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1632 (Ring of Fire) Paperback – February 1, 2001
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From Library Journal
When a cosmic accident transports a West Virginia community back in time and space to 17th-century Thuringia, the citizens of Grantville find themselves thrust into the midst of the bloody and savage conflict that history books would call the Thirty Years War. Surrounded by warring armies and burdened by the prospect of diminishing resources, Grantville residents, under the leadership of a council that includes a union leader, a doctor, and a teacher, proceed to turn their new world upside down, beginning the American Revolution a century and a half before its time. Flint (Mother of Demons) convincingly re-creates the military and political tenor of the times in this imaginative and unabashedly positive approach to alternative history. A solid choice for fantasy collections.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
In Flint's novel of time travel and alternate history, a six-mile square of West Virginia is tossed back in time and space to Germany in 1632, at the height of the barbaric and devastating Thirty Years' War. Repelling marauding mercenaries and housing German refugees are only the first of many problems the citizens of the tiny new U.S. face, problems including determining who shall be a citizen. In between action scenes and descriptions of technological military hardware, Flint handles that problem and other serious ethical questions seriously and offers a double handful of memorable characters: a Sephardic Jewish family that establishes commercial and marital ties with the Americans, a cheerleader captain turned lethal master sniper, a schoolteacher and an African American doctor who provide indispensable common sense and skill, a German refugee who is her family's sole protector, and, not least, King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. Not, perhaps, as elegant as some time-traveling alternate histories, Flint's is an intelligent page-turner nevertheless. Roland Green --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
What I noticed most (and with amusement) about the author's writing style is how different it is from the style of women's fiction written by women that I usually read. First of all, the boy-meets-girl scenarios did not go through the typical attraction / misunderstanding / conflict / drama / drama / drama / kiss that make up most of the story in many novels written for women by other women. In 1632, boys meet girls and the romances are in almost immediately in full swing. In one case, the couple was married 3 pages after they met! Although the wedding gown is described as "borrowed", the author gives none of the details that would have taken up several paragraphs in a book written by a woman. Likewise, this couple's wedding night scene got the point across without delving into the flowery and/or passionate language frequently found in women's fiction.
More time and lengthy detail are given to the mechanics and logistics of the newbies settling into the year 1632 and configuring the technology they brought with them to continue working some 400 years before such things were actually invented. Since Grantville, VA was time and geographically shifted into 17th century Europe during the Thirty Years War, descriptions of battles (both actual and imagined) are especially detail oriented. As interactions take place between the the Middle Ages European inhabitants of 1632 and the North American newbies, the Europeans seemed quite comfortable with the clothing, speech, lifestyle, and possessions of the Americans once it was firmly established that no witchcraft was involved. According to my husband, some place names, battles, and historical characters are real. I take his word on that. There is some graphic violence which takes place in the context of battle engagements and raiding parties.
The book is also lengthy, nearly 600 pages. It's a good book to settle into when the reader has a long stretch of uninterrupted time. For me it was a rainy weekend on the couch. I can also imagine this as a good book during a long airplane flight.
The next book in the series seemed focused on military history, which is a particular interest of my husband's, not mine, and I'm not likely to continue reading, but I enjoyed this one.