The Thirty Years War continues to ravage 17th century Europe, but a new force is gathering power and influence: the Confederated Principalities of Europe, an alliance between Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, and the West Virginians from the 20th century led by Mike Stearns who were hurled centuries into the past by a mysterious cosmic accident. While the old entrenched rulers and manipulators continue to plot against this new upstart nation, everyday life goes on in Grantville, the town lost in time, with librarians, firefighters, and garbage collectors trying to make do under unusual circumstances. And what better place for an undercover spy from France than working with the garbage collectors, examining 20th century machines that others throw out and copying the technology. There are more sinister agents at work, however. One of them, Ducos, almost succeeded in assassinating the Pope, but his plan was ruined by quick action by a few Americans. Now, the would-be assassin not only has a score to settle, but has also decided on two excellent targets: Grantville's leader Mike Stearns and his wife Rebecca.
Eric Flint is the author of the New York Times best seller 1634: The Galileo Affair (with Andrew Dennis)--a novel in his top-selling "Ring of Fire" alternate history series. His first novel for Baen, Mother of Demons, was picked by Science Fiction Chronicle as a best novel of the year. His 1632, which launched the ring of Fire series, won widespread critical praise, as from Publishers Weekly, which called him "an SF author of particular note, one who can entertain and edify in equal, and major, measure." A longtime labor union activist with a master's degree in history, he currently resides in northwest Indiana with his wife Lucille. Virginia DeMarce, after jobs as peculiar as counting raisins for the Calif. Dept. of Agriculture, received her Ph.D. in Early Modern European History from Stanford University. She has published a book on German military settlers in Canada after the American Revolution and has served as president of the National Genealogical Society. She taught at Northwest Missouri State University and at George Mason University. She has had stories in the Ring of Fire anthology and Grantville Gazette (#1), and more stories in the online Grantville