1633 Review

School Library Journal

  • Title: 1633
  • Date: January 01, 2002
A sequel to 1632 (Baen, 2000), this book continues the saga of a West Virginia town hurled by a mysterious time vortex into the middle of Germany during the Thirty Years' War. The residents, led by Mike Stearns and his 17th-century wife Rebecca, attempt to introduce modern American values like freedom of speech to the people. The story recounts their attempts to build an air force (with biplanes powered by automobile motors) and a navy (which includes a few speedboats that happened to have been in town) to challenge the machinations of Cardinal Richelieu and the armed forces of France, Spain, and England, but the end result has as much to do with individual heroism as technology. Cleanly written, with an enormous cast of interesting characters, this novel is panoramic in scope. The contrast between the societies of Grantville and Europe allows the authors to examine the virtues of American values and show how the Bill of Rights, though closer to their time than ours, is the most revolutionary difference between the two societies. The ways in which modern knowledge is used without a technological base are fascinating and well researched, as is the real historical information that helps create the background world. Throughout, there is constant action and the hint of danger to characters readers care about.