1635: The Papal Stakes

Book Cover: 1635: Papal Stakes

1635: The Papal Stakes
by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon

Series: Ring of Fire Series by Eric Flint

Publisher: Baen Books

Published: 2012

648 Pages

rating: 5/5

I have enjoyed reading the novels from the 1632 Ring of Fire series. It is kind of a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur Court series, but set in the turbulent time of the 30 Years War. A West Virginia town is plunged into the middle of the 30 years war. They have to adapt to the times, but more importantly, the times have to adapt to them. It is a time with traditions that tend toward the medieval, but is transitioning to the modern world with the Americas, Printing Press, Reformation. I’ve been listening to a set of tapes on the Late Middle Ages, where the lecturer concludes that the “Modern” Period has only just begun, in the late 19th early 20th century. This appears to be short sighted. My inclination is to place the beginning of the modern period much earlier than that, before the “Glorious Revolution”, and perhaps exactly at the time of the 30 Years War.

It seems like I’ve been waiting a long time for this book [Nearly 6 yrs?]. Papal Stakes continues where Cannon Law left off, covering May-August of 1635 in Italy. It continues from the Pope’s escape from siege, and Frank and Giovanna Stones’ imprisonment. It has two slightly connected story lines, the protection and defense of the Pope, and the rescue of Frank and Giovanna. Continue reading

Fire with Fire by Charles Gannon

book cover

Fire with Fire
by Charles E. Gannon

Publisher: Baen Books

Published 4/15/2013

450 pages


series: yes? First book?

rating: 4/5

I recommend this book. This story makes extensive use of the hero’s  acute perception to successfully step through mine fields. It reminds me of Ender’s Game, which I read so long ago that I don’t remember much about it except that I enjoyed it immensely and its on my list of important SF books. It is not quite up to that level, but is an enjoyable read nevertheless.

This is a “First Contact” story. After a successful first contact with a less developed race, Earth is invited to join an interplanetary federation. But first, Earth must be accepted by the various factions of the alliance.

The intriguing technology of the story is “cryosleep”. It is used to kidnap the hero into the future, about 13  years, where he is shanghaied into the initial first contact mission.

Continue reading

Allan Quatermain by H. Rider Haggard

Barnes & Noble Book Cover

Allan Quatermain by H. Rider Haggard

Published 1887

rating: 4/5

This is the second Quatermain novel by Haggard, though the first I have read. Its predecessor is “King Solomon’s Mines” It is set in deepest darkest Africa, written at a time when Africa has only just being explored. Stanley had only recently found Livingstone (1871). Africa was an unknown continent, a proper setting for fantastic adventures, much like Mars 50 to 100 years latter. However, Haggard displays a knowledge of the people of Africa, the Zulu, and Masai. He spent time as a colonial official in South Africa. The end of the book includes some autobiographical material.

The story is set at the end of Quatermain’s life, and includes both his death and that of his heroic companion, the Zulu chief, Umslopogaas, Quatermain’s other traveling companions are his two friends, Sir Henry Curtis, Captain John Good and the cowardly Alphonse. Continue reading

Darkship Thieves, by Sarah Hoyt

Darkship Thieves - cover

Darkship Thieves
by Sarah Hoyt

Rating: 5/5

Series: Darkship Series by Sarah Hoyt

My introduction to Sarah Hoyt was through her web site “According to Hoyt”. I usually enjoy reading about her thoughts and ideas. She is an unabashed fan Robert Heinlein, and his influence shows in this book. I picked up this EPUB book as an introduction to her fiction. I’m glad I did, and enjoyed it very much.

The background story begins with an apparently biological solar energy storage system that is harvested by both Earth and a libertarian asteroid based society. The foreground story is of a young lady who escapes an apparent kidnapping. I was surprised and horrified by the ending, but it was carefully set up throughout the story. Continue reading

Some Thoughts on EBooks

Last year I finally bought a Nook (well, two – one for me and one for my wife). I’m intrigued by the capability of carrying a small library around with me. However, I was, and still am, a little apprehensive about “Terms of service”, and this limits my usage of the device.

I finally convinced myself that I could justify an ebook, in order to carry a number of manuals around. The easy availability PDF versions of manuals makes this conceivable. In addition, Project Gutenberg  provides a source for free, often classic, if dated ebooks.

Continue reading

Dog and Dragon by Dave Freer

Dog and Dragon
by Dave Freer

Series: Dragon’s Ring by Dave Freer

Dog and Dragon Cover - Baen ebooks

rating: 4/5

Its been a while since I’ve delved into a lot of science fiction and fantasy, but as I learn more about ebooks I might read more contemporary science fiction.  I obtained this novel as part of the Monthly Baen Bundle for April 2013.

“Dog and Dragon” is a sequel to “Dragon’s Ring” which I have not read. There are elements to it which I presume are related to the series. There are two themes to the story, first is the tail of the dog’s, [and dragon’s] search for its mistress [and apprentice] The second theme is the story of said mistress and magician’s apprentice. She appears suddenly in an unfamiliar place. It soon becomes apparent to everyone but her that this is a place where she belongs. This is the interesting part of the novel as she heals the land from it’s strife.

Continue reading