1632 is a hard book to describe. It’s often listed with “alternate history” and “science fiction”, but it’s hard to nail down; it has elements of both.
Eric Flint has created an entire “Ring of Fire” universe with 1632. He gave birth to a regular anthology of short stories, spin off novels, and numerous sequels all set in the same universe.
1632 is the story of a small town named Grantville, WV which gets transported back in time to 1632, during the Thirty Years’ War. These Americans find themselves in Germany during a period of royalty and aristocracy. They are also the most technologically advanced society of the age.
The event that kicks off everything in the book is not explained, but the characters must deal with it. Ultimately, what we get is a story that’s both interesting and fun.
Interestingly, Flint and his co-writers in the Ring of Fire series have had to track characters who were transported back in time, because they saw too many ex-military characters would appear as a result of an author’s needs.
I really liked this book. I honestly thought I already did a review of it, but I didn’t see one. There’s a ton of interesting elements, from Gustavus Aldolphus interacting with the Americans and coming to respect their point of view, to the town converting a vehicle to a “war machine” and seeing the locals’ reactions.
I really liked that last one, by the way. Flint made sure the reader understood that these 17th century people weren’t mindless. They understood that machines were able to move things, and when they saw the diesel-powered vehicle, they didn’t think it was powered by magic, but weren’t sure how it was powered.
Also of note was the way people thought back then compared to how people thought now. One of the characters remark that the Americans are all commoners who think like nobility. It was an interesting concept.
All in all, I would recommend this one to anyone who likes character driven stories and alternate history.
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