New York Times best-selling author Eric Flint continues his Ring of Fire series with esteemed sci-fi author Charles E. Gannon. Rome in the year 1635 finds Frank Stone and his pregnant wife Giovanna in the clutches of Cardinal Borgia, whose political machinations and papal assassins may soon elevate him to Pope Borgia. Now Frank, along with Harry Lefferts and his infamous Wrecking Crew, must protect Pope Urban VII from all manner of treachery.
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Audible - If you do a series do the whole series!!
I read many of the Ring of Fire series in hardcopy years ago and I was thrilled that it came out in audio form.
The problem with this book (which I had not read before) is that is you need the other 1634 and 1635 books to make sense of the story line here. But Audible is missing several of those books.
Here is Eric Flints Recommended order for the series: 1632 Ring of Fire 1633 1634: The Baltic War
(Somewhere along the way, after you’ve finished 1632, read the stories and articles in the first three paper edition volumes of the Gazette.)
1634: The Ram Rebellion 1634: The Galileo Affair 1634: The Bavarian Crisis
(Somewhere along the way, read the stories and articles in the fourth paper edition volume of the Gazette.)
Ring of Fire II 1635: The Cannon Law 1635: The Dreeson Incident 1635: The Tangled Web
(Somewhere along the way, read the stories in Gazette V.)
1635: The Papal Stakes 1635: The Eastern Front 1636: The Saxon Uprising Ring of Fire III 1636: The Kremlin Games
Basically the entire middle part of the story line (from after Baltic War through The Grantville Gazette V) is not available.
I understand the Gazettes not being there but the others are critical to understanding all the back story. For example, Sharron Nichols getting married (last seen crying over her loss of Hans Richter). And the Stone boy and his wife in prison when and how did they get there.
Eric Flint has written a number of books that are so good that he would be on my list of favorite authors if he hadn’t written such a high proportion of books that are so bad that I sometimes swear I will never again read anything with his name on it. (All of these bad books were co-authored with inferior writers.)
This book is part of Flint’s Ring of Fire series. The first book in the series, “1632", is very good, and the two books he wrote with David Weber are also good. The story begins in Central Germany in 1632 in the midst of the 30 Years War. But soon the action spreads to involve most of Europe. Because the action is so huge and over such vast areas, he has broken the books out into spinoffs which he calls threads. This book is the third in the Southern European Thread.
After reading the first book and the two collaborations with David Weber, I was so thrilled that I bought the first two books in the Southern European thread (both co-authored with Andrew Dennis) at the same time in hardback. I plowed through the first, “1634: The Galileo Affair,” but was so disgusted by it that I donated the second, “1635: The Cannon Law,” to my local library unopened. Periodically, I reread “1632" and being hungry for more of the same, I will try another of the spinoffs. I am usually disappointed. After reading “The Galileo Affair,” I would never read another book with Andrew Dennis’s name on it. But when this book came out, I saw that Flint had a new co-author for it, and the reviews indicated that this book was better than its two predecessors in this thread.
So I bought it....... Sigh.
There are several subplots going on at once in this book, and one of them follows the group that is trying to save the pope who has been deposed by a cardinal who plans to kill him and put himself in as the new pope. The bad guy, a Borgia, is portrayed as so evil and stupid that the only comparisons that come to me are the bad guys from super-hero comic books or Saturday morning cartoons. The supposed good-guy pope doesn’t have credentials much better. In this book it is mentioned that in history he is mainly known for his extreme nepotism. He supplied his family members with everything he could get his peculating hands on. And something I read about him elsewhere indicated that he had a habit of sending out squads of assassins to deal with people he couldn’t get out of his hair any other way. Yet in this book he is revered by everybody whether Catholic or not, and we the readers are subjected to long, dull arguments about the various tenets of twelfth century catholocism. Somewhere, Robert Heinlein remarked, “One man’s religion is another man’s belly laugh.” I am neither Catholic nor a Christian. I can’t really get into arguments about the infallibility of the pope or whether good people should consider it their duty to save the souls of unbelievers by burning them at the stake.
Another subplot involves efforts to rescue a young couple in the hands of the evil wannabe pope. These people are being held in comfort, although the threat of harsher treatment is always at hand. But meanwhile dozens of military personnel and hundreds of innocent civilians are being tortured and killed in the attempt to rescue two people. What? I just couldn’t see any justification for this. In real life some innocent civilians may be captured and held prisoner by the enemy, but usually the best way to rescue them is to win the war, not waste far more lives making ridiculous commando raids deep into enemy territory.
The book is waaaay too long for the material it covers. There are waaaay too many characters, making it difficult to remember who is a good guy and who isn’t. The storyline switches from one subplot to another waaaay too often so that it is impossible to get involved in any of them.
So: if you have read or listened to all the previous books in this series and liked them, you will probably like this one too. But for the majority of readers, I cannot recommend this book.