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The Alexander Inheritance (1) (Ring of Fire) Hardcover – July 4, 2017
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About the Author
Gorg Huff is a Texas citizen who has enthusiastically helped in researching the 1632 series background, written numerous stories for the Grantville Gazettes, and contributed both maps and drawings to 1634: The Bavarian Crisis. Gorg began as a solo writer, but now principally teams with Paula Goodlett.
Paula Goodlett retired from the military as a non-commissioned officer in the early nineties. She broke her leg in 2003, which led to her browsing Baen's Bar lest she become bored during her enforced inactivity. Captivated by the 1632 universe concept, she began as a special assistant to Eric Flint. She eventually wrote a large important sequence of the storyline in 1634: The Ram Rebellion. She is editor of the Grantville Gazettes and chairs the 1632 Editorial Board. Additionally, Paula is assistant editor of the e-zine Jim Baen's Universe. Paula mainly writes in tandem with Gorg Huff.
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1481482483
- Item Weight : 1.27 pounds
- ISBN-13 : 978-1481482486
- Product Dimensions : 6.13 x 1.1 x 9.25 inches
- Publisher : Baen (July 4, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #849,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In this past, the western world had just stepped into what would be known in history as the Hellenistic Period, during which the Greek nation would expand its domain to span the whole of the Mediterranean and beyond. However, the first fifty years of the Hellenistic Period encompassed the Age of the Diadochi - aka the Time of the Successors - in which Alexander's empire would crumple into bloody civil war.
Into this turbulent age sails the Queen of the Sea, and its presence promptly shifts the global balance of power. The time-tossed passengers - dubbed the "ship people" by the awestruck locals - waste no time in making their mark. And note that the Queen of the Sea is a state-of-the-art ocean liner, tricked out with the latest advances in tech and other amenities, so they've no end of advantages. Note also that one of the passengers is a scholar well-versed with this period in history, and so there's the ship people with the inside scoop with which to alter or parlay certain impending events to their benefit.
3 out of 5 stars for this one. 1632 is better. TIME SPIKE is better. Maybe if you're a history buff of early western civilization, you might get your rocks off with the sheer density of chapters devoted to the politickings of a horde of secondary historical figures. But that's not my jam. I wish there were more of the present-day folk to root for. For me, the three most interesting characters are Alexander's level-headed widow Roxane, the firebrand Eurydice, and her autistic husband Philip III. Note that they're all native inhabitants of 321 BC. As for the ship people, only Dag Jakobsen, the ship's Norwegian environmental compliance officer, piqued my interest. Dag ends up with a fairly significant story arc. As for the other prominent ship people - the drab ship's captain, the pushy Congressman from Utah, or the know-it-all history professor - I couldn't care less about them. Conversely, one of the ship's officers - who happens to be a champion pistol markswoman - endeared herself to me with her one kickass sequence, but she's not in the story all that much. Shame.
It's always a thrill to read time travel stories; it's my favorite sci-fi trope. With 1632, Eric Flint unboxed his treasure chest of what ifs, dusted off that sense of high adventure. 1632 incited that surge of excitement and gratification as the lunchpail town of Grantville bossed it up in the 17th century (shout out to Julie, badassss teen sharpshooter). Some of the thrills persist in THE ALEXANDER INHERITANCE - there's something very cool about a historical figure like Roxane becoming infatuated with the cell phone - except there's less action and more of the would-be potentates practicing treachery and striking back-room deals. It all feels like an extensive and very dry history lecture. It felt like study hall. At least Flint knew better than to spend too much time on the tedious religion sub-plot. This book needed less people to follow. It's such a bloated cast. Think Oprah's show: "YOU get a chapter! And YOU get a chapter! Everyone gets a chapter!" It could've done with more action beats and, also, more focus on the time travelers as they go about influencing antiquated cultures, and topsy-turvying the succession crisis, and effecting a new world order. Except, the book then needed the time travelers to be more interesting. The way the book ends promises a sequel. I'm caught up in the story enough to anticipate the reading of that. But, c'mon, Flint, punch up those characters. I wonder how much writing Flint did for this. Hopefully, more than James Patterson does nowadays.
There is much here to enjoy. The overall scenario is quite interesting, and I love the examination of the logistics involved in doing things like refueling the ship and getting provisions on board. I'm glad as well that certain characters who are set up as possible foils (ie: a Republican Congressman from Utah), are just people trying their best, and aren't the epitome of evil.
Overall it was a good, solid story, but I do have a few complaints.First off, it would have been VERY helpful to have the cast of characters at the front of the book. Aside from a few that I learned about in history class, like Epicurus, Roxane, Antipater, and a handful of others, I had trouble keeping track of who was whom. It didn't help that there were several characters who appeared as viewpoint characters and then were never heard from again.
The larger complaint is that the book doesn't end so much as it stops. There's some action, then a discussion about marriage and ice cream, and then...the book ends. That's all. Now I'd like to hope that this is a set-up for another multi-author Ring of Fire series, much like the 1632 series. If that's the case, I'll be very happy. But as it is, I'm a little vexed.
Still, I do indeed hope there is more to come with this scenario, since I quite liked it!
Top reviews from other countries
The huge liner "Queen of the Sea" displacing nearly 150,000 tons, is about to start a cruise with 5,000 passengers and crew on board and is taking on fuel at her base dock in the Bahamas when she is hit by an "Assiti Shard" or "Ring of Fire" event which takes the "Queen of the Sea," the fuel tender "Reliance" and part of the dock and island from the Caribbean to somewhere, and somewhen else. As soon as the stars and planets become visible that evening, the ship's navigational computer tells them from the revised positions of those stars and planets that they are in the Mediteranean sea, just off Formertera Island near the Balearic Islands, in 321BC, a couple of years after the death of Alexander the Great.
Fortunately the "Queen of the Sea" has flex engines which can generate power from any liquid that will burn, but she has nearly 5,000 people to feed, and has been dumped into an era characterised by a century of horrible wars as various generals and satraps fought over the remains of Alexander's empire. And a huge ship full of valuable things would be an enormous prize for any of those generals ...
In the series of novels of which this book forms a part, the incident which sent the "Queen of the Sea back two thousand years is the third major such event to hit the original world from which the characters in the "Ring of Fire" series were taken: the first one sent the American town of Grantville back to Germany in 1631 (during the thirty years war), and all the books by Eric Flint or his co-authors which have titles beginning with a year from 1632 to 1636 describe the revised history of the world in which Grantville arrived.
The second major "Ring of Fire" or Assiti shard event, described in Eric Flint's novel " Time Spike " happened seven years later and sent a 21st century maxium security prison in Illinois into a mix of times over a hundred million years, jumbling together Jurassic dinosaurs, native americans from various periods of history, Conquistadors and people, flora and fauna from the nineteenth, sixteenth, and seventh centuries and every other time between now and the late Jurassic.
Given that the 21st century characters in "The Alexander Inheritance have been sent back to a much more remote period of history and are facing organised nations but at a much less advanced level of knowledge, this book should have more in common with S.M. Stirling's "Nantucket" trilogy which begins with " Island in the Sea of Time " and in which the Island of Nantucket is sent back 3,000 years, than with "1632" and the other Grantville stories. Sadly that is not the case: this book is much less sophisticated than the "Nantucket" trilogy or the better novels about Grantville and does not really address the vastness of the differences in knowledge and worldview between people of the 21st century and those of thousands of years earlier, or the immensity of the challenge involved in creating a modern industrial base in the pre-Christian era.
Flint and his co-authors partly get round this by assuming that the "Queen of the Sea" already has a considerable industrial capacity on board, but the difficulties which people on both sides would have in communicating with and adapting to the differences between people who are thousands of years different in outlook were greatly understated in this book.
If an event which sent a group of 21st century people back more than 2,000 years were really possible, and those people made some of the massive mistakes in this book, I suspect the consequences of those mistakes would be much more serious than they are in this novel.
But although this story is not remotely in the same league as either the best of the Grantville stories by the same author, or of the "Nantucket" trilogy by S. M. Stirling, it is imaginative, entertaining, and fun provided you don't take it too seriously. Reading "The Alexander Inheritance" is an amusing way to spend a few hours if you like this kind of novel and can suspend disbelief.
Here they assume that the successor state Greek empire on tipping point of fracturing is full of "Bad Men - Good Kings" (ref 1066 and all that) which is I believe a correct interpretation. These were violent men in violent times and the people can't be held to 21st C standards... However to my mind that my only real quibble.. They are back in this awful period and too free to hand out technology that'll get them enslaved in short order.. and way way way too trusting.
Additionally contact with these empires is going to spread diseases... I'd expect the america's to start going down to Euro-asian diseases somewhat as it did in 15th-18th C.. and the future born as well.
However good stories I would follow and buy sequel. Lovely to wonder if Alexanders Empire could ever have been held together.
However I get the feeling, that this tale was built around a desire to see how we in the first world would deal with slavery.
But that raises several issues. The biggest one, there are more Human Beings trapped in slavery today in 2017 than in the entire world our time travellers find themselves in. (Then again maybe thats the point)
The lead characters are fairly bland, none stand out. The ship crew and passengers are in it together kindd of ensemble thing. But we need a hero or heroine, or a decent villian to hang this tale on.
It’s OKish for a culture clash novel, but save it for a rainy afternoon.