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1635: Papal Stakes (Ring of Fire) Hardcover – October 2, 2012
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About the Author
Charles E. Gannon is a breakthrough rising star in science fiction with a multiple short story and novella publications in Baen anthologies, Man-Kzin Wars XIII, Analog, and elsewhere. Gannon is coauthor with Steve White of Extremis, the latest entry in the legendary Starfire series created by David Weber. His most recent novel is 1635: The Papal Stakes cowritten with alternate history master, Eric Flint. A multiple Fulbright scholar, Gannon is Distinguished Professor of American Literature at St. Bonaventure University.
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Top Customer Reviews
The only downside in this book for me was the number of uptimers who don Red Shirts. I don't know if this was for dramatic effect or a result of Flint's belief in Kalthar Morth's Historically Inevitable Forces. Either way, at the observed rate, the number of uptimers in this world going to be zero in short order. Where does this series go when there are no more West Virginians in Grantville?
That said, the tale begins in 1635 Rome with Frank Stone and his pregnant wife Giovanna as captives of the false Pope and wannabee, Cardinal Borja of Spain. The real Pope Urban VIII is a fugitive from Borja's assassins and is under the protection of USE Ambassadress Sharon Nichols and her worthy, wily husband Ruy Sanchez.
The USE has dispatched it's famous Wrecking Crew, directed and commanded by Harry Lefferts. Use is being made of blimp/dirigible air transportation for these worthies to the wrecking grounds in Italy.
Pope Urban is undecided on his course of actions, and sanctuary in Grantville is only one of them; staying put is the same as certain death, however.
Cardinal Lawrence Mazzare has a prominent role to play in Urban's decision, as does reknowned theologian Father Luke Wadding of the Franciscan Order.
There are villians almost too numerous to mention, and all of these components come together in a pretty well executed series of events in the ensuing tale as it unfolds. Fortunately for the reader, authors Flint and Ganon have thoughfully provided a cast of characters appendix at the end of the novel!
I feel strongly against revealing too much of the action and subsequent outcomes, so I instead recommend the book for a first-hand reading experience. I waited several days for my opinion to solidify regarding my evaluation before writing this review. I'm giving it 5 stars on several levels: intrigue, action, and adventure. The religious debates within may take some getting used-to, but overall, a great effort by the authors.
With the most recent books (Kremlin Game, Papal Stakes, and Saxon Uprising, it feels that Flint has gotten a good handle on how best to edit these books. They are excellent on first read, as well as on further re-reads.
This is not a stand-alone book: the reader probably should have at least read Canon Law to comprehend the situation. And Miro's story in Ring of Fire III would also be a good precursor as well. But it is an excellent addition to the 163x canon, and a welcome breath of fresh air for those of us who have been wondering about Italy for multiple years now. Salut!
This book takes us beyond the "Italian Thread" and becomes the pivotal book of the whole series. Deftly woven in among the page-turning action scenes are grapplings of Pope Urban VIII to accommodate 1630s' Catholicism with the 20th century's Vatican II. The end result will necessarily have a major impact on every future novel to be written in this series.
The novel also focuses fully on the "downtimers" and their interactions with up-time technology and culture; the few up-timers appearing are mostly in minor roles.
This book also displays a far better writing quality than I have previously seen in Flint's solo works and other collaborations. I definitely need to track down Gannon's solo works...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very worthy successor to Cannon Law [#7], it builds up the suspense and the characters we've come to know and love as they meet their challenges and grow or sometimes die, as... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Philip Lyon
Not quite a five star, but it was in the running. I was able to suspend disbelief most of the time to flow with the story. Almost 5 stars.Published 26 days ago by Theodore Russell Moore
Lot's of action not much substance. If a reader didn't already know the main characters they will be lost. Read morePublished 1 month ago by L. Anderson
1635: The Papal Stakes
As an action novel "The Papal Stakes" makes it as a worthwhile experience on that basis alone. Read more
One of the best books in this series. Action, drama and unusual circumstances make it a great read. Plus I lived on Mallorca for a while so I loved it.Published 4 months ago by Paul M.
I COULDN'T POST A MOOD; THEY DIDN'T HAVE BORING; IT WAS A STOCK BOOK, BY THAT I MEAN IT WAS PREDICTABLE/SLOW/BORINGPublished 4 months ago by ROLLSROYCE
The 1632 series is like a sugar coated history lesson. Very easy to digest and lots of fun. Having said that, "The Papal Stakes" is one of the better of the series. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer