The Alexander Inheritance (Ring of Fire)
by Eric Flint, Gorg Huff, and Paula Goodlett
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781481482486
Date: 04 July 2017 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Another Assiti Shard has come to earth and sent another group of modern humans to the past, this time to the Mediterranean shortly after the death of Alexander the Great. The Queen of the Sea is a top of the line cruise ship with a full complement of passengers and crew. Along for the ride is also the crew of the Reliance, a fuel ship.
The Queen of the Sea has a lot of knowledge available as the internal computers have a large amount of stored information. The information was stored internally to reduce the demand on the wireless systems as passengers performed data searches. This information allows the uptimers to learn about the past and prepare to live in this time period. The ship is able to run on a variety of fuels so will be able to travel, but the availability of food is the greatest concern, as is a lack of weapons.
The appearance of this huge modern vessel creates quite a stir in the past as well. The leaders see the uptimers as weak and susceptible to the might of arms. The size of the Queen should be enough to make them think twice but men will be men and men from this time even more. When the crew and passengers decide on their way forward, the course of history changes as does the survival chances of the remaining members of Alexander's family.
Although set in the same universe as the 1632 Series and Time Spike, the survivors are in better and worse shape than their fellow time travelers. They have the Queen which has great technology but a much older age group. They need to find a base of operations and protect the passengers, but the disparate group has many ideas on how to proceed. Modern politics is about to face a new challenge, empire.
I am a fan of these gearing up time travel stories. The characters develop and need to adjust their current thinking. Those that cannot adapt are likely to find despair or death. The interactions with the locals highlight different parts of the world, often of a type not found in other fiction. The course of history which follows needs to be different but stay within the limits available.
Although both the events spurring the 1632 series and Time Spike are mentioned, they are not required to enjoy this novel. There is definitely room for sequels to this series as there are many issues which could be settled. If this series opens up to fans and authors in the same way that 1632 did, I hope they are able to bring in authors such as Myke Cole, Harry Turtledove, and Simon Scarrow who have proven knowledge of the ancient world. There will need to be others, who they may be, I have no idea.