Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught

Today say the release of the electronic Advanced Reader Copy (eArc) for Eric Flint's latest novel, 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught.  This is the latest mainline release of his hugely popular 1632 series. By mainline novel, I mean it focuses on some of the core characters from the first few novels, such as Mike Stearns, Rebecca Arabanel, Jeff Higgins, and Gretchen Richter.  It also includes a whole slew of the characters who first appeared in later works of the series, and many of the leading historical figures of Central Europe at the time.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  In some respects, this has been a lot more fun of a read than some of the novels I've read in recent years.  I've enjoyed reading all of the books in the 1632 series, but some have a more light-hearted, fun-filled tone than others, even against a backdrop of war.  This one was filled with fun.  There's romance, adventure, airships, battles, airship battles, sieges, cavalry actions, and women in disguise.  There's random acts of kindness, and some just desserts are served.

WARNING: Extremely minor spoilers follow in the next two paragraphs.

One thing I particularly enjoyed was the steampunk-like nature of the Ottoman force itself, which nevertheless was all explicable and feasible, unlike the situation in many steampunk tales.  This extends to the airships; their existence and use by both sides is both easily explained, and practical.  It is not all about the coolness factor.

I have few complaints or criticisms, and they are fairly minor.  First, I'm still not fully convinced that American attitudes would have penetrated quickly as far, wide, and deeply as they have in the series, particularly that as many autocratic monarch have been willing to accommodate as much sociopolitical changes as they have.  Second, and it is a very minor thing, is that the Saxony/Silesia thread is something of a distraction; I suspect its presence in this novel was necessary to help keep the series moving along on some degree of synchronization.

These complaints should not keep you from rushing out to purchase a copy when it becomes available - or from purchasing the eArc now.  As an eARC, it is of course not yet proofed, and as a result contains one of my favorite typos of all times: "Alexandra the Great".  :) (EDIT: Strike that last part - not a typo.  It was correct in context.) I highly recommend this novel.  It was great fun and well worthy every dollar I spent.

No comments:

Post a Comment