Daniel Defoe, author and spy

The main character in What If The Queen Should Die? is Daniel Defoe, best known today as the author of Robinson Crusoe, one of the first novels published in English.

As a young man, Defoe is widely believed to have taken part in the Monmouth rebellion against the Catholic king James II – a treasonable act for which many others were tortured and executed. Defoe later worked as a spy for the government of James's Protestant daughter, Anne.

He wrote propaganda that was often powerful, but sometimes backfired spectacularly, getting him thrown in prison. And along with everything else, Defoe was a merchant – importing (among other things) tobacco, beer, wine, silks, muslins, cochineal, wax, dates, tea and ostrich feathers.

He was not always successful here, either, and at the start of What If The Queen Should Die?, Defoe has lost everything.