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20th Century American Spirit Meets Seductive and Dangerous Vienna of the 1600s!
The United States of Europe, the new nation formed by an alliance between the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus and the West Virginians hurled back in time by a cosmic accident, is beset by enemies on all sides. But now, as a young new emperor comes to the throne in Austria, an opening has developed for making peace with at least one branch of the farflung and mighty Habsburg dynasty.
This is no job for diplomats or generals, however. The recently formed Austro-Hungarian empire is teetering on the brink of economic collapse. So, the USE sends auto mechanics and financiers to the rescue. But the mechanics are West Virginia hillbillies and the financiers are mostly teenage American girls, risen to wealth by taking advantage of the new opportunities created by the Ring of Fire.
Ready to greet them upon their arrival in Vienna is an emperor uncertain of his goals, common folk desperate for work, noblemen with intentions both fair and foul, priests plotting on all sides—and a prince unclear on the distinction between passion and lechery.
To put it mildly, a culture clash is in the making here. What better way to bridge the gap than to create a race track for the emperor’s new muscle car? And so the dance begins.
Marius Winter doesn’t walk the road of the shaman-warrior alone. He has powerful allies in the Other Realms and in ordinary reality. His spirit guides are a Lakota war-chief and medicine man, First In Front; Tigre, a powerful feminine spirit who appears as a white tiger; and Burt, a spirit raven who channels an old Jewish bookie from the Bronx.
Now Marius is targeted by a powerful sorcerer. In the battle for the souls of his friends and lover, he must storm the gates of the underworld and fight through the Seven Demi-Demons of Hell to the deepest dungeons to confront Belial himself.
Swords and Shields. Faith and Magic.
Grab your weapons and prepare, for the enemy is on the move.
High fantasy and mighty conflicts go hand-in-hand. In great wars, armies rise to fight evil hordes and heroes struggle to push beyond their imperfections to save the day. These stories include more than just epic landscapes and characters…they also feature epic battles.
Imagine a doctor struggling to identify the spy who has infiltrated his company’s ranks and poisoned his colleagues or a boy suspected of murder by a king yet protected by a princess as he helps her father against his own people. Imagine a butcher discovering that he’s called to lead an uprising, or a First Born knowing that she must betray her own in order to save humanity.
The possibilities are endless, but at the heart they have this in common: soldiers—ordinary and otherwise–struggling against extraordinary odds to survive the day. They must withstand dark magic, dodge enemy blades, and defy the odds to survive SHATTERED SHIELDS.
The mantis cyborgs: insectlike, cruel, and determined to wipe humanity from the face of the galaxy.
The Fleet is humanity’s last chance: a multi-world, multi-national task force assembled to hold the line against the aliens’ overwhelming technology and firepower. Enter Harrison Barlow, who like so many young men of wars past, simply wants to serve his people and partake of the grand adventure of military life. Only, Harrison is not a hot pilot, nor a crack shot with a rifle. What good is a Chaplain’s Assistant in the interstellar battles which will decide the fate of all?
More than he thinks. Because while the mantis insectoids are determined to eliminate the human threat to mantis supremacy, they remember the errors of their past. Is there the slightest chance that humans might have value? Especially since humans seem to have the one thing the mantes explicitly do not: an innate ability to believe in what cannot be proven nor seen God. Captured and stranded behind enemy lines, Barlow must come to grips with the fact that he is not only bargaining for his own life, but the lives of everyone he knows and loves. And so he embarks upon an improbable gambit, determined to alter the course of the entire war.
Growing up, Travis Uriah Long yearned for order and discipline in his life . . . the two things his neglectful mother couldn't or wouldn't provide. So when Travis enlisted in the Royal Manticoran Navy, he thought he'd finally found the structure he'd always wanted so desperately.
But life in the RMN isn't exactly what he expected. Boot camp is rough and frustrating; his first ship assignment lax and disorderly; and with the Star Kingdom of Manticore still recovering from a devastating plague, the Navy is possibly on the edge of extinction.
The Star Kingdom is a minor nation among the worlds of the Diaspora, its closest neighbors weeks or months away, with little in the way of resources. With only modest interstellar trade, no foreign contacts to speak of, a plague-ravaged economy to rebuild, and no enemies looming at the hyper limit, there are factions in Parliament who want nothing more than to scrap the Navy and shift its resources and manpower elsewhere.
But those factions are mistaken. The universe is not a safe place.
Travis Long is about to find that out.
Once again, me hearties!
Oops. Wrong file.
Grantville Gazette, Volume 55 is ready and raring for reading. This volume starts off with Bjorn Hasseler's "Occupied Saxony," a very interesting tale. Which, of course, is followed by another, Kevin H. and Karen C. Evans' "Murder and Chocolate," all about skullduggery in Denmark.
Two new—to us—writers join us for this volume, Tim Sayeau with "Decisions of State," and Eric S Brown leaves his own universe to join the 1632 universe with "The Magic of the Speedster." We know you'll enjoy them, as well as "Gifts of Providence" by Terry Howard and Jack Carroll.
Rainer Prem continues his serial, "Ein feste Burg" with Episode Sixteen, an intriguing tale of, well, intrigue. Good stuff. And Virginia DeMarce continues "An Uneasy Kind of Peace," with Episode Four, all building up to big revelations yet to come.
Our Time Spike department has Garrett W. Vance's "The Mysterious Mesa, Part Five: Horses of a Different Color," and boy are they different! And Frances Silversmith takes the Universe Annex in a new direction with "Net-working."
All this, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Notes From The Buffer Zone column, "The Cutting Edge."
You just can't beat it. Grantville Gazette, Volume 55, waiting for you.