London, 1953, Coronation year - but not the Coronation of Elizabeth II. 13 years have passed since a Grand Alliance between Great Britain and Germany was formalised. George VI and his family have been murdered and Edward VIII rules as King. Yet, in practice, all power is vested in Alfred Rosenberg, Britain's Protector. The role and status of women is Rosenberg's particular interest. Rose Ransom belongs to the elite caste of women and works at the Ministry of Culture, rewriting literature to correct the views of the past. But now she has been given a special task. Outbreaks of insurgency have been seen across the country; graffiti daubed on public buildings. Disturbingly, the graffiti is made up of lines from forbidden works, subversive words from the voices of women. Suspicion has fallen on Widowland, the run-down slums where childless women over 50 have been banished.