cover image 1636: Calabar’s War

1636: Calabar’s War

Charles E. Gannon & Robert E. Waters. Baen, $16 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-982125-30-1

The 30th book in the multiauthored alternate-history Ring of Fire series (after 1637: No Peace Beyond the Line) makes little allowance for newcomers; the authors provide no context for the opening scene, which introduces Ed Piazza, president of the State of Thuringia in 1633. Piazza and his predecessor speak to each other in contemporary American English—and more than 50 pages pass before the authors clarify that this 1633 features “so-called Americans who claim to be from the future.” The confusion of the opening will leave many readers on shaky footing as the plot dives into the story of Domingos Fernandes Calabar, a Brazilian military adviser. Calabar, who formerly worked for the Portuguese, has changed his allegiance to the Dutch, and juggles helping them in their fight against the Spanish with rescuing his family, who have been sold into slavery. Character depth is minimal, and readers unfamiliar with this period of history will find it difficult to grasp how or why the arrival of future Americans would change the epoch. Only die-hard followers of the series are likely to enjoy this. (Apr.)