1632 (1632 Series)

1632 (1632 Series)

by Eric Flint

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Overview

FREEDOM AND JUSTICE — AMERICAN STYLE

1632 And in northern Germany things couldn't get much worse. Famine. Disease. Religous war laying waste the cities. Only the aristocrats remained relatively unscathed; for the peasants, death was a mercy.
2000 Things are going OK in Grantville, West Virginia, and everybody attending the wedding of Mike Stearn's sister (including the entire local chapter of the United Mine Workers of America, which Mike leads) is having a good time.
THEN, EVERYTHING CHANGED....
When the dust settles, Mike leads a group of armed miners to find out what happened and finds the road into town is cut, as with a sword. On the other side, a scene out of Hell: a man nailed to a farmhouse door, his wife and daughter attacked by men in steel vests. Faced with this, Mike and his friends don't have to ask who to shoot. At that moment Freedom and Justice, American style, are introduced to the middle of the Thirty Years' War.

Comprehensive Teacher's Guide available.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671319724
Publisher: Baen
Publication date: 02/01/2001
Series: Ring of Fire Series
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 94,403
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Eric Flint is a modern master of alternate-history fiction, with more than three million books in print. He is the author and creator of the bestselling 1632 series, also known as the 1632-verse or Ring of Fire series. With David Drake, he has written six popular novels in the Belasarius alternate Roman history series. With David Weber, he has collaborated on 1633 and 1634: The Baltic War.

Read an Excerpt



Chapter One


"I'm sorry about my parents, Mike." Tom gave the two people in question a look of resentment. "I'd hoped—" He broke off, sighing faintly. "I'm sorry, I really am. You spent a lot of money on all this."

    Mike Stearns followed his gaze. Tom Simpson's mother and father were standing near the far wall of the cafeteria, some fifty feet away. Their postures were stiff; their faces, sour. Their very expensive clothing was worn like suits of armor. They were holding the cups of punch in their hands by thumb and forefinger, as if determined to make as little contact with the surrounding festivities as possible.

    Mike repressed a smile. Ah, yes. The dignitaries from civilization, maintaining their savoir faire among the cannibals. They'll hold a cup of blood, but damned if they'll drink it.

    "Don't worry about it, Tom," he said softly. Mike's eyes moved away from the haughty couple against the wall and surveyed the crowd. The gaze was filled with satisfaction.

    The cafeteria was a very large room. The utilitarian gray and cream walls had been festooned with an abundance of decorations, which made up in cheerfulness and festive abandon whatever they lacked in subdued good taste. Many of the cafeteria's plastic chairs had been moved against the walls, providing a bright orange contrast—those few of them that were not holding someone. Long tables ranged near the kitchen were laden with food and drink.

    There was no caviar, and no champagne. But the crowd which packed the room wouldn't have enjoyed thefirst—fish eggs, yuk!—and the second was prohibited by high-school regulations. Mike was not concerned. He knew his folk. They would enjoy the simple fare which was piled on the tables, thank you, even if it was beneath the contempt of wealthy urban sophisticates. That was true of the adults, even, much less the horde of children swarming all over the place.

    Mike gave the younger man standing at his side a little pat on the shoulder. It was like patting a slab of beef. Tom was the first-string nose guard for West Virginia University's varsity squad, and looked the part. "My sister married you, not your parents."

    Tom scowled. "Doesn't matter. They could at least—Why did they even bother to show up at my wedding, if they were going to act like this?"

    Mike glanced at him. For all Tom's immense size, Mike didn't have to look up. Tom was barely over six feet tall, about Mike's own height, even if he outweighed him by a good hundred pounds.

    Tom was back to glaring at his parents. His own face was as stiff as theirs. Unobserved, Mike studied his new brother-in-law.

    Very new brother-in-law. The wedding had been held not two hours earlier, in a small church less than a mile away from the high school. Tom's parents had been just as haughtily rude at the church as they were being now at the reception. Their son should have been married in a properly discreet ceremony in a proper Episcopalian cathedral, not—not—

    This yahoo preacher! In this yahoo—shack!

    Mike and his sister had abandoned the stark faith of their ancestors in favor of quiet agnosticism. Years ago, in Mike's case. But neither of them had even once considered having Rita married anywhere else. The pastor was a friend of the family, as his father and grandfather had been before him. The Calvinist fundamentalism of the ceremony had bothered them not in the least. Mike choked down a laugh. If nothing else, it had been worth it just to see the way the pastor's fire and brimstone had caused obvious constipation in Tom's sophisticated parents.

    His humor faded quickly. Mike could sense the pain lurking within Tom's eyes. An old pain, he thought. The dull, never-ending ache of a man whose father had disapproved of him since he was a smallboy.

    Tom had been born into one of the wealthiest families in Pittsburgh. His mother was old Eastern money. His father, John Chandler Simpson, was the chief executive officer of a large petrochemical corporation. John Simpson liked to brag about having worked his way up from the ranks. The boast was typical of the man. Yes, he had spent a total of six months on the shop floor, as a foreman, after he retired from the Navy's officer corps. The fact that his father owned the company, however, is what accounted for his later advancement. John Chandler Simpson had fully expected his own son to follow in those well-worn footsteps.

    But Tom had never fit his family's mold and expectations. Not when he had been a boy, and not now when he was of age. Mike knew that John Chandler had been furious when his son chose WVU over Carnegie-Mellon—especially given the reason. Football? You're not even a quarterback! And both his parents had been well-nigh apoplectic at their son's choice for a wife.

    Mike's eyes scanned the room, until they fell on a figure in a wedding dress, laughing at something being said by the young woman at her side. His sister, Rita, sharing quips with one of her bridesmaids.

    The contrast between the two girls was striking. The bridesmaid, Sharon, was attractive in a slightly heavy and buxom sort of way. She was very dark complected, even for a black woman. Tom's sister was also pretty, but so slender that she bordered on being downright skinny. And her complexion—very pale skin, freckles, blue eyes, hair almost as black as her brother's—betrayed her own ethnic origins. Typical Appalachian mongrel. The daughter and sister of coal miners.

    Poor white trash. Yup. That's what we are, all right.

    There was no anger in Mike's thought. Only contempt for Tom's parents, and pity for Tom himself. Mike's father had a high school education. Jack Stearns had worked in a coal mine since he was eighteen, and had never been able to afford more than a modest house. He had hoped to help his children through college. But the mine roof-fall which crippled him and eventually caused his death had put paid to those plans.

    The quintessential nobody. On the day he finally died, Mike had been like a stunned ox. Years later, he could still feel the aching place in his heart where a giant had once lived.

    "Let it go, Tom," he said softly. "Just let it go. If it's worth anything, your brother-in-law approves of you."

    Tom puffed out his cheeks, and slowly blew out the breath. "It is. Quite a bit."

    Abruptly, he shook his head, as if to clear his mind for other concerns. He turned to face Mike squarely.

    "Give it to me straight, Mike. I'm graduating in a few months. I've got to make a decision. Do you think I'm good enough to make it in the pros?"

    Mike's reply came instant and firm. "Nope." He shook his head ruefully. "Take it from me, buddy. You'll be right where I was—the worst possible place. Almost good enough. Good enough to keep hoping, but ..."

    Tom frowned, still hoping. "You made it. In a way. Hell, you retired undefeated."

    Mike chuckled. "Sure did. After all of eight professional fights as a light heavy." He reached up and stroked the little scar on his left eyebrow. "My last fight I even made it to the second card at the Olympic Auditorium. Pretty big time."

    The chuckle came again—more of an outright laugh. "Too big! I won—barely—on points. The kid demanded a rematch. And that's when I finally had enough sense to quit. A man's got to know his limitations."

    Tom was still frowning. Still hoping. Mike placed a hand on his thick arm. "Tom, face it. You'll get no farther than I did. Realizing that you only beat the kid in front of you because you were a little more experienced, a little savvier, a little luckier." He winced, remembering a young Mexican boxer whose speed and power had been well-nigh terrifying. "But that kid'll learn, soon enough. And the fact is that he's a lot better than you'll ever be. So I quit, before my brains got scrambled. You should do the same, while you've still got healthy knees."

    Again, Tom puffed out his cheeks and, again, blew out a slow breath. He seemed on the verge of saying something, but a motion caught his eye. His brand-new wife was approaching, with people in tow.

    Tom was suddenly beaming like a child. Watching that glowing smile, Mike felt his own heart warming.

    Hell of a sweet kid, to come from such cruddy parents.

    Rita arrived with her usual thermonuclear energy. She started by embracing her new husband in a manner that was wildly inappropriate in a high-school cafeteria—springing onto him and wrapping both legs around his thighs. Wedding dress be damned. A fierce and decidedly unvirginal kiss accompanied the semi-lascivious embrace. Then, bouncing off, she gave Mike a hug which, though it lacked the sexual overtones, was almost as vigorous.

    The preliminaries done, Rita spun around and waved forward the two people lagging behind her. Outside of the accompanying grin, the gesture resembled an empress summoning her lackeys.

    Sharon was grinning herself. The man next to her wore a more subdued smile. He was a black man somewhere in his fifties, dressed in a very expensive looking suit. The conservative, hand-tailored clothing fit the man perfectly, but seemed at odds with the smile on his face. There was something a bit rakish about that smile, Mike thought. And he suspected, from the man's poised stance, that the body beneath the suit was far more athletic than its sober cut would suggest.

    "Mike, this is Sharon's father. I want to introduce you." She reached back, more or less hauled the parent in question to the fore, and moved her hand back and forth vigorously. "My brother, Mike Stearns. Doctor James Nichols. Be very polite, brother of mine. He's a surgeon. Probably got four or five scalpels tucked away somewhere."

    An instant later she was charging off, hauling Tom and Sharon toward a cluster of people chattering away in a corner of the cafeteria. Mike and Dr. Nichols were left alone.

    Mike eyed the stranger, unsure of how to open a conversation. He opted for low humor. "My new brother-in-law's in for a long night" he said dryly. "If I know my sister."

    The doctor's smile widened. The hint of rakishness deepened. "I would say so," he drawled. "Is she always this energetic?"

    Mike shook his head fondly. "Since she was a toddler."

    Having broken the ice, Mike took the time to examine the man next to him more carefully. Within a few seconds, he decided his initial impression was correct. Sharon's father was a study in contradictions. His skin was very dark, almost pure black. His hair was gray, kinky, cut very short. His features were blunt and rough-looking—the kind of face associated more with a longshoreman than a doctor. Yet he wore his fine clothing with ease, and the two rings on his fingers were simple in design and very tasteful. One was a plain wedding band, the other a subdued pinky ring. His diction was cultured, but the accent came from city streets. Then—

    James Nichols was not a big man. No more than five feet, eight inches tall and not particularly stocky. Yet he seemed to exude a certain physical presence. A quick glance at the doctor's hands confirmed Mike's guess. The faint scars on those outsized hands had not come from working in the medical profession.

    Nichols was returning Mike's examination with one of his own. There seemed to be a little twinkle in his eyes. Mike guessed that he would like the man, and decided to probe the possibility.

    "So, Doc. Did the judge give you a choice? Between the Army and the Marines, I mean."

    Nichols snorted. There was a twinkle in his eyes. "Not hardly! 'Marines for you, Nichols.'"

    Mike shook his head. "You poor bastard. He let me pick. Since I wasn't crazy, I took the Army. I wanted no part of Parris Island."

    Nichols grinned. "Well ... You were probably just up for assault and battery, I imagine. One brawl too many." He took Mike's smile for an answer. His own headshake was rueful. "They couldn't prove it, since I fumbled the thing like a Laurel and Hardy routine, but the authorities had their dark suspicions. So the judge was hard as stone. 'Marines, Nichols. I'm sick and tired o' you. Either that or six years downstate.'"

    The doctor shrugged. "I admit, that judge probably saved my life." His expression became filled with mock outrage. The accent thickened. "But I still say it ain't armed robbery when the dumb kid drops the gun on the way into the liquor store and gets caught running five blocks away. Hell, who knows? Maybe he was just looking for its rightful owner. Not realizing, the poor cherub, that it was a stolen piece."

    Mike burst into laughter. When his eyes met those of Nichols again, the silent exchange between them was warm and approving. The way two men, meeting for the first time, occasionally take an instant liking to each other.

    Mike glanced toward his new in-laws. He was not surprised to see that his riotous gaiety had drawn their disapproving eyes. He met their stern frowns with a smile whose politeness barely covered the underlying mockery.

    Yeah, that's right, you rich farts. Two scapegraces, right before your eyes. As close to outright ex-cons as you can get. Heavens!

    Nichols' voice broke into Mike's silent test of wills with the Simpsons.

    "So you're the famous brother," the doctor murmured.

    Startled, Mike's eyes left the Simpsons. "I wasn't aware that I was famous," he protested.

    Nichols shrugged, smiling. "Depends on the circle, I imagine. From what I can tell, listening to them gabble over the last couple of days, every one of your sister's college friends has a crush on you. You're quite a romantic figure, you know"

    Again, Mike was startled. And, again, it must have showed on his face.

    "Oh, come on, Mike!" snorted Nichols. "You're still in your mid-thirties, and look younger than that. Tall, handsome—well, handsome enough. But, most of all, you've got that glamorous history."

    "Glamorous?" choked Mike. "Are you nuts?"

    Nichols was grinning, now. "Give me a break. You can't fool me." He made a little sweeping gesture with his hands, indicating himself. "What do you see here? A very prosperous-looking black man in his mid-fifties, right?" His dark eyes glinted with humor and knowledge. "And what else?"

    Mike eyed him. "A—let's call it a history. You weren't always a proper doctor."

    "Certainly wasn't! And don't think, when I was your age, that I didn't take full advantage of it." Nichols' wide grin changed to a gentle smile. "You're a classic, Mike. It's that old tale which always tugs at sentiment. The reckless and dashing black sheep of the family, leaving town before the law could nail him. An adventurous lad. Soldier, longshoreman, truck driver, professional boxer. Disreputable roustabout, even if he did manage to tuck away three years in college. Then—"

    The smile faded away completely. "And then, when your father was crippled, you came back to take care of your family. And did as good a job of that as you'd done scaring them to death earlier. Quite respectable, now. Even managed to get yourself elected president of your local miners' union a couple of years back."

    Mike snorted. "I can see Rita's been telling tales." He started looking for his sister, ready to glare at her, when his eyes fell on the Simpsons. They were still frowning at him, so he bestowed the glare on them.

    "See?" he demanded. "My new in-laws don't seem to feel any 'romantic attraction' Me—respectable? Ha!"

    Nichols' own gaze followed Mike's. "Well ... 'Respectable' in an Appalachian sort of way. Don't think Mr. Blueblood over there is mollified that his new daughter-in-law's brother is a stone-hard union man as well as a damned hillbilly. Not hardly."

    The Simpsons were still maintaining the stare. Mike was matching it, and adding a grin to the bargain. The grin was purely feral. A sheer, brazen, unyielding challenge.


    Nichols would remember that savage grin, in the years to come. Remember it, and be thankful.

    The Ring of Fire came, and they entered a new and very savage world.

What People are Saying About This

David Drake

American Democracy comes with a sword in her hand to 17th century Germany. A rich and complex alternate history with great characters and vivid action. A great read and an excellent book.

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1632 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
m_lacy-whitten More than 1 year ago
Little did I know that a visit to IHOP would lead me to the most entertaining book I've read in a long time. My waitress commented on the book I was reading that day and we exchanged favorite authors. She highly recommended this book. The premise of an entire modern day town being mysteriously transported through time to 1632 Germany is brilliant because, right off the bat, you have the anticipation of more books to come. Not being well-versed in European history, I was able to sit back and enjoy the story without being aware of possible inaccuracies. The romantic hook-ups between characters are pretty obvious, but add to the story rather than distract. The book is fast-paced, but has several good stopping points, which worked out well for my one-hour lunchtime reading breaks. The idea of starting up a new United States with a local United Mine Workers group in charge was an unexpected stroke of genius. Having average U.S. citizens forming a new country based on our Constitution will make you proud of American history and wonder if it's possible to make government work better this time around. The author handled the integrating of modern technology into a Dark Ages society very adeptly. Don't assume, like I did, that 21st century folks are immensely smarter than those of 400 years ago. The book has a "green" element as Flint takes advantage of the scarcity of resources in his time-transported New U.S. to passively advocate for a planned scaling back (or de-evolving) of technology. He makes back to the basics seem like the only way to survive. The book ended far too soon, but I am looking forward to "1633!" Even if you're not a sci-fi fan, take a chance on this book. It doesn't have any alien technology or scientific principles that confuse, but it does offer a unique way of co-mingling past and present.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Because this novel was intended to be a stand-alone work, it is very satisfying in and of itself. Another plus to this fact is there is no pressure to read the other works in the series immediately, to reach the story's resolution. Reading the subsequent novels can happen at the pace which best suits each reader. It's the best of both worlds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vivid descriptions - of battles uncomfortably so. Believable characters, both fictional and historical.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's not very believable in the sense that neither the 20th century Americans nor the 17th century Europeans seems to experience much culture shock at being mixed into the others' cultures. Still, it's a quick and pleasant military science fiction book.
tcgardner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am not a huge Alt. Hist. fan but I really loved this book.Due to some artistry gone bad, extraterrestrials have moved a piece of West Virginia to 1633 central/north Germany right in the middle of the 30 years war.Well written. The characters were great and the action satisfying. I'd recommend to anyone.
AmberA77 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A small mining town in West Virgina, Grantville, is picked up and thrown back to the time of the 100 Years War in Europe. What I find most enjoyable about this book is the focus on the individual characters. Although it does discuss the political landscape of Europe, it mostly follows individual people and how they deal with the problems they now face.There is Rebecca and her father who, at the beginning of the novel, are being chased by soldiers planning to kill them and worse because they are jewish. Their reaction at being saved and taken into Grantville, where there are jewish people living, is very touching.There is Mike Stearns, a man who left Grantville when he was younger, but who has now returned and is the head of the miner's union. He reluctantly takes charge of the situation because the miners are the only large group of organized people.There are these characters and more, and it is fascinating to see what decisions they make, and also to see the people and places that we know from history mentioned along the way.
EileenWYSIWYG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book irked me - it just seemed contrived and the juxtaposition of West Virginia and Europe just didn't mesh for me. I like fantasy. I like historical fiction. I did not like this book.
usnmm2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not a bad story overall. Once you accept the premise that the towns people will stay calm and be willing to slaughter roving bands of mercenaries, take in refugees of the Thirty Years War. And those people don't panic and adapt to the 21 st Century. Some of the plot twists are a little far fetched, but overall I enjoyed the bookWhat made the book good is that Eric Flint stared out started as a history major. So he has a good grasp on the real history and can incorporate it into the story without boring the reader.
Mendoza on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
OK - the author is not the best one out there - but he sure writes a fun novel. I like some of the trashiness/rawness of the characters and I especially liked some of the minute details of the towns people adjusting to the time period and lack of modern conveniences.I really enjoy his stories - although I could do with a little less military stuff.
ClytieS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an extremely well-executed answer to "What if something sent a whole town back to the 1600s?" It begins a gripping, realistic and intriguing series. Does it bug you when authors get their details wrong? Eric Flint gets them right. Enjoy the challenges and ingenious solutions, and come face to face with history in a modern context. (Baen offers this book and its successor "1633" in their Free Library: you don't get a teaser, you get the whole text.)
daschaich on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fun Alternate History: Eric Flint's "1632" begins with the small mining town of Grantville being ripped from modern-day West Virginia and dropped in the middle of Germany, in the year 1631. 'How?' you ask? Who cares? Flint gives some far-future science fiction explanation. Most of the town's residents conclude that the 'Ring of Fire' is simply an Act of God.But the question of how Grantville comes to seventeenth century Germany is not important. All that matters is what happens once the heavily armed town finds itself thirteen years into the Thirty Years' War, one of the most destructive religious conflicts in the history of Europe. Surrounded on all sides by hostile countries and marauding armies, mere survival is the town's chief concern. Grantville's modern weapons might be - barely - sufficient to hold off the ragtag bands of looters and mercenaries roaming the countryside. But if one of the major powers striving for supremacy over Central Europe decides to crush the town, Grantville will not be able to resist them on its own.So the residents of Grantville decide to fight fire with fire and kick off the American Revolution a century and a half ahead of schedule. Grantville's only hope of survival lies in finding allies willing to tolerate democracy and religious pluralism, while at the same time recruiting those of their new neighbors who are sick and tired of being slaughtered by their aristocrats or for their religion. The early seventeenth century, with (on the one hand) feudalism and religion discredited by bloody warfare, persecution and oppression and (on the other) modern theories of representative government and rule of law just beginning to rear their heads, offers the slim possibility that Grantville will be able to pull through.All this makes for a fast-paced and highly entertaining story. Flint, before this book best known for military science fiction, spends a lot of time on battle scenes, but still tries to focus on the power of ideas and ordinary people to change the world. Character development is better than normal for the genre, though still not great. Some characters, especially the sinister industrialist Tom Simpson, remain one-dimensional. Flint, who got a Master's Degree in African history before spurning the ivory tower to go into union organizing, often interrupts the narrative with brief history lessons, which I personally found interesting.Although "1632" was originally written as a stand-alone novel, it was so popular that Flint was convinced to expand the story into a full-blown alternate history series, which continues in "1633" (coauthored with David Weber) and the "Ring of Fire" anthology. This means that even though there are more volumes for those who enjoy "1632," this book still comes to a satisfying conclusion and can be read on its own, without commitment to the larger series. Those who are still uncertain should know that Baen offers the book for free on its Web site, so the curious can check it out. There's really no reason not to.
ServusLibri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting piece of alternative history, yet still a fairly well crafted story. The other books available in the series add to its value, this is the 'start here' book.The plot is based on one science fiction option, aliens displace a West Virginia mining and rural town of 2000 into the Thirty Years War west central Europe. The comparison on modern with 17th century technology, politics, religion, and attitudes is fascinating and makes up for any shortcomings (few) in plot or character development.
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read for the 99th time...I had a hard time getting into it at the beginning, precisely because I knew it so well. It was like telling myself the story rather than living it. But Eric eventually drew me in, as always. I find this book, and to some extent 1633, better than the later books in the series - in this one, they are more often coming up against actual events of the previous timeline (like Gustav's battles, and the one he would have died in). So what did happen at Nurnberg, without American help? My usual questions after reading an alternate history book...but I never go to find the answers...
Teramis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love alternate histories, have a great interest in the 30 Years War and all things German. Modern man displaced in time is also an engaging theme to me. This book, however, that promises these things and engages with all of these topicss, fell unfortunately short of the mark. Perhaps it is the readiness of the transported Americans to pick sides in their very first encounters with local violence, and the feeble rationale ofered for why their side is "right" and the other wrong. It chances that they catch one faction's militia brutalizing innocent civilians, and thus leap to the side of the innocent. But what about the same brutalization by the opposing side, which (historically, we know) was also going on at the same time? Such actions are out of sight and out of mind, in this book. They are not portrayed or considered. It is a convenient if clumsy literary device that creates polarization, sides and "conflict' from early on in the book. Effective for that purpose, but jarring from the pov of an historically knowledgeable reader.Perhaps it is the lack of more significant social and personal shock on the part of the transportees. The crisis of being transposed elsewhere in time seems a bit too readily resolved; there is no collapse of the social fabric, nor does it seem to threaten under the super-manly Leadership presented by our modest Hero/s who step to the fore. There is also the eery readiness of the 17th century locals to accept clothes, mores, and technology three centuries apart from their own. And of course there is the gun-toting, marshal-on-the-frontiers "cowboy" mentality transported out of place and time that strikes a dissonant note. I am actually rather fond of the cowboy mentality in its appropriate place; in the last decade in particular, however, this hallmark of American thinking has become iconic for American brashness in the world at large. It is a cultural attitude echoed in this book.Perversely, Flint does a good enough job of pure storytelling that in spite of all the drawbacks I was curious enough to keep turning the page to find out what happened next. But because of those drawbacks, was put-off enough by the general tone of the story to *not go ahead and buy the rest of the series, as I had originally planned to do in a mad dash of impulse buying. If you want good alternate history, try Harry Turtledove instead.
mikewick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hate to admit it, but I couldn't force myself to finish the last 100 pages of this sci-fi historical reimagining. What would happen if a parcel of West Virginia and its inhabitants were plopped in the middle of Germany during the Thirty Year's War? Well, according to Eric Flint two things would happen: first, the W. Virginians would shoot a whole lot of the local people; second, they'd also marry a whole lot of them. It happened this way four of five times before I gave up.
morriss003 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
1632 is one of Flint's best works. His theme that a community in trouble must not let go of their values is inspiring. His concept of a down to earth, West Virginia town, transported back in time to Thuringia, Germany is entertaining, humorous and exciting. A few of his characters suffer from being two dimensional, but his collaboration with David Weber in 1633 corrects that. If you are into optimism, you will not be disappointed.
socialchild on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What if a sphere, 6 miles in diameter, that included a small town in the hills of 21st century West Virginia was somehow transported to 17th Century Germany? How would modern American attitudes, technology, and values--especially the parts about all men are created equal, freedom of religion, and separation of Church and State--go over a 17th century Europe engulfed in the wars of the Reformation, the Holy Inquisition, and the Spanish Inquisition?1632 is Eric Flint's answer to this question. And it's very hard to put down. Rich detail of both the 21st century and the 17th century are woven together to make a wonderful, optimistic story. The pace is fast and if the main characters are a little too good, a little too noble, they are richly drawn and hold the readers attention. The plot is (from my own American point of view) perfectly plausible, and the leader of the American community embodies what we think we should be.It's not a perfect SF or Alt History novel, the good guys are a little too good, and the bad guys are a little too bad; the heroism is a little to heroic and the villainy is a little too villainous. In Bahktinian reads more like an epic than a novel. And there is one storytelling technique that Flint likes to use that gets on my nerves--often times the narrator and everyone in the story knows what a character is thinking or planning and the characters react to that knowledge while the reader is left in the dark. The first few times I encountered this, I had to go back and re-read a page or two to see if I missed something. Fortunately, Flint resolves the situation fairly quickly, but it makes at least this reader feel a little foolish.Overall, I give the book 4.5 stars, and I'd recommend it to SF, Alt. History, and 17th century European History buffs. I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
whiteknight50 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an enjoyable book, well written and full of action. An enjoyable read for those who like alternate history combined with military action.
dswaddell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very deep and engrossing book about a modern West Virginia coal town which is transported back to 1632.
jlparent on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Yet another book that has all the elements (alternative history, time travel, a fantasy bent) I usually like but that doesn't quite pull them together. Parts were interesting but honestly, I skimmed so much of it because I was bored. Next!
MarysGirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An alternate history. From the back:"1632. And in northern Germany things couldn't get much worse. Famine. Disease. Religious war laying waste the cities. Only the aristocrats remained relatively unscathed; for the peasants, death was a mercy.2000. Things are going OK in Grantville, West Virginia and everybody attending the wedding of Mike Stearn's sister (including the entire local chapter of the United Mine Workers of America which Mike leads) is having a good time.THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED...When the dust settles, Mike leads a group of armed miners to find out what happened and finds the road into the town is cut, as with a sword. On the other side, a scene out of Hell: a man nailed to a farmhouse door, his wife and daughter attacked by men in steel vests. Faced with this, Mike and his friends don't have to ask who to shoot. At that moment Freedom and Justice, American style, are introduced to the middle of the Thirty Year's War."My review:A gripping action tale, kept me intrigued. The history is well-researched and an integral part of the story. My main beef is with the characters. As is typical of this kind of book, the good guys are very very good and the bad guys are very very bad. There seems to be little depth. But it doesn't affect the plot driven story much. You just go with the flow and enjoy the flag waving.
jediphil683 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Flint's not the world's strongest writer, but he certainly isn't among the weakest. Like Lethem, I think he lets his idea carry him (and his breadth of knowledge about the 30 Years' War) more than he should, but again, it's a good idea. His characterization is excellent, and since he got me to care, I happily came along for the ride.I'm still not sure how I feel about establishing the USA (in name and practice) in an alternate time, though. Feels a bit too easy to me.
barbgarcia1987 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really like this book and the series it started.
MSWallack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Every now and then a new series really grabs me and Eric Flint's 1632 (Ring of Fire) certainly did so. The setup is simple: A small mining town from West Virginia (circa 1999) is snatched out of time and space (don't worry about why or how, it doesn't matter) and dropped into the middle of Germany in 1631 in the middle of the Thirty Years War (one of the bloodiest conflicts ever). How will the Americans cope with their new surroundings and situation? How will the neighboring Germans cope with these new republicans and their strange machines and strangerer beliefs (freedom of religion?!). How will the rest of Europe respond and how will these events change history. A great idea, well told. Bravo. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series.