1636: The Atlantic Encounter by Eric Flint

1636

ed by Lindsay Buroker (Death Before Dragons #6)
English | 2020| Fantasy | ePUB | 3.9 MB

Eric Flint is a modern master of alternate history fiction, with over three million books in print. He’s the author/creator of the multiple New York Times best-selling Ring of Fire series starting with first novel 1632. With David Drake he has written six popular novels in the “Belisarius” alternate Roman history series, and with David Weber collaborated on 1633 and 1634: The Baltic War and latest Honorverse series entry Cauldron of Ghosts. Flint’s latest Ring of Fire novel is 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught. Flint was for many years a labor union activist. He lives near Chicago, Illinois.

It has taken almost five years for the United States of Europe to stabilize its position in 17th-century Europe. Now it turns its attention to the New World, where the English have ceded their colonial claims to France. There are vast lands and rich resources across the Atlantic for any nations powerful enough to rule and control them—and equal incentive for other nations to block their path.

The time-displaced Americans know about the future path that led to their own United States in North America, in the other universe they came from. But do they want to repeat that history as it was? Yes, they had democracy—but they are helping to create that in Europe. And they have learned the bitter prices paid for chattel slavery and the near-extermination of the native populations.

Knowledge is power. Perhaps a new course can be taken. Accordingly, an expedition is sent to the New World to see just what might be happening there and what might be done. They are armed with their technology, among which are a radio and an airship. More importantly, they are armed with the knowledge of future history and their determination not to repeat the errors of their past.

What could possibly go wrong?

Bamberg, capital of the State of Thuringia-Franconia

United States of Europe

“Come in,” Ed Piazza said, in response to a knock on his office door. His secretary stuck her head into the room.

“Leopold Cavriani is here, Mr. President,” she said.

“Send him in, please.” Ed pushed aside the papers he’d been looking at, opened one of the desk’s drawers and pulled out a file folder. Then, with a peculiar expression on his face—part interest, part exasperation—he handed it to Estuban Miro.

The new chief of intelligence for the president of the State of Thuringia-Franconia half rose from his chair across the desk to accept the folder. It was rather on the thick side. “What’s this?” he asked.

“One of the more—ah, adventurous—projects left to us by our departed former prime minister.”

Miro raised an eyebrow and resumed his seat. Given that the former official in question, Mike Stearns, was not known to be risk-averse—to put it mildly—this promised to be interesting.

A man was ushered into the room. Estuban recognized him, although they’d never spoken to one another at any length. He was Leopold Cavriani, a close associate of Piazza and the person generally considered in charge of the far-flung and extended Cavriani family’s commercial enterprises.

The association in question was a rather gray and shadowy business. Piazza used Cavriani as an informal go-between and facilitator as well as a confidant.

The president waited until Cavriani had taken a seat before proceeding. “You can find all the details in the folder, Estuban. For the moment, let me summarize the matter.” He leaned back in his chair. “A little over a year ago, we were approached by a Dutchman named Jan van der Glinde.”

Miro cocked his side slightly. “We…meaning…?”

“Not me, initially. I only found out about this when Mike Stearns handed the matter over to me along with”—again, his expression indicated interest and, this time, more than a little exasperation—“about eight jillion others.”

Miro nodded his understanding. The United States of Europe had a parliamentary system; under it, the opposition party formed a shadow cabinet when it was out of power, so that it would be ready to take charge of government should political fortunes turn in its favor. In this instance, though, there was a peculiar twist. The man who would normally be the recognized head of the opposition, Mike Stearns, was now a general in Gustav Adolf’s forces fighting in Poland. Given that it was impractical for him to play any direct role in the affairs of the Fourth of July Party, leadership of the opposition had fallen partly to Stearns’ wife Rebecca and partly to Ed Piazza.

The division of labor between the two was subtle and complex—and on Piazza’s part, sometimes of questionable legality. Being the chief executive of the USE’s most populous and wealthiest state, Piazza was in position to form what amounted to a shadow government, not simply a shadow cabinet.

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