Historical Fiction / Science Fiction / Fantasy
Written by: Eric Flint
Published By: Baen Books
Reviewed by Firedancer34
Let me just say that 1632 was absolutely amazing. Now I am a fan of sci-fi/fantasy, but admit that I have rarely delved into the time travel genre. However, this book definitely broke some barriers for me and I have been telling everyone I know about this story because I think it could appeal to a broad spectrum of readers.
In 1632 the reader is quickly introduced to several key citizens of modern day Grantsville, West Virginia, USA as most of the citizens are gathered at the local school for a wedding. You get just enough of a feel of a few of the characters and some of the dynamics in play, when the entire town, (lock, stock, and power plant) is transported through time and space.
After the dust settles, several of the men gather together and head out to see what the blinding flash of bright light was caused by. The second chapter immediately launches the reader and the characters into the horrors and atrocities that ran rampant throughout Central Germany during one of Europe's darkest times- the Thirty Years War.
Here in 1632 the Americans have a huge upper hand, given the technology, and knowledge they have at their disposal. Their biggest asset during this brutal time period however, are their weapons, with high rates of fire that put any firearm of the seventeenth century to shame. And being a small redneck community, guns and ammunition are in plentiful supply.
I think what appealed the most to me about this book was the fact that it was an intelligent and educational story, and yet it still retained it's entertainment value. The story contained the usual fictional components- action, adventure, romance, drama, tragedy's and triumphs. But in the process you learn a great deal about the actual history and personalities of some key political and military figures involved in the War at that time.
The reader is also given a glimpse into the complications America's own government probably experienced during it's birth, as the people of Grantsville claim the area surrounding them in the name of the United States. By doing so, they offer much needed protection to the local common-folk who have been left to defend themselves against unmerciful marauding armies, mercenaries, poverty and starvation. With their number fortified by their new German allies, the fledgling government of the new United States, begins to play out an important role in the tide of the War.
One last factor that made this book so incredible was the depth of emotion the author invokes in you the reader. My sheltered sense of humanity recoiled in horror at the brutal realities of what the peasantry of that time period faced on a regular basis. It forced me to remember that such inhumanities are being carried out on a daily basis in thousands of places to countless victims even in this day and age. I was equal parts disgusted, frustrated and angry during many points of the book, because Mr. Flint held nothing back.
And yet the book made you feel a strong sense of national pride. The simple, self-proclaimed redneck and hillbilly people of Grantsville, make it their top priority to show the world of that time that being an American is something to be proud of. First and foremost is their overwhelming desire to reach out to the suffering people around them and give them something back that most of them had never been shown by their own fellow country-men: humanity. The people of Grantsville deal out justice in a war ravaged Germany, American style and I was cheering at the end.
Mr. Flint truly did an amazing job with 1632. His storytelling was superb, and his in-depth research and attention to detail was not muddled by over-wording. I highly recommend the book, and eagerly look forward to reading the next novel in this series: 1633.