The Thirty Years War continues to ravage 17th century Europe, but a new force is gathering power and influence: the Confederated Principalities of Europe, an alliance between Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, and the West Virginians from the 20th century led by Mike Stearns who were hurled centuries into the past by a mysterious cosmic accident.
The CPE has the know-how of 20th century technology, but needs iron and steel to make the machines. The iron mines of the upper Palatinate were rendered inoperable by wartime damage, and American know-how is needed on the spot to pump them out and get the metal flowing again—a mission that will prove more complicated than anyone expects. In the maelstrom that is Europe, even a 20th century copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica can precipitate a crisis, when readers learn of the 1640 Portuguese revolt, a crisis that will involve Naples as well. Another factor: Albanian exiles in Naples, inspired by the Americans, are plotting to recover lost Albanian turf, which will precipitate yet another crisis in the Balkans.
This troubled century was full of revolutions and plans for more revolutions before the Americans arrived, and gave every would-be revolutionary an example of a revolution that succeeded. Europe is a pot coming to a boil, and Mike Stearns will have his hands full seeing that it doesn’t boil over on to Grantville and the CPE.
Eric Flint is the author of the New York Times best seller 1634: The Galileo Affair (with Andrew Dennis)—a novel in his top-selling “Ring of Fire” alternate history series. His first novel for Baen, Mother of Demons, was picked by Science Fiction Chronicle as a best novel of the year. His 1632, which launched the ring of Fire series, won widespread critical praise, as from Publishers Weekly, which called him “an SF author of particular note, one who can entertain and edify in equal, and major, measure.” A longtime labor union activist with a Master’s Degree in history, he currently resides in northwest Indiana with his wife Lucille.
Virginia DeMarce, after jobs as peculiar as counting raisins for the Calif. Dept. of Agriculture, received her Ph.D. in Early Modern European History from Stanford University. She has published a book on German military settlers in Canada after the American Revolution and has served as president of the National Genealogical Society. She taught at Northwest Missouri State University and at George Mason University. She has had stories in the Ring of Fire anthology and Grantville Gazette (#1), and more stories in the online Grantville Gazettes. She has three grown children and five grandchildren, and lives in Arlington, VA, with her husband.