What would happen if a small town in West Virginia were suddenly and irrevocably transported to Germany in the year 1632? Author Eric Flint composes an alternate history and a possible answer to this question. The town of Grantville, West Virginia, has been set down in the middle of the bloody Thirty Years' War, one of Europe's longest wars. The townspeople of Grantville rescue Rebecca and Balthazar Abrabanel, two Sephardic Jews fleeing the Inquisition and carrying treasure to Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden. The Swedish army desperately needs this money to finance its fight against Tilly and Wallenstein, the generals of the Hapsburg dynasty. Rebecca is well-educated and has spent much of her life in London. She speaks English fluently, though she is unfamiliar with the dialect of these newly-arrived Americans. From her, the Americans learn where they are and what year it is. Mike Stearns and several members of the Grantville United Mine Workers Union form the nucleus of an emergency committee which organizes the town for survival. Adventure and romance are added to this mix of history and politics for an engaging and beguiling science fiction saga.
Indiana author Eric Flint's academic background is in history, and he had nearly completed his Ph.D. when he decided not to become part of academia. Before trying his hand at writing, he worked at a variety of blue-collar jobs, including longshoreman and machinist. One of his reasons for writing 1632 was to feature blue-collar workers as heroes. Mother of Demons, Flint's first novel, was selected by Science Fiction Chronicle as one of the best novels of 1997.
Reviewed by mc, 11/01. Other reviews by mc.