Life in Franconia, 1634,
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This review is from: 1634: The Ram Rebellion (The Ring of Fire) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the first-published (and, I think, weakest overall but still very good) volume of what I would term the Side Sequence of the Ring of Fire (RoF) hypernovel, and the only (so far) of what Eric Flint (EF) calls a braided-story anthology. Besides this, the Side-Group includes (so far) 1634: The Bavarian Crisis, 1635: The Dreeson Incident, and 1635: The Tangled Web. Several of the characters (e.g. Constantin Ableidinger) who appear first in this Side sequence later find their way into the main sequence, which begins with 1632.
The title novelette is worth the price of the book, and several of the shorter stories are excellent as well, especially Kerryn Offord's "A Night at the Ballet," ***** (and this from a reviewer who finds ballet utterly boring); they are like icing on the cake, making the book that much more than worth the price. The weak point, in my estimation, is the Brillo stories, which cumulatively are like a joke told too many times. The first telling may be hilarious, but it gets older with each retelling, until it becomes just tiresome. And Brillo himself speaking is already old by the second word and gets much older with each word that follows.
But perhaps the best reason to read this volume is that is contains some of the backstory for later volumes of the main sequence of the greatest alternate history yet.
HISTORY TEACHERS ATTENTION: This and the other volumes of RoF provide a very enjoyable way to learn about life in early seventeenth century Europe.