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1635: The Dreeson Incident (The Ring of Fire) by Eric Flint
Cover Artist: Tom Kidd
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781416555896
Date: 02 December 2008 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The United States of Europe (USE) is consolidating the gains made in the 1634 campaigns. Not everyone is happy with the success of the USE. Michael Ducos wants to destabilize the USE and Grantville. He wants to a make grand statement. He plans for the assassination of several leaders. This is the story of how it all unfolds -- just not as planned. They say no plan lasts once the battle is engaged, and Ducos' plot is no different. The agents he chooses and the grandness of the scheme will lead to its ultimate undoing. But the plan will bring more suffering to some of Grantville's most revered family.

This story is mainly set in Grantville with a few asides elsewhere. The youth of Grantville are growing up and finding ways to get into trouble. Denise Beasley and Minnie Hugelmair are brought together with Pam Hardesty and Missy Jenkins. In this continuation of the Stone family series of event, more background and depth are given to the above mentioned characters. While getting to know each other, they stumble upon the plot, and are forced into the role of heroes.

The citizens of Grantville have many advantages in their new time and place. This leads them to often overlook obvious leaks. They forget that the downtimers have knowledge and skills. In many cases they tend to forget that they are too open and that others will not necessarily behave the same way. This is a position that could be exploited. Modern society sometimes looks down on our forebears. Although this is a logical character flaw to be given to the uptimers, it isn't a wise choice for the people of Grantville.

The world is becoming very convoluted even as Gustavus Adolfus attempts to consolidate his gains. There are more demands on the resources and people of Grantville. There is trouble brewing in the East that is very likely to bring a new war to the United States of Europe. This means that more will be demanded of the USE personnel.

I enjoyed this book. Authors Eric Flint and Virginia DeMarce work very well together. Their work is high quality with fluid grace. Their work is very similar to the rapport that Flint and Weber have in the main track.

The Ring of Fire series has a multitude of characters. Some are historical, some fictional. It is easy to get drawn in by these characters, although sometimes it is hard to keep track of all the subplots that have developed. This book does a good job of reintroducing the characters and their relationships. This makes it easier for the readers to not get distracted by the complicated web of relationships.

The Ring of Fire series is the poster child for consistency. The side tales are as interesting as the main tales. The short stories draw the reader in just as readily as the larger volumes. This series is a must read for fans of time travel and alternate history. The only problem is waiting for the next book to come out. Although, they are faster than some other long series in appearing on the bookshelves.

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