Book One: Europe After the Reign

Prelude

Book One’s prelude opens onto the nighttime streets of dystopian, postwar London on November 5, 1997. Surveillance cameras roll as an audio program called The Voice of Fate broadcasts through the city. Fate updates citizens on police raids said to uncover a major terrorist ring and reminds them of their duty to “make Britain great again.” 

Chapter 1: The Villain

Sixteen-year-old Evey Hammond enters the world of prostitution and unwittingly solicits a police officer, or “fingerman,” on a stakeout near Westminster Bridge. As he and four other fingermen set out to rape and then kill Evey, a man appears, disguised with a mask of Guy Fawkes, a notorious figure in English history who attempted to blow up London’s House of Lords on November 5, 1605. The stranger, later known as V, vanquishes the fingermen, killing three. V and Evey watch as London’s Houses of Parliament explode and fireworks form a “V” in the sky, both events orchestrated by V. Later, surveillance forces report to the Norsefire government’s Leader, Adam Susan: Conrad Heyer for the “Eye,” Brian Etheridge for the “Ear,” and Eric Finch for the “Nose.” Leader Susan instructs Derek Almond, head of the secret police, to meet with Roger Dascombe at Jordan Tower to fabricate propaganda to explain the bombing.

Chapter 2: The Voice

While speaking with Almond at Jordan Tower, Dascombe praises Lewis Prothero, the actual voice behind The Voice of Fate, and then states that he’s very sensitive and collects dolls. Meanwhile, Evey surveys V’s home, the Shadow Gallery. It’s filled with paintings, books, films, and music despite the Norsefire government’s attempt to eradicate all forms of art and culture. Later, V slips into a train carriage, kills two government officials, and kidnaps Prothero. At the crime scene, Finch vows to crack the case by getting inside V’s head. 

Chapter 3: Victims

Finch eyes a “V” scrawled on the train’s window and finds a Violet Carson, a type of rose thought to be extinct. Evey recounts her memories of a recent nuclear war that ravaged Britain and much of the world, along with all that happened after, including widespread environmental degradation and her mother’s death. She also recalls the rise of Britain’s fascist Norsefire party, which retained postwar order but wiped out anyone it considered to be undesirable: Black people, Jewish people, immigrants, gay people, and social dissidents, including her father. Later, Lewis Prothero wakes up in a uniform below a sign that reads, “Larkhill Resettlement Camp.”

Chapter 4: Vaudeville

The chapter opens in the Shadow Gallery, where V simulates scenes from Larkhill for Prothero, who served as its commander and worked ovens for corpses. Prothero pleads with V, saying he’s not to blame for the crimes committed there, but V shows him the compound where scientists conducted horrific experiments, including on V, while he was imprisoned in room V, or 5. Prothero becomes deranged, especially when V burns Prothero’s dolls in the ovens, and after he’s freed, Prothero can no longer serve as the voice of The Voice of Fate

Chapter 5: Versions

Leader Susan praises fascism and the Nordic race. He denounces freedom and individual liberty and speaks of his love of Fate, the supercomputer that runs the state. V speaks to The Old Bailey, a statue meant to symbolize justice. He scorns “Madam Justice” for falling in line with fascists and then blows up the statue. At the Shadow Gallery, V and Evey discuss the power of truth and come up with a way that Evey can help with V’s plans. At Westminster Abbey, Bishop Anthony Lilliman, speaking for the state, warns parishioners about a dark force that’s approaching and reinforces Britain’s “one race, one creed, one hope” stance.

Chapter 6: The Vision

After church, Derek Almond and his wife, Rosemary, converse with Conrad Heyer and his wife, Helen, about V’s attacks. The Bishop, a serial pedophile aided by the state, takes a teenage girl into his chambers, unaware that his latest victim is Evey, operating under V’s direction. 

Chapter 7: Virtue Victorious

Evey opens a window, and V slips inside to slay the Bishop. 

Chapter 8: The Valley

Almond and Finch examine the crime scene, where they find a “V” etched on the Bishop’s wall and a second Violet Carson rose. Later, at the Ear, Finch and Brian Etheridge scan surveillance recordings from the Bishop’s chambers. They learn that the Bishop, before being forced to take communion with a cyanide-laced wafer, realized that V is the prisoner from room V at Larkhill Resettlement Camp. The Bishop also spoke of an unforgettable attack that V carried out at the camp, one that left guards burning and choking on yellow fog.
 
Days later at New Scotland Yard, Finch learns from Dr. Delia Surridge that the Bishop officially died from a knife wound and then asks her to examine the rose that V left behind.

Chapter 9: Violence

Evey tells V that she won’t be a part of any future killings. Later, V reads to her about The Land of Do-As-You-Please in the children’s book The Magic Faraway Tree. At the Almonds’ home, Derek strikes Rosemary when she speaks to him about their failing marriage, and he threatens further violence after firing his unloaded gun at her. At the Nose, Eric Finch’s assistant, Dominic Stone, works to uncover V’s identity and finds that resettlement camps labeled rooms with Roman numerals. He and Finch also see that Lewis Prothero and the Bishop both worked at Larkhill. Later, V breaks into Dr. Surridge’s home while she sleeps. 

Chapter 10: Venom

Stone and Finch realize that V has gone undetected for four years while killing almost everyone who worked at Larkhill. When they see that Dr. Surridge also worked there, they inform Almond and set out for Dr. Surridge’s home to save her. Meanwhile, Dr. Surridge expresses regret to V for her crimes at the camp and asks him to remove his mask so she can once again see his face, which she says is beautiful. V kills Surridge with a lethal injection and then fatally stabs Almond, who arrives moments after. At the scene, Finch finds Dr. Surridge’s diary from Larkhill.

Chapter 11: The Vortex

Finch reports to Leader Susan about the contents of Dr. Surridge’s diary, which starts on April 30, 1993, and details her role at Larkhill. There, accompanied by Prothero and Bishop Lilliman, she conducted hormone research on prisoners that she describes as subhuman. Prisoners, she says, routinely developed deformities such as extra nipples, atrophied genitalia, and vestigial fingers before dying painful deaths. The prisoner in room V seemed physically unaffected by the hormone research, but his treatment led to a psychotic break and increased intellect. Those in charge of Larkshill, however, believed the prisoner to be harmless, so they allowed him to garden, where he doubled the camp’s food production and grew a patch of Violet Carson roses. In his cell, the prisoner also created an elaborate pattern with ammonia-based fertilizer and grease solvent, which later let loose a blast of napalm and mustard gas, killing guards as he escaped. 

Finch postulates that after killing Dr. Surridge, V left the diary in her room so investigators would know his story, but not all of it, given that some pages were ripped out, making it impossible for them to know if he’s “Jewish, or homosexual, or black, or white.”

Book Two: This Vicious Cabaret

Prelude

In Book Two’s prelude, V sings a song called “This Vicious Cabaret,” which speaks of an honest-souled policeman (Finch), Leader Susan, and Evey, who’s now ready to follow V into The Land of Do-As-You-Please, or anarchy. 

Chapter 1: The Vanishing

It’s January 5, 1998. When Evey asks V why he hasn’t pursued her sexually, wondering if there’s someone else, if he doesn’t like women, or if he might be her father, V blindfolds her and leads her out of the Shadow Gallery and onto the street. He tells Evey that he is not her father and that her father is dead. He vanishes and leaves her on the street. 

Chapter 2: The Veil

At Derek Almond’s funeral, Rosemary thinks about her deceased husband. She understands that he was an evil man, but now feels alone without him. With no state support, income, or job, Rosemary realizes she has nothing. Meanwhile, V slips into Norsefire-controlled film studios and kills a crew while they review a racist action show that portrays Black men as would-be rapists of white women. 

Chapter 3: Video

As comedies with sexual humor and news propaganda play in the background, V takes over the studio’s airwaves to communicate with London’s citizens.

Chapter 4: A Vocational Viewpoint

V berates London’s citizens for their behavior. Despite the great successes of the human race, including the discovery of fire, the wheel, and agriculture, V says that they are guilty of so many sins. With scenes of Hitler and Mussolini playing, he condemns dictators but also those citizens who put them in power, tolerated their totalitarianism, and turned a blind eye to their abuses. After V warns London’s citizens to change their ways, armed forces storm into the film studio and kill him. However, they later learn that V has fooled them, and that the corpse disguised in V’s attire is actually that of Roger Dascombe. 

Chapter 5: The Vacation

Finch punches Almond’s replacement, Peter Creedy, after Creedy reveals that Finch had an affair with Dr. Surridge. Leader Susan sends Finch on vacation to cool off. Evey now lives with Gordon, a gangster and smuggler. 

Chapter 6: Variety

After a night of heavy drinking, Evey vomits and wonders if London would have been better off if it had been destroyed in the war.

Chapter 7: Visitors

Evey and Gordon start a sexual relationship. Later, crime boss Alistair Harper and a fellow gangster kill Gordon at his home. Evey sees his body and flashes back to her mother’s death, her father’s imprisonment, and V’s abandonment. Suddenly, Evey realizes she’s all alone.

Chapter 8: Vengeance

Rosemary Almond, who has turned to cabaret dancing to earn money, runs into Evey outside the Kitty-Kat Keller cabaret. Later, Evey hides in an alley with a gun she found at Gordon’s, hoping to exact vengeance on Gordon’s killers, but she loses consciousness after being abducted by what appears to be the state police.

Chapters 9: Vermin

Evey experiences a dream state where her memories mix with her subconscious mind. In Evey’s childhood home, she sees her father, who transforms into Gordon and then back again, as they become sexually intimate in a room that transforms into the Bishop’s chambers. In Evey’s dream state, V chases and attacks her. She later awakens and sees that she’s in a prison cell. 

Chapter 10: Vengeance

A rat comes in and out of Evey’s cell, and she realizes her dream state was induced by chloroform when she was captured in the street. Guards play film of her prostitution solicitation, accuse her of murder, shave her head, and torture her. Later, in the rat’s hole, she sees a scroll of toilet paper that turns out to be a letter from a former prisoner named Valerie.

Chapter 11: Valerie

Evey reads Valerie’s letter and learns about her background. Valerie came out as a lesbian when she was young and was consequently shunned by her family. After attending drama college, she became an actress, and while starring in the film Salt Flats, she met her partner, Ruth. Ruth often brought Valerie roses, and the couple was happy together. But in 1992, the postwar Norsefire regime rounded up gay people, including Ruth, who gave up Valerie’s name while being tortured. Valerie’s letter speaks of the horrors of prison and persecution, but people, she wrote, can preserve their freedom by maintaining their integrity. Recalling the letter’s message, Evey refuses to sign a statement saying she was brainwashed by V and participated in his killings. 

Chapter 12: The Verdict

Evey is told that if she doesn’t sign the paper, she’ll be shot and killed. When she chooses death, she’s told there’s nothing left to threaten her with and that she’s free. She leaves her cell and walks through prison hallways that eventually lead to the Shadow Gallery and V.

Chapter 13: Values

An emaciated, frantic Evey concludes that V has somehow simulated her entire imprisonment. When Evey demands that V explain why, he tells her it’s because he loves her and wants to set her free. He says that everyone in their oppressive, fascist society, including Evey, her parents, and Gordon, has always been imprisoned. He adds that because Evey refused to sacrifice her principles, even when threatened with death, she’s now free. V then leads Evey to the roof. Bald and naked, she stands in the rain as V tells her to become “transfixed” and “transfigured.” 

Chapter 14: Vignettes

Evey kisses V while he sits at the piano in the Shadow Gallery. V assures her that Valerie was real and that she wrote her letter while imprisoned in room IV at Larkhill Resettlement Camp. At the Kitty-Kat Keller, Rose reluctantly continues her new job as a cabaret dancer. Leader Susan screams when he receives a note on Fate’s screen reading, “I LOVE YOU.” V later tells Evey to prepare herself for an impending finale.

Book Three: The Land of Do-As-You-Please

Prologue

Book Three’s prologue begins on November 5, 1998, precisely one year after Book One’s opening. V tells Evey that the end of their story is near and has already been decided. He later blows up critical state infrastructure and shuts down surveillance systems. Speaking as The Voice of Fate, he tells London’s citizens that they won’t be watched or listened to for three days and they are free to do what they want. Leader Susan falters mentally and looks to Fate’s supercomputer for love, as if it were a person. 

Chapter 1: Vox Populi

London’s streets are consumed with chaos. Susan orders looters to be shot. V tells Evey that this stage, Verwirrung, will ultimately lead to one of voluntary order, or Ordnung, and true anarchy, a condition without leaders. 

Chapter 2: Verwirrung

Susan watches the chaos unfold on Fate’s screens, including a hanging and cruel treatment of Asian women. V tells Evey that authoritarian power is fragile and, without freedom and liberty, cannot last. Helen Heyer plots to have her husband, Conrad, take over as Leader so she can run the government from behind the scenes.

Chapter 3: Various Valentines

Peter Creedy meets with crime boss Alistair Harper, who is now employed to provide extra muscle for the state. Helen Heyer later meets secretly with Harper, offering him more money to double-cross Creedy and work for her. Still a burlesque dancer, Rosemary Almond thinks about her life with her husband, Derek, and recalls that they did nothing to intervene when the government took away their neighbor, Mrs. Rana, and her children, presumably to be killed. Susan realizes that V is now controlling Fate’s supercomputer and causing blackouts and food riots. 

Chapter 4: Vestiges

After traveling to the now-closed Larkhill Resettlement Camp, Finch takes LSD to try and understand V’s mind and solve the case. He sees the camp’s ovens and has terrible visions of dismembered bodies on barbed wire, followed by uplifting visions of people of all colors and sexual orientations. Finch now sees that their diversity was beautiful, laments how they were treated, and wants them to know he loves them. In Finch’s hallucinations, Dr. Surridge, Bishop Lilliman, and Lewis Prothero imprison him in cell V. Finch soon realizes that he’s always imprisoned himself, however, and escapes and celebrates his newfound freedom from all the state’s lies.

Chapter 5: The Valediction

V shows Evey more of the Shadow Gallery, including a room containing monitors that are still connected to the state’s surveillance cameras, and explains how his plot’s destructive phase will soon give rise to a creation phase. 

Chapter 6: The Vectors

Helen Heyer has sex with Alistair Harper in the Heyers’ home, believing that the state’s surveillance camera there is disconnected. Finch leaves Larkhill in search of V, following a path to Victory Station that leads to London’s underground train network. 

Chapter 7: Vindication

Finch encounters V in the subway tunnel and shoots him, mortally wounding him. Before V slips away, he tells Finch that he can’t kill the idea that V represents. At a government parade, Rosemary Almond shoots and kills Leader Susan.

Chapter 8: Vultures

Conrad Heyer receives a video from V showing Helen’s betrayal with Harper. At Helen Heyer’s request, Harper kills Peter Creedy, now the Emergency Commander, as a broadcast informs London that the terrorist insurrection is over. V, bleeding profusely, returns to Evey and tells her the people’s new task is to rule themselves. As V dies in Evey’s arms, he tells Evey he loves her and gives her an enigmatic mission to simultaneously discover whose face was behind his mask but to never know his face.

Chapter 9: The Vigil

Evey considers V’s final words and again wonders if he might have been her father. After she ultimately decides to unmask him, she looks at herself in the mirror and feels she knows “who V must be.” 

Chapter 10: The Volcano

Conard Heyer and Alistair Harper fight in the Heyers’ home. Harper dies but seriously wounds Conrad, who begs Helen to call a doctor. Instead, enraged that her plan to install Conrad as her puppet dictator has failed, Helen plugs their bedroom’s camera into their TV so Conrad can watch himself die. As crowds continue to riot in London, Evey, now dressed in V’s attire, appears on a rooftop. She tells citizens that they can now choose freedom over chains. 

Chapter 11: Valhalla

To honor V’s wish, Evey puts his corpse in an underground train car loaded with explosive fertilizer that blows up Downing Street above. In the Shadow Gallery, Evey cares for a man who was injured in the riots and who will presumably become her protégé. Finch encounters a desperate and now-homeless Helen Heyer, who pleads with him to combine forces to restore order. He refuses, and sets off alone down a darkened roadway leading to Hatfield and the North.