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Monday, February 10, 2014

Just Finished Reading...1632 by Eric Flint

The Baen website has a free ebooks section, which changes from time to time. I'm not sure exactly how it works - some are classics by golden age authors, others are by modern writers but published several years ago. The authors concerned seem to be fine with it; perhaps it promotes them so readers will buy their newer books. Most books I have downloaded were by the golden age writers - Andre Norton, Murray Leinster and the like - but I was curious about this one, which I believe is the first of a series that has a fandom.

In it, an entire town and its surroundings are transplanted from modern West Virginia to Germany during the Thirty Years War, the setting for Brecht's play Mother Courage. Not at all a nice place to live. But these folk are good American coal miners and their families. Members of the union! And, importantly, gun lovers who know how to shoot. They know their current technological advantage over seventeenth century tech won't last forever, but it's a good start and there's time to gear down to technology that will still be better than anyone who might attack them. They make friends and allies, including a band of  Scottish mercenaries working for the Swedish king and skilled tradesmen who can help them adapt to the era's tech while learning how to make improved versions thereof. Suddenly there's a new Republic in the middle of Thuringia and the world's politicians have to pay attention...

I liked the premise very much, though there was a small hint of flag waving till Mike, the American leader, sees that going the wrong way will make them no better than the Nazis. It was an entertaining book that kept me reading till the last page.

The only problem I had was that there were a number of times when entire chapters failed to move the story along. There was a character whom I thought might become the novel's villain, but who ended up doing very little and could almost have been left out.

Still, well worth a read. If you visit the Baen web site, it's still free and then you can decide if you want to buy the rest of the series.

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