The title tells it all: Queen Victoria in her imperial weeds bravely but lugubriously carries on. Last of a Victorian tetralogy, this volume wades through 40 years of widowhood, bringing up babies (three generations' worth), arguments with officious ministers--nasty Gladstone, nice Disraeli--Jubilees, and deaths, deaths, deaths. Poor Vicky. German unification gave her a headache: ""The Queen hated the thought of war. . . . War was so devastating--particularly when it made such conflict in the family."" There was popular resentment at the Queen's seclusion, even scandal about her and her Highland crony, John Brown. And, alas, all those divorce cases citing the Prince of Wales, whose Princess Alix grows ever more forlorn. Plaidy stuffs the book with thrice-told anecdote, scandal-sheet headlines of the day, genealogical tidbits, and the scene-settings that are her specialty. But Victoria--unlike royals of earlier centuries--brings out the worst in Plaidy: cardboard crowns and rice-custard conversations. . . .""It seemed incredible. Here she was Princess of Wales and Willy King of Greece when a year ago they were living humbly in the Yellow Palace."" Queen Victoria--and fans of lively historical drama--in mourning.