many minor errors - Americanisms, incorrect vocabulary usage, inconsistencies - all trivial and not detracting from the overall plot but horribly irritating. She really needs a good beta or a good editor - worthwhile to make a good story truly good and 'professional'. [21]
I though this story was so clever - and the vampire/violence elements were so over the top as to be almost a spoof of the genre so I just enjoyed the intricate plottting. [22]
I thought this one was particularly bad in this respect which I found sad because the story was so good. There are lots of stories with few or no errors - I think anyone who isn't certain of the 'rules' - or the vocabulary - can nowadays easily find betas/editors and maybe older stories could sometimes do with a bit of work before uploading though I suppose it's hard for the archivists to suggest that. I don't honestly think it's a professional/amateur divide as I've been shocked by the low standard of some printed books and delighted at a lot of fanfic! [23]
I might never have read this - or carried on with it if it hadn't been a rec, and I'd have missed a great story. A Chameleon's Dish, which I hated couldn't be faulted on vocabulary, grammar, etc. but I wouldn't tell anyone else to read it whereas I'd rec this to anyone I knew could cope with supernatural doings ;) But while we're discussing things I do think we ought to comment on every aspect of the story - that's what makes the discussions really valuable and helps to make us all better writers and more observant readers. Don't stop reccing whatever you really like!! And is that artwork online anywhere? (i.e. might anyone have scanned it in??) [24]
The art is amazing. It's on The Circuit Archive. I think it's really cool that the artists allowed their art to be added to the story. I know it's on line, but if you look at the biggest version (be sure to double click to enlarge the pics), you'll see how well the collages match the story. That's one thing I love about Suzan's art. When you're reading any zine she's illustrated, she picks the perfect paragraphs to illustrate. I'm so in awe of her, it's not funny. Is it just me or does Madame have a slight resemblance to Katherine Hepburn? [25]
That artwork. Dear God, it's astonishing. The minute I saw it, I wanted to read the story. And what an excellent summary and review of it you did.

As for the story...full marks for inventiveness and originality. There were many, many things about the story I liked. The long and complex plot, the action, the original characters, the use of history...lots of good stuff.

Some of the writing is nice.... My problem was with the characters, which just didn't ring true for me, I'm sorry to say. Maybe it was the Americanisms. When they're so rampant that *I* can't miss them, I figure that's pretty bad. And if they don't sound like themselves, well, that does take a lot away (at least for me). But...it was more the character of the men themselves. From about Chapter Five on, they seemed very UN-Professional. Gone is the tough competency and hard-headed humorous (even blackly humorous) aspect that I need in fic to really feel like I'm getting the lads. And once they decide they have feelings for each other, it just gets...unlikely. And even though the writer takes pains to point out that they're not mushy, sloppy blokes, as they continued to think and speak and act like mushy, sloppy blokes...

Granted, characterization is a subjective thing. Overall, a very original and memorable story. [26]
All the Queen's Men by Victoria Racklyft is a terrific novel-length story set in an AU in which vampires exist. It's got action, suspense, horror, a Bodie/Doyle love story, a Cowley love story of courtly elegance, and lots of other CI5 characters. The story moves along briskly, but the author knows how to make space for description and emotion without seeming forced. Although the story has a dark theme, I would say there is no dark side: the strength and goodness in our lads is brought out under trial and shown to be the real thing. And as an added bonus, a whole series of colour illustrations by Suzan Lovett. The cover, depicting Bodie and Doyle dressed as knights in a stained glass window, is awesome. [27]
I loved the artwork but hadn't spotted the cover illustration before- oh yes, I agree, that's stunning. [28]
I'm ashamed to say this is one of those fics where I've admired the artwork, but never read the story. [29]
The artwork is beautiful. The story is pretty good, although there are some flaws I keep running up against - the name of the Queen Mother, what are you doing with that lit torch, etc - but I have read it a couple of times. [30]
Oh, another one I've not read for ages - though I tend to sigh over the artwork in between readings - it is gorgeous, isn't it! [31]

References

  1. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  2. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  3. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  4. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  5. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  6. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  7. Close Quarters: Desert Island Episode/Zine/Fic dated July 18, 2009; reference link.
  8. reference link.
  9. 2012 comments at CI5hq
  10. 2008 comments by Verlaine at FanFic Recommendations - Day 3
  11. The Professionals Fanzines, Archived version
  12. Alison's Jottings, via Wayback.
  13. from DIAL #6
  14. from DIAL #6
  15. from DIAL #24
  16. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  17. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  18. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  19. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  20. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  21. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  22. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  23. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  24. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  25. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  26. comment in the review at ci5hq on January 21, 2010;ci5hq.reference link.
  27. 2012 comments at CI5hq
  28. 2012 comments at CI5hq
  29. 2012 comments at CI5hq
  30. 2012 comments at CI5hq
  31. 2012 comments at CI5hq