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1633 cover 1633 by David Weber and Eric Flint

Cover by Dru Blair

Published by Baen Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

At the end of 1632, the people of Grantville decisively defeated Tilly's army and turned the course of history. Modern democratic values would not be extinguished in this bit of land transported in time to an age when religious wars were the order of the day and the common folk were nothing but pawns to be expended as their rulers saw fit.

Of course things are rarely so simple, and problems don't necessarily stay fixed. Grantville may have saved itself from anhillation, but now this bit of transported USA has to find a way to integrate itself into the new reality in which it finds itself, so that its strength will not be whittled away by endless challenges, yet at the same time the values that make it unique will not be compromised away until it becomes yet another minor German principality.

Doing this is a lot more complicated than just using overwhelming modern firepower to crush an army of mercenaries who are little more than thugs. Somehow the people of Grantville must not only teach the newly arrived refugees how to adapt the knowledge of 21st-century technology to the tech base available to them, but also instill the values of a working democracy in their hearts and minds.

However, time is a luxury they don't have. Agents of France and England have infiltrated and discovered the secrets of the old future as held within Grantville's history books. Now they are seeking to make their own changes in history, derailing future events they see as abominable -- namely, those that reduce the power of autocratic monarchy and give it to the people. Already the weak and indecisive Charles I of England has tried to forestall the English Civil War by imprisoning Oliver Cromwell and establishing tight control everywhere.

So Grantville must spread her forces when she needs them most, sending agents abroad to deal with fights on several fronts, not all of them obviously military. It's a close-run thing, and one mis-step could destroy the very thing they seek to preserve.

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Review posted April 10, 2003

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