Ring of Fire II
Baen Books Prepublication Ring of Fire II cover art.
|Cover artist||Tom Kidd|
|Genre||Alternate history, science fiction|
|ISBN||1-4165-7387-9 (2008 hardcover)|
|Preceded by||1634: The Bavarian Crisis|
|Followed by||Grantville Gazette IV|
- 1 Premise of the series
- 2 Stories in the anthology
- 2.1 "City of the Dead"
- 2.2 "Noelle Comes Home"
- 2.3 "Horse Thieves"
- 2.4 "Second Issue?"
- 2.5 "Diving Belle"
- 2.6 "A Gift from the Duchess"
- 2.7 "Lucky at Cards"
- 2.8 "A Trip to Amsterdam"
- 2.9 "This'll Be the Day..."
- 2.10 "Command Performance"
- 2.11 "Ellis Island"
- 2.12 "Malungu Seed"
- 2.13 "Trials"
- 2.14 "The Chase"
- 2.15 "Eddie and the King's Daughter"
- 2.16 "Second Thoughts"
- 2.17 "The Austro-Hungarian Connection"
- 3 Literary significance and reception
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Premise of the series
The initial Ring of Fire book was a notable departure in that it heralded a new era in writing series fiction by being set in an authors' milieu shared with other writers, but especially and uncharacteristically by doing so without the control of the milieu creator, its author. Flint, in explanation, has self-styled himself as something of a gambler; he demonstrated that by deliberately asking the other writers to share in creating the main threads and plot lines of the milieu so that this work and the large second full novel in the series, 1633, were written contemporaneously.
Flint is on record that large portions of 1633 were adjusted drastically, even thrown out and rewritten as later submissions in the collected stories in Ring of Fire impacted the various and diverse story threads. For a fuller precis on this interesting and historic literary development see Assiti Shards series.
Stories in the anthology
"City of the Dead"
- by Jay Robison
"Noelle Comes Home"
Flint's e-book preface refers to this work as being a prequel to his own short novel (below), but the title does not agree with the credited work on 1632.org's timeframes spreadsheet.
- by Karen Bergstralh
The story focus on four former mercenaries who worked for Count Tilly before being exempted on good behavior and becoming horse traders in Grantville. While returning to Grantville following a horse trade in France, the traders encounter a foreign mercenary army contingent preparing to attack Grantville's allied city, Badenburg. They also observe that the mercenaries are equipped with American Civil War era equipment and doctrines that they had somehow acquired from modern history books. The traders - with help from the American militia - make several skirmishes against the army before finally eliminating them.
- by Eric Flint and Bradley H. Sinor
A story by Bradley H. Sinor about the birth of tabloid journalism in Grantville. The plot structure begins with a suggestion that it might be a tale of investigative journalism, but it ends with a humorous twist. There are tight connections between this story and "The Wallenstein Gambit"
- by Gunnar Dahlin and Dave Freer
"A Gift from the Duchess"
- by Virginia DeMarce
"Lucky at Cards"
- by Andrew Dennis
"A Trip to Amsterdam"
- by Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett
This vignette by Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett returns to the story of the two groups maturing of tycoons known respectively as the Sewing Circle and the Barbie Consortium introduced initially in "The Sewing Circle", continued again in "Other People’s Money", and other seminal background tales.
"This'll Be the Day..."
- by Walt Boyes
The story recounts the deeds of Father Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld on the day of his former death.
- by David Carrico
This continuation of the "Franz and Marla" stories by David Carrico, ties in with a brief mention of the story behind and within the concert as told here. The same tale, from a different prospective was used as background for the entrance of Admiral John Simpson and wife Mary as they come on stage during the end of the industrial disaster that begins the novel 1634: The Baltic War.
As a continuation and perhaps climax of the Franz and Marla saga, the tale reveals Marla in a triumphal debut among the rich and famous in Magdeburg, while the lovable and tragic Franz finds a new musical groove—and is able to play again publicly — while, finally, proving worthy in his own eyes of "getting the girl". Like the preceding Franz and Marla stories, it is an excellent tale told with skill and is good at evoking emotions and painting complex characters undergoing lives' pressures.
- by Russ Rittgers
The story recounts the tribulations of a peasant family immigrating to Grantville.
- by Jonathan Cresswell
The story focus on an African Jesuit layman who has an urgent mission in Grantville and elsewhere.
- by Jay Robison
The story focus on the trials of Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi and a Grantville housewife.
- by Iver Cooper
This story is a sequel to "Grand Tour," which appeared in Grantville Gazette X, in which historical figures Thomas Hobbes and a young William Cavendish (the Earl of Devonshire) have arrived in their destination in Grantville and befriending several of the young ladies of the "Barbie Consortium."
There is a scene set at a down-time tennis court, and it's worth noting that Iver also wrote an article on down-time tennis ("Tennis: The Game of Kings") which appeared in Grantville Gazette XV.
"Eddie and the King's Daughter"
Set as a prequel to 1634: The Baltic War, the story focus on Eddie Cantrell, who was captured by the Danish in the confused aftermath the Battle of Wismar depicted in 1633, became involved with the daughter of Christian IV of Denmark.
- by Virginia DeMarce
The story discloses the events leading to marriage between the parents of Noelle Brigitte Murphy.
"The Austro-Hungarian Connection"
- by Eric Flint
Literary significance and reception
A reviewer for SFRevu wrote that he liked the book because "the characters are allowed to be flawed. They often are given the chance for redemption, but don't always take it." Another reviewer wrote that "this anthology has a sort of crazy-quilt feel at times" since "the stories connect to one another and to the other anthologies and novels in various complex ways, reinforcing one another by casting light on aspects of characters and events that might otherwise be ignored." However, "the gems in this anthology outweigh the few weak ones" and "heartily recommend the purchase". The reviewer also recommends re-reading the other novels and anthologies of the series to "really appreciate all the interconnections between the various storylines".