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The Queen against Defoe - Stefan Heym

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Set in London in the reign of Queen Anne, right at the beginning of the 18th century, "The Queen Against Defoe" is told from the perspective of the odious Josiah Creech, lackey to the Earl of Nottingham, who is charged with hunting down and punishing Daniel Defoe for his publication of the satirical pamphlet "The Shortest Way with the Dissenters". Creech succeeds, with much trouble, in getting Defoe first into Newgate prison and then into the pillory, but finds that doesn't suffice to silence him.

The novella is fiction ? Creech himself is not historical ? but follows the historical events fairly closely and includes excerpts from Defoe's writings. With some nicely described people and locations, Heym presents a lively London, subject to a fever of political ideas and the enthusiasms of print (Defoe is first tracked down through the type used in his pamphlet).

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