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1634: The Baltic War (Ring of Fire) Hardcover – May 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The exciting eighth entry in the Ring of Fire saga, about a temporally displaced West Virginia mining town and its impact upon 17th-century Europe, neatly wraps up two plot threads left unresolved by Flint and Weber's 1633 (2002). A mission is mounted to rescue the Grantville diplomatic mission that Charles I is holding captive in the Tower of London (along with an obscure politician named Oliver Cromwell), while Admiral Simpson's fleet of ironclad warships sets off to break the siege of Luebeck in a spectacular display of "shock and awe." While the technology that the modern Americans employ is decidedly useful, Flint and Weber emphasize the effect that the ideas of liberty, equality and the rule of law have, and not just on the peasantry and middle classes. The authors contrast those princes who try to forestall the judgment of history with those striving to achieve a transition from absolutism to democracy without bloodshed. Readers will eagerly look forward to further installments in this richly imagined alternate history series. (May)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Call it 1632, or call it Ring of Fire, the alternate-history saga launched by Flint and sustained with the help of, first, Andrew Dennis (1634: The Galileo Affair, 2004; 1635: The Cannon Law, 2006) and then Weber (and others: see the Grantville Gazette theme anthologies) is certainly a landmark in that subgenre. The transplanted modern West Virginians and their allies in the United States of Europe now take to the sea, with Admiral Simpson bringing essentially Civil War naval technology to the seventeenth century. The impact is considerable. Meanwhile, the Spanish siege of Amsterdam simmers, with Gretchen Richter and the Committee of Correspondence holding high the banner of radical politics, which is quite plausible, given the era's many uprisings. The French besieging Luebeck are more determined, but the USE has such assets as Sweden's King Gustavus Adolphus and an early machine gun. And the sympathetic characters, who are in the majority even if on the wrong side, face ethical dilemmas far more complex than either the political machinations or the at-this-time advanced technology. The charming Swedish princess Kristina wants to learn to fly, but will that mean giving up autocratic habits and marrying a Danish prince? Eddie Cantrell wrestles with helping the king of Denmark build new weapons for use against the USE and with whether he can safely bed that same king's nubile daughter. And a German machine-gunner of peasant stock wonders whether he can love and be loved by someone obviously from the future—a social worker. A splendid example of character-centered alternate-history, this is a must read for its series' growing fandom. Green, Roland

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Product Details

  • Series: Ring of Fire
  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; First Edition edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141652102X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416521020
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #435,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Elkensteyin on March 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you liked 1632, you'll love this book. It directly continues the story, as told in 1632 and 1633, so you don't have to worry about all of the other little side stories (i.e. the Grantville Gazette, etc.).

While it starts off a little slowly, it really does an excellent job of tying up many of the loose ends of the story, and there are quite a few of them. It deals with the American captives in the Tower of London, along with the rescue attempt that was launched at the end of 1633. It deals with the Spanish seige of Amsterdam. It deals with the Blockade at Luebeck, and the power of the ironclads, as well as really making Simpson a much more likeable character. It also deals with my favorite two characters, Julie and Alex Mackie, as well as dealing with how the force structure of the army works. And finally, it deals with Denmark and the situation that Eddie Cantrell finds himself in.

All in all, it takes all of those storylines, as well as adding a few more, and weaves them together so that it's neither boring, nor is it overly confusing the way some fo Harry Turtledove's stories can get.

I highly recommend this book, and also 1632 & 1633 as well. 1632 is more of a feel-good book, but Eric (Flint), David (weber) and the late Jim Baen have turned this into a truly worthwhile and entertaining series that will simply keep you turning the pages until is it finished.

I truly hope that they continue the series, as I'd like to see this brave new world continue to evolve and grow. To read this book now, just go to baen.com and sign into the webscriptions.net to read the Advanced Reader Copy. It's well worth it.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Oso Blanco on April 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a very frustrating book to review simply because if I start praising it I'm going to run out of superlatives in a hurry.

It isn't so much a "single novel" as a set of *VERY* well-written novellas and novelettes interweaved with each other, and some of the consequences of actions taken in one story, such as the "Tower of London Rescue", have consequences for others, such as the "Negotiations With Spain" story. Flint and Weber are masters of their craft, and the joints don't show.

Aside from the fact that this book has everything a reader of this kind of story has a right to expect, combat, politics, treachery, honor, courage, and yes, just a dash of "knives in the night," neither author ever lets you forget that history is the ultimate "people-watching."

If you get this book as a hardcover, the publisher has bound a CD into it which has the earlier books in the saga on it in electronic form, so if your local bookstore is unfortunate enough not to carry the other books, you can still catch up on the saga from the eCopies, which are NOT encrypted and can be stuffed into your PDA, read on your laptop, printed, or fed into a text-to-speech engine.

I strongly recommend this book, and I'll leave you with an example of just how good the writing is. The book's ending is absolutely howlingly funny. But, to understand WHY it's so funny that when I got there I spent ten minutes choking on laughter, you have to read the WHOLE book first!

Now THAT'S good writing! Thank you, Eric and David. Please, keep 'em coming.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Hugh C. Haynsworth IV on May 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
After 2 year wait 1634: The Baltic War is finally out. This is an interesting marriage of 2 very good authors with different writing styles, life experiences, and (most importantly) politics. Of course in comparison to 17th Century European politics, they seem like radical socialists, nae, almost anarchists. I wish our congressmen would learn from these two politically active authors. I wish I knew how they delegate characters and storylines, although I am sure Stearns is definitely Flint's character, as is the recking crew, and Mr. and Mrs. Simpson are definitely Weber's, they have seamlessly written a very complex novel into one complete whole that ties up most of the loose ends from 1633, of course not all, because I believe they have at least one more novel to go. I think mood has one of the telltale signals to author hints, Weber tends to more seriousness, Flint owns irreverency, although both are guilty of both in this book. I hope the next comes out much faster.

What makes this book, and series fun, is the blending of history, politics, social commentary, and action into one very fun and fast paced story. The use of minor characters throughout the book to flesh out the story, and make political and social commentary is what makes it great.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jedidiah Carosaari VINE VOICE on July 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Baltic War is a grand adventure, with many well-tracked characters and plot twists. It answers a number of questions that we have been waiting on for years, and is filled with interesting developments. I learned a good deal of 17th century history in this book, and Flint really made it come alive in new ways. The book encouraged me to constantly look up Wikipedia entries to understand more of what was really happening at the time. And Flint is to be congratulated for really showing the Downtimers as smart and able to contribute something effective against the Uptimers from the future.

The maps could have been better and more detailed, for those of us who are not experts on 17th century European history. And the book starts off quite slow, as do a number of the 1632 series, and takes a while to get going. Indeed, the writing is rather disjointed, perhaps from being written by two different authors. I felt like there were moments of great writing, alternating with moments written by a beginning author.

I grew tired of nearly every character, whether they had direct contact with the Americans or not, using American colloquial phrases and making an explicit point that they were doing so, on every single phrase. Are there no colloquial phrases in other cultures and languages? Do we truly think that American colloquialisms would spread in 2 years all over the continent, into foreign languages, without modern communications technology? It's simply sloppy writing.

A bit of a surprise, and a nice addition, is the CD at the back of the book, *with every single previous book Flint's every written* on a CD that opens as web browser.
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