In this worthy sequel to the well-received 1632 (2000), about a small West Virginia coal-mining town transported back in time to the Germany of the Thirty Years War, original author Flint and coauthor Weber resist the temptation to use modern technology to impose a Pax Americana, instead allowing their transportees just enough high tech to prevail if they can win allies like Sweden's King Gustavus Adolphus. Most of the current book deals with coalition building, as the visitors from the future attempt to remake their new world into one safe for democracy despite opposition from such as Cardinal Richelieu. History books from a now-hypothetical future and antibiotics prove to be more potent than their limited supply of modern firearms, but the most powerful weapons of the new "United States" are its ideas, which now infect the millions of Germans ground under the heels of their princes. Ordinary Germans develop a new faith in themselves and their future when the Americans show them that they can do anything, even fly. Flint, a former union organizer, is particularly skilled at showing how the new converts can make even the "old Americans" uncomfortable in their zeal to achieve the blessings of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," while Weber helps smooth out characters who were stereotypes in the first book. This is a thoughtful and exciting look at just how powerful are the ideals we sometimes take for granted, and is highly recommended as a reminder of how we can look to others when at our best. (Aug.)
FYI:Weber is also the coauthor with Steve White of The Shiva Option (Forecasts, Jan. 28), while Flint is also the coauthor with David Drake of The Tyrant (Forecasts, Mar. 25).