Essex is guilty and condemned to die

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Title: Essex is guilty and condemned to die
Author(s): naraht
Date(s): 23 December 2011
Length: 5033 words
Genre: sequel
Fandom: Mary Renault
External Links: archived on AO3 Yuletide

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"Essex is guilty and condemned to die" is a long story by naraht based on Mary Renault's 1953 novel The Charioteer. It is set after the novel, in the early 1950s.


In the early fifties, after the defection of Burgess and McLean, the closeted life of a homosexual in the Security Services gets increasingly difficult for Ralph.


"Essex is guilty and condemned to die" was written for serriadh in Yuletide 2011. It is the sequel to "Those voices that will not be drowned", which Naraht had written the previous year.

Naraht subsequently gave the sequence the overall title, Post World War Two Blues. A third story, "What we are, we remain" (written in 2013), brings the story of Laurie and Ralph into the late '60s.


The story was received many favourable comments, including the following on the Yuletide site:

  • "Oh, that was heartbreaking, and heartwarming too, that at least in all of this Ralph has Laurie. So wretchedly believable too."—comment by signe (oxoniensis)
  • "A wonderful study in the inevitable for a man like Ralph given the period and a terrible indictment of the 1950s.—comment by fawatson
  • "This is MAGNIFICENT, bleak and true to character and very much pinned to the period."—comment by Shezan
  • "This was heartbreaking in just the right way. Ralph, who never has found an institution worthy of him. You describe the mounting horror and fervid suspicion of the era so well, and Laurie's attempts to give comfort, knowing that ultimately he can't fix it all, were just right. I also really loved the slight wistfulness in his thoughts about Andrew."—comment by serriadh