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

lternate History/Science Fiction

I have been reading the Ring of Fire series and just finished the next one to come out.  Next one!  Yes, it has not come out yet.  It was not a free ARC but and ARC no less.  Baen often releases books that are popular months ahead of time as an eARC for $15.00.  I had just finished the 1635:  The Cannon Law.  It ended with a cliff-hanger and I wanted to know what happened.  When I went to Baen I found that the sequel to The Cannon Law, The Papal Papers, had just been released as a eARC. 

Here is the description from Baen: 

#15 in the multiple best-selling Ring of Fire Series.

 It’s springtime in the Eternal City, 1635. But it’s no Roman holiday for uptimer Frank Stone and his pregnant downtime wife, Giovanna. They’re in the clutches of would be Pope Cardinal Borgia, with the real Pope—Urban VII—on the run with the renegade embassy of uptime Ambassador Sharon Nichols and her swashbuckling downtime husband, Ruy Sanchez de Casador y Ortiz. Up to their necks in papal assassins, power politics, murder, and mayhem, the uptimers and their spouses need help and they need it quickly.

 Special rescue teams—including Harry Lefferts and his infamous Wrecking Crew—converge on Rome to extract Frank and Gia. And an uptime airplane is on its way to spirit the Pope to safety before Borgia’s assassins can find him. It seems that everything is going to work out just fine in sunny Italy.

Until, that is, everything goes wrong. Now, whether they are prisoners in Rome or renegades protecting a pope on the run, it’s up to the rough and ready can do attitude of Grantville natives to once again escape the clutches of aristocratic skullduggery and ring in freedom for a war torn land.

 The Papal Stakes does not follow what is know as the main line characters.  Instead it follows Sharon Nichols and Ruy Sanchez de Casador y Ortiz . Frank Storn, Gia Stone and several others from the previous book.  Harry Lefferts and his Wrecking Crew show up in this book along with some new characters.  This is a action packed book and as a result it does not have a lot of character development.

 That said the action is great and keeps the story arc moving along.  The action is running parallel but with little interaction to previous books. There are surprises in the book.  The two goals, freeing Frank and Gia and saving the Pope, flow smoothly but with unexpected results.  All of the action helps set up the next books in the series.  While The Papal Stakes runs parallel to the action in other books it sets the scene for blending the results of all the books some time in the future.

 I loved the writing in The Papal Stakes.  This is a story that flows smoothly and is focused on the problems the characters face. Some of the books in this series spend so much time world building that the story slows down.  That was not true here.  Any world building was done is small doses and blended into the action.  I think some of the difference is the different authors in the series.  Eric Flint keeps control of the series but allows other authors to write in he series.  This one is co-authored by Flint and Charles Gannon.  They are a good writing team.

 The Papal Stakes is a great addition to the Ring of Fire series.  If you can’t wait to read the book go to Baen and get the eARC.  If you can wait buy the book when it comes out in October.

Baen published 1635: The Papal Stakes by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon in 2012.

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