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The Empire - A Trilogy of Modern Epics

The Empire

A Trilogy of Modern Epics

By Susanna Fournier
Afterword by ted witzel, Leora Morris, and Alison Wong
Subjects: Political Theatre, Community Theatre Picks, Large Cast, Women Writers, Anthologies, Ontario Playwrights, Theatre of War, Feminist Theatre
Casting: 2 f, 2 m | 9 f | 1 f, 4 m
Imprint: Playwrights Canada Press
Paperback : 9780369102751, 432 pages, March 2022
Ebook (PDF) : 9780369102768, March 2022
Ebook (EPUB) : 9780369102775, March 2022


Explore a world on the edge of change through three epic stories spanning five hundred years of imagined history, unpacking systems of power and what we are capable of in the pursuit of freedom.

The story starts in The Philosopher’s Wife. Deep in the North, a philosopher exiled for promoting his atheist work amidst a bloody religious war yearns to ignite a revolution, but his personal life has collapsed into chaos. What begins as a desperate attempt to cure his wife’s animalistic behaviour erupts into a power struggle between the sexes, unleashing violent reckonings while the world outside hurtles towards an epoch-changing revolution.

Over twenty years later, The Scavenger’s Daughter examines the true face of empire as Northern forces continue to march against the South, “liberating” all who stand in their way. In a landscape blown apart by war, we follow Jack and Ash, orphan soldiers belonging to the Black Swan army, trying to survive the camp, toxic masculinity, and each other until they can be free. When Jack returns to camp, his freedom having been bought for him by a mysterious philosopher, he believes his new life is just around the corner. But as rations wear thin and the king seizes the opium trails, the camp is thrown into chaos, putting everything Jack and Ash have known—including Jack’s first love, Sarah—at risk.

Centuries later, in Four Sisters, we meet Sarah again as a woman and former Madam who has survived death, the toppling of regimes, and centuries of war. When a mysterious plague breaks out, she is forced to relocate to a quarantined zone called “The Skirts” with four young girls who were orphaned by the women she once employed. But when a strange doctor arrives and discovers the girls are plague-positive, Sarah must decide whether to go ahead with an experimental treatment or none at all. As time itself begins to erode, this found family of women must face loss, love, and their individual struggles for power in a violent world.

For fans of Game of Thrones, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Mists of Avalon, The Empire is both foreign and shockingly familiar, leaving you asking, how did we get here, and where are we going?


"The Philosopher’s Wife is a dark, violent and intellectually rigorous medieval version of Pygmalion, geared for the modern age."

- Carly Maga, The Toronto Star

“Fournier has tortured history . . . She’s compressed wars of conquest, religious wars, colonial wars and wars on terror into a single fictional war that alludes to them all.”

- J. Kelly Nestruck, The Globe and Mail

"Four Sisters’ diversions and beauty never detract from the protestations at its heart. This is a plea against the ghettoization of the poor or otherwise marginalized, against the systematic devaluation of those who aren’t deemed prized contributors to a distinctly patriarchal brand of advanced capitalism."

- José Teodoro, NOW Magazine