By Eric Flint

Talk about a timely release — just when I was down and out with a spot of pneumonia, Eric Flint releases the sequel to 1632 in Baen’s Free Library. I rather liked the people in 1632, even though I didn’t like Eric Flint’s preaching that republicanism is the panacea for all evil, so I downloaded the html version, and began reading.

1633 however, is definitely not as good a book as 1632. There is almost no coherence in the storylines. I don’t simply mean that there are things going on at four or five places (that’s okay, and could be handled well), but from one point to another, it reads like the authors got a bit excited at times and decided to throw yet another constitutional reform into the air. Strands and threads (like the advent of princess Kristina) are left dangling. The book also reads like it ends somewhere half-way…

Parts of it are still fun to read, other parts show a nice bit of tension. In some places, as for instance the pages of formal American Army-ese in the letters and reports after a battle, it’s a cheap tear-jerker effect, albeat one that works. And the constant harping on the uselessness of the aristocracy got my goat — not that I’m a great fan of inherited wealth, but because Weber doesn’t ask himself the question about why these people had gotten wealthy in the first place, and doesn’t realize that there is no difference between a rich aristocrat bent on getting a bit richer and keeping the money in the family, and a succesful businessman who does the same.

On the other hand, much of his historical research is extremely good. I mean, I’ve visited the grave of Tromp, and I still thought he was called ‘Harmenszoon’, instead of ‘Harpertszoon’, so I know I have learned something. It’s a pity that in this alternative universe, Weber has to have Tromp lose the naval battle against Oquendo.

  • Author: Eric Flint and David Weber
  • Title: 1633
  • Pages: 608
  • Published: 2003
  • Publisher: Baen
  • ISBN: 0743471555

You can buy this book or download it from Baen’s Free Library in various formats. I read the HTML version. The prequel is also freely available, except for the first twelve chapters.