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Book Note: Eric Flint, 1634: The Baltic War

I read this book about 13-Aug-2018. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2013. This note was last modified Friday, 17-Aug-2018 19:19:15 PDT.

This is book 3 of the "Ring of Fire" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


By Eric Flint and David Weber.

I enjoyed the first, not so much the second, and stumbled into reading the third. These are so plot-driven that characters don't get their due; not enough screen time, and not enough room to be themselves since they have to conform to the plots. The plots are less tied to history every year, of course, since history is diverging rapidly.

We've gotten up to internal-combustion ironclads that laugh at 42-pounder shot, and shoot 10-inch explosive shells from rifled muzzle-loading guns. They're hell on 17th century fortifications, which is their main purpose (the "timber clad" steam powered stern-wheelers actually have more firepower for dealing with sailing ships, and 48 inches of oak is enough for that; I guess you could get that much oak in 1632).

Hell, they've got a few locally-built airplanes!

The downtimers are doing their own research and reading the books that have been republished across Europe, and building diving suits (without a check valve, a grisly but fast way to carry out an execution), spar torpedoes, floating mines, and various other nasties.

And everybody is intermarrying enthusiastically.

There are something like five books on 1634; busy year! The English embassy escapes from the Tower of London (and takes Oliver Cromwell, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and most of the warders with them), blows up much of the Tower and a good chunk of London Bridge, and makes their escape. We have the lifting of the big siege, and a cavalry raid on their oil field, and Cardinal Richelieu ending up in quite a bit of trouble. And Peter Paul Rubens starts painting again (though the first new picture must be kept secret for a long time).

And the ongoing, strong undercurrent of changing society so it works for people willing to work, not just the nobility (one of the defining points of this series in the first book is that the executive committee of the union of the coal mine employees is meeting in Grantville when it gets thrown back through time, giving them a lot more high-powered political people than they would normally have).

We also have some amusing up-timer outrage at blowing up historic monuments like the Tower of London.

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