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Eric Flint launched his Ring of Fire series in 2000 with his novel “1632.” Intended as a stand-alone novel, it tells the story of Grantville, a West Virginia town switched in time and place with an equal area of space in Thirty-Years War Germany. 1632 proved addictive to readers and writers. Flint wrote a sequel, inviting David Weber to collaborate. Readers ate it up. Flint then opened his playground to other writers, curating the results. As of 2020 there are over 30 books in the series.
“1637: No Peace Beyond the Line,” by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon, is the latest addition to the series. It is a sequel to “1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies,” published in 2014.
“No Peace Beyond the Line” picks up where “Commander Cantrell” left off. Captain Eddie Cantrell is holding together a coalition made up of Germans, Dutch, Danes, Irish, and renegade English colonists. The English have defied their national government to remain in the New World. The Irish are members Wild Geese, Irish mercenaries estranged from English-occupied Ireland, formerly in the service of France. Led by the chief pretender to the Irish throne (held by King Charles of England) they are running a settlement in Trinidad, producing and exporting oil, with the cooperation of the local natives.
Cantrell has to defend this colony, and the other scattered Dutch and English Caribbean settlements from the Spanish. The Spanish, reinforced by competent leaders and more ships, vastly outnumber the alliance led by the Granville’s United States of Europe. The uptime coalition has technology advantages; the Spanish leaders are handicapped by hidalgo arrogance and their government’s mistrust of uptime technology.
The uptimers are forging alliances with tribes native to the area. This provides them subtle, but important advantages as the book progresses. The authors also mix side threads including a secret United States of Europe effort to establish oil wells on the Louisiana and Texas coast, and Spanish attempts to subvert Dutch settlers to support the Spanish.
Despite this tangle of plot threads, the story is easy to follow. The action is non-stop. The authors skillfully blend battle, intrigue, politics, and everyday life in a remade seventeenth century to yield an exciting story. Both those familiar with the series (and this sequel’s predecessor) and those reading “No Peace Beyond the Line” as a first exposure to an addictive series will find it satisfying reading.
“1637: No Peace Beyond the Line,” by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon, Baen Books, 2020, 736 pages, $25.00 (Hardcover), $9.99 (Kindle)
This review was written by Mark Lardas who writes at Ricochet as Seawriter. Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, TX. His website is marklardas.com.Published in