List of 1632 characters (fictional)

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This list is based on the 1632 series, also known as the 1632-verse or Ring of Fire series, an alternate history book series and sub-series.

The list is maintained alphabetically, by last name then first name, but individuals of particular note may have their own section as a link to point from other articles.

Balthazar Abrabanel[edit]

Balthazar Abrabanel is a Jewish Marrano physician, courier and sometimes spy, is a fictional member of the historical Abrabanel family. He inadvertently arrived in the outskirts of Grantville while fleeing for his life with his daughter Rebecca Abrabanel. While having a heart attack in a coach, Balthazar was tended to by Dr. James Nichols. The posse led by Mike Stearns dealt roughly with the pursuing mercenaries chasing the small family. He later recovered and settled in Grantville, where he gave his blessing to the marriage of Mike Stearns to Rebecca and also contacted his extended family, and secured financial backing for what became the New United States.

Bernadette Adducci[edit]

Bernadette Adducci was a former nun, policewoman and social worker in Grantville; aunt of Tony Adducci in Basel. In 1634: The Bavarian Crisis Bernadette provides a diplomatic conduit for the escaping Archduchess of Austria in her flight from Maximilian I to the arms of Don Fernando, King in the Netherlands.

Tony Adducci, Jr.[edit]

Tony Adducci, Jr. is a radio operator that serves Ambassadoress Diane Jackson in the embassy to Basel, Switzerland in 1634: The Bavarian Crisis. Under her directed hints, Tony manages to creatively "lose in processing" a message he has just verbalized to her as he transcribed the Morse code, enabling her to honestly say in a confrontational meeting just after that she has "seen no such message", which helps the negotiations as the spill over from the crisis hits the politics in Basel.

Susanna Allegretti[edit]

Susanna Allegretti is an apprentice seamstress from the South Tyrol region of northern Italy, and frequently at odds with her new mistress—head seamstress —Frau Stecher—who is a spy for the Habsburg factotums keeping an eye on the Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria. The two young women manage to form a relationship nonetheless, and Maria Anna charges Susanna with assisting her advisor and friend, the dowager sister of the Spanish diplomat Cardinal Bedmar, Dona Mencia de Mendoza.

Jimmy Andersen[edit]

Jimmy Andersen is one of the four bright, somewhat nerdy, and inseparable senior war gamers who are suddenly "orphaned" by the Ring of Fire and left on their own. Jimmy evolved into a communications specialist, while in New United States Army 1631–1633; then SoTF National Guard as a radio operator 1634–1635; and later in the USE Army, on Mike Stearns' staff June 1635. Jimmy Andersen was in the party from Grantville sent to Amsterdam to warn the Dutch of impending French treachery of before the siege of 1633–1634.

David Bartley[edit]

David Bartley is a distant cousin of Jeff Higgins, and the Co-Founder and Stockholder of Higgins Sewing Machine Company" and CEO of "Other People's Money", a very successful Grantville Investment Fund. Grandson of Delia Higgins. He first appeared in the Grantville Gazette I story, "The Sewing Circle". David later established the "Becky" as the official currency of the USE Third Army while on campaign in Saxony.

Eddie Cantrell[edit]

Cantrell first appeared as one of the four teens (affectionately called the "Four Musketeers" by Stearns) rescuing the Richter family in the end phase of the Battle of the Crapper in the NTL summer of 1631. In the David Weber short story: "In the Navy" (Ring of Fire, winter '32–'33 NTL) he convinces Mike Stearns that an ironclad navy is needed to help Gustavus Adolphus fight a war efficiently. Thrust into working for John Chandler Simpson, who originally opposed Mike Stearns and his policies, Eddie's unique character helps to transform Simpson, and the two develop a close but unspoken relationship which verges on father-and-son. Cantrell later becomes a Navy Lieutenant-Commander.

He appears in several stories in Ring of Fire: In one story Eddie is involved in a gun fight with downtimers stealing firearms from the chaotic environs of Grantville.

In 1633, Lt. Cantrell heads up the mixed forces charged with defending Wismar Bay from the invading League of Ostend forces. In the action, he is lamed and captured by the Danish forces. In 1634: The Baltic War, as a prisoner of war, he falls in love with and eventually weds King Christian IV of Denmark's morganatic daughter Anne Cathrine.

Eddie is the main character in 1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies

Henry Dreeson[edit]

Henry Dreeson is the mayor of Grantville. After Grantville was sent into the past, Dreeson and the town council realized they were not well equipped to handle the situation, and so proposed the creation of an emergency committee which was led by Mike Stearns. Dreeson continued on in the position of mayor, and was tasked with managing the town's financial resources, rationing, and the like. He later married Veronica Richter during the Ring of Fire short story "Biting Time". Later on, in the 1635: The Dreeson Incident, Henry Dreeson and Enoch Wiley were assassinated in front of Grantsville's new synagogue by French Huguenot followers of Michel Ducos.

Veronica Dreeson[edit]

Veronica Dreeson was the grandmother of Gretchen Richter Higgins and Hans Richter. She became a founder of primary schools and eventual spouse of Grantville Mayor Henry Dreeson. She is one of the principle protagonists in 1634: The Bavarian Crisis, returning to her husband's estate and old home town near Amberg in the Upper Palatinate. She accompanies a strategic trade mission and, with Mary Simpson, triggers one part of the Bavarian Crisis. She has also figured into several key Grantville Gazette tales.

Michel Ducos[edit]

Michel Ducos is a French Huguenot extremist who first appears in 1634: The Galileo Affair.

Karl Jurgen Edelmann[edit]

Karl Jurgen Edelman is guildmaster of Jena and father of Magdalena Stone who initially rejects the suit of Tom "Stoner" Stone in the Mercedes Lackey in the Ring of Fire short story "To Dye For". Despite Magda's age, which makes a downtime marriage unlikely, Edelmann refuses when he learns that Stoner is impoverished, unlike most residents of Grantville.

Greg Ferrara[edit]

Greg Ferrara is the head of the science department of Grantville High School and is a key figure in the Emergency Town Meeting three days after the Ring of Fire. Greg is named to the Grantville Emergency Committee by chairman Michael Stearns in their first "Gear down strategy" session and sub-vocally earmarked by Stearns as his unofficial "Minister of the arms Complex".

Dan Frost[edit]

Dan Frost is the Chief of Police and was a casualty during the immediate aftermath of the Ring of Fire event when he was wounded by Spanish soldiers of Tilly's army early in 1632. Later, he single-handedly stalls a charge across a bridge by a rampaging Croatian cavalry, using two modern handguns. In the series as a whole, he became a background figure acting as a security consultant to the new order settling into the plains of Germany.

Jere Haygood[edit]

"Uptimers" (Grantvillers from 2000 C.E.) Jere Haygood and Pete McDougal are stationed in the sacked and destroyed city of Magdeburg which is being rebuilt as the continental capital. Both make their appearance in the series in David Weber's tale "In the Navy". Haygood is on loan to Gustav's administration shortly after the formation of the Confederated Principalities of Europe in the fall of 1632 and the following winter. There he assists John Chandler Simpson in siting a shipyard for the proposed naval construction by the |New United States. Haygood headed up one Grantville's Civil Engineering firms and is detailed to assist the king's officials in planning a modern city. Improvement of the river and canal transport network is vital. Because "good roads" are brief but limited cobblestone main streets in larger cities, and the roads in between are mere cart tracks— overland, goods are mainly shipped by mule train. In conjunction with Admiral-to-be Simpson, Haygood, with a long background as a civil war re-enactor, helps to convince Gustav's officer corps to reorganize the army into a smaller more professional form using newly designed firearms with bayonets (instead of two-thirds pikes and one-third muskets).

Jeff Higgins[edit]

Jeff Higgins is a teen and husband of Gretchen Richter. They married after he rescued her from victimization as a camp follower. On the day of the Ring of Fire, Higgins's family had left for the day, and he was effectively left as an orphan. Despite his bulk, he is never confident before a fight, but once engaged he finds a focus as a fighter.

Ernst Hoffman[edit]

Ernst Hoffman is a corrupt Protestant mercenary leader who was extorting money and lording over the citizens in the walled town of Badenburg under the guise of protecting the inhabitants during the Thirty Years' War. He and his mercenary company did absolutely nothing to protect the region outside the town walls. Hoffman's band of about five-hundred initially participated in the Battle of the Crapper, but broke to run before the action was fully joined. When the Catholic army was broken and defeated by the Americans and Alexander Mackay's mercenaries, Hoffman and his men took the opportunity to loot, pillage, and rape amongst the enemy baggage train and camp followers. This, however, was expected by Mike Stearns. Hoffman and his mercenaries were immediately captured by the Americans. Hoffman was subjected to an exhausting and embarrassing chase when he was spotted by several Armored Personnel Carriers. After finally collapsing from exhaustion, Hoffman was then personally handcuffed by Stearns, ending his reign over Badenburg.

Willie Ray Hudson[edit]

Wille Ray Hudson is the only Grantviller appointed to the Emergency Committee that has any practical experience with government, having been on the state legislature of West Virginia for a number of terms. He is considered by many (including Mike Stearns) as the best farmer in Grantville, and so is appointed to the Grantville Constitutional Sub-committee. His primary role is making sure Grantville and the influx of refugees have sufficient food— Chairman of Agriculture co-ordination and rationing. Wille Ray accordingly works closely with both the Resource committee and Rationing committees and plays a role in many of the ground-level-view stories published in The Grantville Gazettes. His wife, Vera, is the grandmother of Melissa Jenkins, a major character in 1635: The Dreeson Incident; Willie Ray has several appearances and more mentions.

Frank Jackson[edit]

Frank Jackson is a former Vietnam War veteran and United Mine Workers union member. He was appointed to the Emergency Committee Cabinet by Stearns just three days after the Ring of Fire. He became head of the town's armed forces which were formed around a nucleus of UMWA miners who had military service. With Stearns in overall command at the battles of the New United States of the joint forces of Alexander Mackay and Jackson's army, Jackson led the NUS forces through all of 1631–1632 until after the governmental reorganization in October 1633 created the United States of Europe—where part of the bargain with Gustavus was that the up-timer forces would be consolidated with the king of Sweden's other armies. In 1633 he became New United States army chief of staff, by American tradition the active forces supreme commander under the short lived Confederated Principalities of Europe governmental structure. By 1634: The Baltic War, Jackson was attached to Gustav Adolf's personal staff as liaison for up-timer military technology, as he'd served in the US Army as a sergeant, and needed further training, at least logistically, to actively lead large organizations of troops.

Anne Jefferson[edit]

Anne Jefferson is a registered nurse, classmate of Sharon Nichols and native West Virginian who, like Nichols, was visiting Grantville for the occasion of her friend Rita Stearns' wedding. She was anticipating her own wedding just six weeks later, but her betrothed was left behind up-time. She first appears in the short story "A Matter of Consultation" where she and Nichols face off against Dr. William Harvey, the "discoverer" of the circulatory system. The two nurses "give him some pointers", including a humbling dressing down about medicine and the abilities of women and medicines. Concurrently, Anne Jefferson meets her future husband, historical diplomat and mathematician Adam Olearius who'd been acting as guide and translator for Harvey.

She is an important character in the widely varied negotiations set inside the Siege of Amsterdam, which begins with her taking center stage in the three Flint Gazette stories that were added to the print released versions: "Portraits", "Steps in the Dance", and "Postage Due". Her influential role continues within the siege in each of 1633, 1634: The Bavarian Crisis and 1634: The Baltic War. The related Gazette tales explain a typically Stearnsian bit of legerdemain – to improve communications in Europe by expediting a trans-European common postal system which will in the long run undermine the opposition. Even the canny Cardinal Richelieu fails to appreciate the danger of a freer flow of ideas and concepts across borders (which of course cannot be limited to just technology, but also include political ideas) to the established aristocratic hierarchy. Hence Jefferson's role becomes very important in Stearn's long range schemes to build democracy upon the graves of aristocratic institutions, putting Jefferson, like Gretchen Richter at the heart of the revolution in thought behind the sweeping neohistorical events related in the long fiction of the series.

By the conclusion of The Baltic War and The Bavarian Crisis, Anne was betrothed to Olearius and planning a life together in Amsterdam where Jefferson has established herself as a Doctor and built a family practice amidst the siege, whilst many of the city's established doctors had fled the city. With the help of the now firmly established Dutch Committees of Correspondence, this will help break the power of another guild—the guild system being another authoritarian institution deemed as repressive and opposed to modern freedoms and thought.

Harry Lefferts[edit]

Harry Lefferts is a brash minded union organizer and troubleshooter. He evolves in the series from being reckless to a more dangerous and shrewd leader of The Wrecking Crew, Mike Stearns' protective detail and special operations (commando) team. In 1634: The Baltic War Harry's team infiltrates London, and rescues the embassy imprisoned by King Charles I. In Italy, his reputation has led many wealthy and otherwise idle younger sons of noblemen to emulate his style of dress and personal mannerisms. The youths are collectively referred to as Lefferti.

Marla Linder[edit]

Marla Linder, born Kristen Marlena Linder, is a Grantville musician of great talent. She befriends the crippled down-timer musician Franz Scylwester in a series of connected stories that explore the influence of up-timer music and instruments upon the down-time neohistory. The stories essentially make up one long tale, beginning with "The Sound of Music" which explore the impact of up-timer musical knowledge, instruments and sheet music on down-timer culture and music.

Marla, who sings at least as well as she plays keyboard instruments, has been devastated by the Ring of Fire and had held great ambitions to attend a prestigious musical institute. In the first story, while on stage, her last name isn't even mentioned. Scylwester has similar psychic wounds from being deliberately maimed and losing his career as a crack violinist. Carrico's Franz and Marla stories explore the new world of music enabled by Grantville's musical knowledge, but are very sensitive and depict the two characters psychologically assisting each other to come to grips with the new reality and undergo healing. Along the way they discover the wonders of one another.

The two appear in the novel 1634: The Baltic War and in "Command Performance", where Franz gets demonstrates his renewed mastery, having learned to play left handed, and publicly asks Ms. Linder for her hand as partial conclusion to a high society concert hosted by Mary Simpson—the storyline in the anthology Ring of Fire II. The same concert is backdrop for the entrance of Admiral John Chandler Simpson in the aftermath of the industrial accident that begins The Baltic War.

Alexander Mackay[edit]

Alexander Mackay is the Captain of a Scottish cavalry of Green Regiment under the service of Gustavus Adolphus. He and his cavalry first encounter Grantville while scouting the Thuringian countryside near Badenburg and is surprised by patrolling American miners (veterans of the United States Armed Forces) in camouflage clothing.

Mackay's is the first unit of Gustavus Adolphus's forces to encounter the Grantvillers. Mackay is screening well in advance of Gustav's army, in effect on detached duty stationed at Badenburg to keep an eye on Count Tilly's Catholic forces. His independent mission is to search for and find courier Balthazar Abrabanel who has money from the Protestant burghers of Amsterdam for King Gustavus Adolphus. Mackay, who is reminiscent of Tom Sawyer in appearance, "falls hard" for senior cheerleader captain and sharpshooter Julie Sims when the Grantville Emergency Committee's cabinet invites Mackay and Andrew Lennox, along with their whole scouting patrol, into Grantville High School for lunch in the school cafeteria. Later that day, Mackay suggests an alliance and Stearns and Mackay agree in principle to act jointly to protect the various regions of southern Thuringia in the summer of 1631. Along with the New United States up-timer army formed under Frank Jackson, the two forces join to defend Badenburg and liberate it as well from the Protestant mercenary leader, Ernst Hoffman's battalion sized unit which has been extorting support from the town while allegedly protecting it.

Julie Mackay[edit]

Julie Mackay (née Sims) is the daughter of Grantville dentist Henry Sims, who captivates Scottish Captain Alexander MacKay when he first enters Grantville High School early in the book 1632. She is Grantville's sharpest sharpshooter and had been training for the Olympic biathlon. In the latter part of 1632, she turns out to be an excellent sniper, and one of a handful of women capable of passing the physical requirements of the Grantville army. She eventually married Mackay.

In 1633, Julie later traveled with Alex and their infant daughter to Scotland, serving alongside Alex as potential individuals in providing support for the Grantville delegation to London, should the worst comes to happen to them, which did in the form of imprisonment in the Tower of London. In 1634: The Baltic War, Julie and Alex join with Harry Lefferts and his Wrecking Crew to stage what turns out to be a massive escape from the Tower of London, with Julie providing sniper fire from across the Thames River. The Grantville diplomats manage to bring with them fellow-inmates the Earl of Strafford and his family, Oliver Cromwell, and Archbishop Laud, and about half the Yeomen Warders who were their guards, the Warders' families, and three soldiers who were framed by the Earl of Cork for a death that was in no way their fault.

Melissa Mailey[edit]

Melissa Mailey, born of the Boston Brahmins and known as the "Schoolmarm from Hell", was Grantville High's history teacher and an invaluable resource after the Ring of Fire. She helped draft the first Constitution, and was a prominent member of the Emergency Cabinet. A noted feminist and liberal activist with a history of arrest for civil disobedience in the sixties and seventies, Mailey found her views and principles harshly challenged by the realities of 17th century Germany, but was eventually able to adjust, though not without anguish. She became not only a critical part of the new government, but a counselor and mother figure for many of Grantville's young women, most notably Julie Mackay. In this role she found herself softening, losing much of the brittle aloofness that had previously characterized her; the novel 1632 notes that after half a lifetime spent among West Virginians, she had "finally adopted them for her own."

She also played a prominent role as a politician; she became leader of the Fourth of July Party and spoke often at political rallies.

To her own considerable surprise, Mailey found herself falling in love with Dr. James Nichols, eventually throwing her notorious propriety to the wind when he moved into her house. She subsequently thought of him as her "husband in everything but name", and Nichols' daughter Sharon came to think of her as her stepmother.

Lawrence Mazzare[edit]

Lawrence (Larry) Mazzare was originally the local Catholic priest of Grantville, later the USE ambassador to the Most Serene Republic of Venice. After Alex Mackay saves Pope Urban's life, Urban makes Larry a Cardinal, and appoints him the "Cardinal-Protector of the United States of Europe".

Pete McDougal[edit]

Pete McDougal is one of a handful of up-timers stationed in the sacked and destroyed city of Magdeburg which Gustavus is rebuilding as his continental capital. Along with Jere Haygood he makes his appearance in the series in David Webers tale "In the Navy". McDougal, a former UMWA official and friend of Mike Stearns, is acting as Mike's direct representative in the capital, an ombudsman and facilitator heading up the New United States embassy and co-ordinating the Americans assistance to Gustavus' people. Ex-CEO John Chandler Simpson clashes with McDougal over security issues, in particularly the lack of military bearing and discipline as evinced in the casual way another American, Matt Lowry, is standing guard over the New United States embassy.

Noelle Murphy[edit]

Noelle Murphy (who later changed her name to Noelle Stull) is a young uptimer employed by the New United States state department, who becomes something of an undercover troubleshooter. Uncertain of her vocation, she has a talent for looking at things a bit differently and so in the world of bureaucrats, is a somewhat uncomfortable subordinate to have. Having an unhappy family situation in Grantville—she is literally a bastard born out of wedlock, she is contemplating becoming a nun when Mike Stearns and Ed Piazza empower her as a special envoy to investigate likely sales of advanced guns to enemy countries. She later acquits herself well in the conclusion and climax scene of the Ram Rebellion, and appears again as a major character in Ring of Fire II. In later spin-off stories in the Grantville Gazettes it is revealed she was actually born in the valid marriage of an inadvertent bigamy situation.

Four Musketeers[edit]

Half-disparaging, half-humorous, and half-well-intentioned name given to the four bright, somewhat nerdy, and inseparable senior war gamers who are suddenly "orphaned" by the Ring of Fire and left on their own. They take on a large role in 1632, many short stories, and other sequels.

James Nichols[edit]

James Nichols is an African-American doctor and was a visitor to Grantville during the wedding of Tom Simpson and Rita Stearns. He was named the New United States Chief of health, medical care and sanitation in the days of the Grantville Emergency Committee rule, and was a member of the Emergency Committee Cabinet. A combat veteran of the Vietnam War via the Marines, Nichols was from the rough side of town in Chicago's black ghetto and was a member of the street gang the Blackstone Rangers. He accompanies Stearns and Police Chief Dan Frost immediately after the Ring of Fire, and his presence indubitably led to the survival of several persons who would have perished, including Chief Frost and heart attack victim Balthazar Abrabanel. He later takes parts in many minor sequences, including the introduction of the Stone Family in the Ring of Fire story "To Dye For".

He also developed a romantic relationship with Melissa Mailey, even asking her to marry him (her response was, characteristically, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"). He took her response in stride, happy to simply be with her. Mailey did at one point note that she thought of Nichols as her "husband in everything but name", but was content to leave things as they were.

Sharon Nichols[edit]

Sharon Nichols is the daughter of James Nichols, and was a bridesmaid of Rita Simpson, accounting for her and her father's presence in Grantville on the occasion of the Ring of Fire. She is an important character who has played a role in "A Matter of Consultation" where she and Anne Jefferson give William Harvey a few lessons about medicine. She was betrothed to Hans Richter, and mourned his loss following his death in 1633. In 1634: The Galileo Affair and its direct sequel 1635: The Cannon Law, she has been promoted into the position of USE 'Ambassadoress' [sic] to the Most Serene Republic of Venice and the Papal States. She finds new love, and marries Ruy Sanchez de Casador y Ortiz, factotum to the Spanish Ambassador.

Gretchen Richter[edit]

Gretchen Richter first appears in 1632, becoming the founder and leader of the Committees of Correspondence. Rescued by Jeff Higgins from rape in the life she was forced into as a camp follower, Gretchen was quick to grasp uptime concepts of democracy and human rights. She spreads these ideas with fervor, and soon Committees of Correspondence are appearing nearly everywhere in Central Europe. She is the granddaughter of Veronica Dreeson and sister to Hans Richter. Gretchen figures prominently in cameo appearances in virtually all of the books, or is at least mentioned, as the bane of the European autocratic nobility of high and low estates.

Hans Richter[edit]

Hans Richter is the younger brother to Gretchen. He becomes the first German aircraft pilot, capturing the imagination of the common German townsmen and peasants as he proves that the New United States government is indeed for all the people, not just up-timers from Grantville, in 1633. He also becomes engaged to Sharon Nichols. Hans heroically died in attacking the combined Danish-French fleets in the Battle of Wismar, for which he was posthumously awarded the first Congressional Medal of Honor. News of his death comes close to inspiring German commoners to riot and rebel against the German princes and uptimers. After Mike Stearns turns the situation around, he leverages the unrest to drive home a new accommodation with Gustav II Adolf, and becomes the first prime minister of the new Sweden-led empire: the United States of Europe.

Roth family[edit]

Morris and Judith Roth are the only Jewish residents of uptime Grantville. Stearns solicits shelter for Balthasar and Rebecca Abrabanel in the Roth home during the aftermath of the Battle of the farm house. Although the Roths do not keep a kosher orthodox home, Judith welcomes the Abrabanels and makes them comfortable. The alliance between the down-timer Scots cavalry unit and the up-timers is agreed in the Roth's living room, and their kitchen and one of its large tables becomes the war room where the two sides plan out a campaign to protect southern Thuringia from Count Tilly's approaching Mercenary forces. In "The Wallenstein Gambit", Morris is persuaded to cooperate with Albrecht Wallenstein in Prague in hopes of averting a future he dreads: the biggest pogrom in history prior to the Holocaust. Judith is the first to understand the upper class role and lifestyle they must adopt in Prague. When Wallenstein and his army are away fighting in "Second Battle of White Mountain", the city is attacked, and Morris is surprised to find himself being something of a hero, leading Prague's Jewish citizens in successfully defending against Heinrich Holk's mercenaries. The Roths also play a major role in The Anaconda Project, and help out in 1636: The Vienna Waltz.

Franz Sylwester[edit]

Franz Sylwester is a crippled down and out down-timer musician – and former maestro violinist introduced in "The Sound of Music" – who was victimized by a rival for his prestigious post as first violinist of the Cathedral of Mainz. His left (fingering) hand was deliberately mutilated by his rival, such that he can no longer play the violin. Sylwester makes his way eking out an existence writing correspondence for the illiterate. He gradually wends his way to Grantville, where he is exposed to modern Rock and Roll (which appalls him), but also to modern musical knowledge from "Master Herr Professor Wendell" (the high school music teacher), and a local girl, Marla Linder, a singer-musician that befriends him. From both he learns about the breadth and depth of modern musical instruments and the systematized musical theory available from these strange people from the future. He also becomes emotionally entangled with Marla, while fighting off feelings of unworthiness since he is crippled and cannot hope to support her. Author David Carrico brings the two characters back in a succession of stories beginning with "Heavy Metal Music", in effect serializing stories told primarily from Sylwester's viewpoint, and uses the character, with the help of the good-natured Marla, to explore interactions between the 1630s musical world and the intriguing blended culture coming into existence in central Europe.

At Marla's suggestion, Franz reverses the order of the four strings of his violin and learns to play it left-handed (holding the bow in his left hand and fingering with is undamaged right hand), and in "Command Performance" Franz demonstrates his newly learned left-handed mastery of the violin at a triumphant debut concert. Hosted by the redoubtable "Dame of Magdeburg" Mary Simpson, the concert also features Marla and the expanding circle of her down-timer students. The same tale is used as background to introduce the Simpsons into the novel 1634: The Baltic War toward the conclusion of the events around the industrial accident and river set ablaze that begins the novel.

Simpson family[edit]

Rita Stearns Simpson, and husband Tom Simpson have the distinction of opening 1632 in scenes shared by Mike Stearns and James Nichols. They are celebrating with their guests at their wedding reception when the Ring of Fire happens. Rita, younger sister raised by Mike Stearns since their father's death, is off with her bridesmaids and visiting other guests, enjoying the best day of her life, radiant as all brides should be, while her new husband and brother are trading severe looks with the groom's parents. Tom Simpson opens the flagship novel with a scene where he is apologizing to Mike for his parents' attitude.

Stearns has paid for the wedding and reception, but it is clearly not up to the standards of the big-city big shot snobbish elder John and Mary Simpson, industrialist and socialite both—and they are not hiding their attitudes. Subsequent events in 1632 lead Tom and Rita into total estrangement from John and Mary Simpson for several years.

John Simpson[edit]

John Chandler Simpson was introduced in 1632 as a snob who thinks he is better than the West Virginians attending his son's wedding to Mike Stearns' sister Rita, who of course is beneath the Simpsons' station in life. Throughout 1632 he displays arrogance, wanting to keep Grantville to itself, not share Grantville's resources, and not allow immigration. His position against allowing refugees to vote reminds Stearns of Jim Crow Laws. Gathering supporters, he runs against Stearns, but is defeated. He and his wife Mary become completely estranged from their son Tom. He is rehabilitated somewhat in the Ring of Fire story "In the Navy", where Mike Stearns wisely taps him to lead the as-yet-nonexistent USE Navy. He is almost assassinated by agents of Richelieu, and ascends further in esteem and importance in limited scenes of 1633 as a somewhat likeable strong character of principles that will naturally have occasional clashes with the likes of Mike Stearns or Frank Jackson. His past is also revealed in conversations with Stearns, where he states that he was a career Navy officer who only became a businessman after his father died, leaving the family firm to him. Showing how much he has changed, he asked Stearns to help arrange a reconciliation contact with his estranged son Tom and daughter-in-law Rita Stearns, which Mike says he will try to do.

In 1634: The Baltic War, he becomes sympathetic, almost likable, remaining somewhat stiff-necked but a true hero of the book as the navy he carefully builds up takes center stage. As the Ironclads leave Magdeburg, Simpson has to suppress himself from issuing commands, and stand as an observer while a seventeenth century captain maneuvers the ship. It is a telling personal moment, for after squelching his impulse, Simpson privately admits to himself that developing his little fleet is unquestionably the most satisfactory accomplishment, in a lifetime filled with many achievements.

Mary Simpson[edit]

Mary Simpson is the wife John Simpson, and is a socialite with a penchant for organization and fund raising. She did not approve of Rita Stearns as a wife for her son, and admits in 1633 that she treated Rita horribly. She becomes a major figure in Magdeburg society, arranging parties, founding schools and doing important charitable work. She confronts John with the mistakes they both made, and convinces him to urge Gustavus Adolphus to implement tax breaks for charitable works that will bring civilizing culture to Germany. She also tells him she wants to make contact with their son again.

Although she and John Simpson assume that uptime "high society" was no different than downtime nobility, Mike Stearns explains that her common courtesy to her servants is renowned and is partly responsibly for her title, "The American Lady". He insists that she appear on the palace steps with other important figures whose presence and speeches help to quell a riot, and although she is terrified, she does it. In 1634: The Bavarian Crisis she accompanies Veronica Dreeson and a trade mission to the Upper Palatinate.

Rita Stearns Simpson[edit]

Rita Stearns Simpson is a nurse, the sister of Mike Stearns, and Tom Simpson's wife. Their wedding reception was interrupted by the Ring of Fire. Subsequent events in 1632 lead to Tom and Rita into total estrangement from John and Mary Simpson.

In emerging Early Modern Europe, professional diplomat was not yet a profession and such roles were generally filled by a relation of the "ruler". Since Rita is the sister of Mike Stearns, at that time president of the NUS of the CPoE, she is an acceptable choice for Ambassador. In 1633 she agrees to be the figurehead of an embassy to the court of Charles I of England. Tom accompanies Rita on the mission to London. Without even meeting them, Charles places the party under house arrest, confining them in the Tower of London. Rita provides medical care for the guards, prisoners and families in the tower, earning their loyalty by preventing the diseases which are sweeping the city. After nine months in captivity, the group is rescued in 1634: The Baltic War by Harry Lefferts' commando group, the Wrecking Crew. They escape down the Thames and are met and picked up by a ship brought over by Mike Stearns and carried to The Netherlands.

Tom Simpson[edit]

Tom Simpson is the son of John Simpson and Mary Simpson. He weds Mike's sister Rita Stearns, much to his parents' disgust. John and Mary's treatment of Rita leads to Tom's estrangement from them, but Mike Stearns is as good as his word; he manages to arrange a reconciliation between Tom and his parents. Though not quite NFL material, Tom is a huge man and a varsity college football player. In 1632 he joins the New United States Armed Forces out of lack of anything more suitable for his skill set. His talent for picking up languages helps transition German refugees into the nascent USE (United States of Europe) army.

Henry Sims[edit]

Henry Sims is a dentist and brother-in-law of Frank Jackson. He gave his daughter Julie her preferred rifle. In a bit of romantic comedy, he fixes Alexander Mackay's teeth. Dr. Sims has run out of anesthetic, but Alex would face worse than a dentist's drill to look good to Julie, his "Queen of Hearts". Like Mike Stearns and Frank Jackson, Henry doesn't care much for Julie's football-captain boy-friend Chip Jenkins, but all approve of Captain Alexander Mackay. How much the dental work helped we never find out, but Alex does win Julie's heart, and toward the end of 1632 they get married. In the Virginia DeMarce short story "Biting Time", he offers support as family forces rally to convince Veronica Richter to be fitted for false teeth. His assistance is also implied at the end of "Here Comes Santa Claus" by K.D. Wentworth, when Wallenstein makes it clear he'd like repairs to his jaw and teeth, which were shattered by a bullet from Julie's rifle almost half a mile away.

Michael "Mike" Stearns[edit]

Michael Stearns is the most frequently appearing central character. A United Mine Workers Union official, Stearns dropped out of college and was a prize fighter for several years in California, where he lost his lady love under tragic circumstances. Stearns returned to a union career and raised his younger sister Rita when his father took ill and died some years before the time Ring of Fire. Having a core group of other union men around him at his sister's wedding, organizers like Harry Lefferts and friend Frank Jackson, Mike and his men are deputized by Chief of Police Dan Frost when he is shot by one of Tilly's mercenaries shortly after the Ring of Fire. He opposes John Simpson a few days later in a town meeting, and finds at the end of the encounter he has been elected by acclaim as Head of an Emergency Committee responsible for the town's early efforts to survive the war-torn early seventeenth century. Subsequently, he is elected president of the New United States and later appointed by Gustavus Adolphus as the first prime minister of the United States of Europe.

Rebecca Stearns[edit]

Rebecca (Abrabanel) Stearns is a Sephardic Jew, daughter of Balthazar Abrabanel. She and her father were rescued by the UMWA posse. She fell in love with and eventually married Mike Stearns in 1632, and became a prominent political figure and diplomat in her own right. When Mike becomes Prime Minister of the USE she becomes his co-ruler, an unheard-of position for a Jew in Europe. In 1636: The Saxon Uprising she masterminds the defeat of Axel Oxenstierna's counter-revolution.

Stone Family[edit]

The Stone family was introduced by series guest writer Mercedes Lackey in the Ring of Fire story "To Dye For". Headed by aging pharmacology student Tom "Stoner" Stone, the family is the remnant of a failed Grantville commune. Long before the Ring of Fire, the other hippies had departed, taking their girl children, but leaving three young boys with Tom as a "good role-model".

Tom Stone[edit]

Tom "Stoner" Stone is a laid back non-businessman who "Tuned in and Dropped Out" in the early seventies, leaving Pharmacology graduate school at Purdue University to join the Lothlorien Commune outside Grantville. After the commune fell apart, Tom took care of the three boys like they were his own, although only one is for sure. In addition to teaching himself subsistence farming, he provided for his small family by raising improved strains of Cannabis in a home-built greenhouse and selling it to an out-of-town contact to avoid trouble with the law. He successfully bribed the kids to keep it secret by promising not to reveal their real names.

In the Ring of Fire story "To Dye For", Tom is frustrated by his affection for Magda, whose guildmaster father has deemed him unsuitable due to his lack of material wealth. Initially, Tom's colorful tie-dyed shirts had signaled "money" in a society where only the rich can afford colors. Tom refuses to accept any profit for his cannabis, since it is for medical purposes – he will not make a profit from the pain of others. However, thinking about colors inspires Tom to put his knowledge of chemistry to work, and the results bring him wealth and his desired bride.

Aided by the High School's science department, Stoner goes on to apply his pharmacological knowledge to develop simpler (early era) antibiotics such as Chloramphenicol and some sulfa drugs as well as the insecticide DDT—which are still used in third world countries because they are easy and inexpensive to make compared to alternatives used later in developed countries.

By 1633, "Doctor Professor Stoner" is firmly established as an increasingly rich and famous dye maker, pharmacologist and chemist. He is named as the medical attache to the New United States of Europe's first Embassy delegation sent to the Most Serene Republic of Venice (1634: The Galileo Affair). He accepts a year's posting to lecture at the University of Padua to spread his scientific knowledge.

Magda Stone[edit]

Daughter of guildmaster Karl Jurgen Edelmann, Magdelena was a spinster in her early thirties wasting away doing the books for her father's business. When she accompanies a delegation from her town to visit Grantville, she met her soul-mate, Tom Stone. His initial courting was received with favor because the family was impressed with the wealth on display in Grantville, at least until her father realized "Stoner" wasn't the man of means he'd mistaken him to be. The romantic personal growth journey from crushing blow to triumphant groom is told in Mercedes Lackey's story "To Dye For".

In 1633, Magda accompanies her wizard of a husband to Italy, as part of the Embassy to Venice and also to lecture at the University of Padua in the novel 1634: The Galileo Affair. There, she takes her husband's wealth and uses her business acumen to build it into a fortune, turning them into the "wealthiest family in Europe". Ably assisted by Sharon Nichols and a Jewish lawyer, the two women intended to shop from a list of needed commodities put together by Grantville's Research and Development establishment. Incensed by the prevailing cultural attitude that only men have a head for business, they proceed to use the power of radio communications to fleece all comers and dominate the Venetian and Baltic commodities markets for Grantville's entire shopping list, plus a lot more.

After that bravura performance, Magda has dropped into the background in the series and is presumably happily counting Stoner's money and raising his sons. However, her uncompromising German views include using the boys' real names.

Frank Stone[edit]

Named Faramir at birth, he is the oldest of Stoner's three sons, and the only one who is definitely Tom's genetic child. Frank is a central character in 1634: The Galileo Affair. He first does everything in his power to delay the Venice Committee of Correspondence from a zany idea to rescue Galileo from the authorities of the Inquisition, and when duped along with everyone else in the committee, winds up becoming the de nomine leader of the rescue attempt. He takes a further foray onto center stage in 1635: The Cannon Law when attempts to start a business along with a Committee of Correspondence chapter in Rome with his new and pregnant wife Giovanna.

Gerry Stone[edit]

Named Gwaihir, the youngest of the three Stone brothers sports "Stop-sign Red" hair, making it quite certain that he is not Tom Stone's natural son. Gerry's stoned mother simply could not remember anyone else's last name when it was time to fill out the birth certificate. He is nonetheless treated as his own by the "responsible hippie".

Ron Stone[edit]

Given the name Elrond, the middle Stone brother might be Tom's son – even he is not sure. However, the brothers have grown up together and consider themselves family. In returning to Grantville after the family adventures in the Italian States, he began a serious relationship with Melissa Marie "Missy" Jenkins.

Red Sybolt[edit]

Red Sybolt was introduced by veteran Science Fiction writer K. D. Wentworth in the "The Three R's" where he aids an emissary of Comenius of the Moravian Church. He is mentioned a few times as an old colleague, a master "labor organizer" (revolutionary) and close friend of Mike Stearns. He appears as a brief referenced party recommended to Morris Roth in Flint's "The Wallenstein Gambit", and that early plotting finally began fruiting in the long awaited Eastern European Thread in The Anaconda Project.

Len Trout[edit]

Len Trout is the Grantville High School Assistant Principal and school disciplinarian at the time of the Ring of Fire, and succeeds Ed Piazza as Principal. He was killed off heroically in defense of the school gymnasium entrance when Croatian raiders broke through the doors.

Larry Wild[edit]

Larry Wild is one of the Four Musketeers introduced midway through the novel 1632, and is the central character in "When the Chips are Down", which canonically reveals some of the problems and solutions incorporated into the Emergency Committee policy of Gearing down. Wild is killed in the Battle of Wismar while piloting the most capable speed boat, "The Outlaw", as the Grantvillers support Gustav's Confederated Principalities of Europe under the onslaught of League of Ostend naval forces accompanying invading expeditionary forces. His death, along that with aviator Hans Richter inspires the feelings of nationalism that shortly afterwards sweep through central Germany and result in the new stronger government of the United States of Europe with Mike Stearns as first prime minister.

Jesse Wood[edit]

Colonel James "Jesse" Wood was a retired United States Air Force tanker pilot and has been involved from the outset in the NUS/USE efforts to develop basic aircraft and build an air force. He is unpretentious and informal with a tendency to calmness when others would panic, perhaps necessary traits in the NUS air force's sole test pilot. He has a bent for organization and through the loss of his protégé, Hans Richter in the Battle of Wismar has developed a strong dislike for the opponents of the NUS and Gustavus Adolphus. During the winter of 1633–34 Wood organizes a "message sending" demonstration to bomb Paris, and let Cardinal Richelieu know just what the up-timers and Gustavus's administration (now reorganized as the United States of Europe) "thinks" of Richelieu's recent changes in French foreign policy which resulted in the League of Ostend and a French army besieging Gustav in Lübeck. Referred to by both allies and enemies as Der Adler (the Eagle).