Welcome to Episode 3 of my 1632 Read-Through, my venture to read, and review, all of the major books (and many of the ancillary ones) in Eric Flint’s shared “Ring of Fire” universe. In Episode 1, I started off by reading 1632, the book that launched it all. In Episode 2, I discussed strategy, i.e. – how the heck can we tackle such a large and sprawling series in a way that’s…well…enjoyable.
My solution is to read one book a month, in the order that I worked out in the last episode. That way, I get to enjoy reading the series without risking burn-out. I also decided that I’d try reading one ancillary story, usually published by Ring of Fire Press (RFP). For this month, I read 1633, by Eric Flint and David Weber. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to read an ancillary story this month.
1633 is the second book in the series, published in 2002 (in hardcover). The town of Grantville, ably led by Mike Stearns, has survived its first year despite a harrowing battle at the end of the previous book. But Grantville has been noticed by the powers that be, from the German nobles effectively eclipsed by the town’s growing influence to the dangerous leaders of other nations.
Even worse, a ripple effect has begun as outsiders get their hands on some of Grantville’s history books and decide to change historical events more to their liking. Alliances shift, war looms on the horizon, and Grantville’s continued existence is threatened by political developments around the world.
It’s an excellent book, though it starts a little slowly before building to a grand climax. It successfully widens the scope of the series from just being about Grantville and its impact on the slogging Thirty Years War in Germany, to its impact on the world. The book also does a great job of introducing political players from around the globe, giving them motivations that make sense based on their perceptions of the events influenced by Grantville and its unintended time travelers. Along the way, we continue to follow a whole cast of characters from the previous book, as well as new ones. And we get to see the formation of Grantville’s navy.
I also think David Weber was a brilliant choice for co-author. By 2002, Weber had written nine books in his own sprawling Honor Harrington military SF series. He’d proven that he could handle a vast canvas with complicated politics and plausible military campaigns. That same scope and complexity was clearly what Eric Flint was aiming for with the 1632 series.
The first book was a top-notch introduction to the series. But, this is the book that opened up the world and laid much of the foundation for later books.
Recommended, of course.