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1635: Papal Stakes (Ring of Fire) Hardcover – October 2, 2012

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1635: Papal Stakes (Ring of Fire) + 1636: The Kremlin Games (Ring of Fire) + 1636: The Saxon Uprising: N/A (The Ring of Fire)
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Product Details

  • Series: Ring of Fire
  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; Reprint edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451638396
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451638394
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eric Flint is a modern master of alternate history fiction, with over three million books in print.  He’s the author/creator of the New York Times best-selling Ring of Fire series. With David Drake he has written six popular novels in the “Belisarius” alternate Roman history series, including, and with David Weber collaborated on 1633 and 1634: The Baltic WarFlint was for many years a labor union activist. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

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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Customer Reviews

Characters were memorable and well developed.
E. Moore
This book started out well, lots of action and plenty to cogitate while you're reading.
Toni M. Knapp
Very good continuation of the Ring of Fire series.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By G. Peter Wityk on October 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is another very enjoyable book in the 1632 series. There is action galore. There are villains around every corner or behind every tree. Or so it seems. There's the scent of clouds of black powder, the smell of spilled blood and the tang of saltwater. Even the discourses on canonical law are to the point and readable. The basic plot, as described in Heinlein's 'On The Writing of Speculative Fiction', is 'The man who learned better'. One of the main men learning better is Harry Lefferts. He has to rescue Frank and Giovanna Stone from the clutches of the infamous would-be Pope, Gaspar de Borja y Velasco. I don't want to give away too many spoilers. So, I won't tell you what he learned, how and why. I will say that there is plenty of action involved in the learning and it is all eminently readable. The action covers Northern Italy from the Alps to Rome and the Western Mediterranean.

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?
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Rodger Raubach VINE VOICE on October 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the 3rd volume in the "Galileo" subset of 163X based novels, and is BY FAR the best of them. A caveat here: it isn't a particularly easy reading tale, since the depth of theological discussions may be a bit too much for a non-Catholic to comprehend at first glance.

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.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lady Peregrine on October 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was a little concerned to hear that Andrew Dennis was not the co-author of this book; I very much enjoyed 1634: The Galileo Affair and 1635: The Canon Law, and was concerned that Charles Gannon might not live up to the pacing that Dennis set. As it turns out, my worries were unfounded. Papal Stakes is a well-paced action novel. The three storylines (Frank and Giovanna in prision; Estuban Miro, Harry and the Wrecking Crew, and the Wild Geese trying to get them out; and Sharon, Ruy, and the legitimate Church in a Crisis of Faith) interwine and interweave beautifully. Enough time is spent in each to inform the reader, but not so much that it is overwhelming or bogged down in technical details. (I am personally not a fan of detailed weapons specs; other people may be terribly uninterested in political machinations or theology. In any case, there may be a few pages glossed over by the reader, but not many.)

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!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William F. Schiring on October 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As another reviewer noted, you really need to read Cannon Law first if you haven't already done so. I was also worried about the replacement of Andrew Dennis by Charles Gannon. But this is the book I suspect Flint and Dennis wanted to write but weren't quite up to the task.

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...
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