[Book Review] ‘1636: The Ottoman Onslaught’ by Eric Flint

“The  modern West Virginia town of Grantville has been displaced in time to continental Europe in 1632. Now four years have passed. The long feared attack on Austria by the Ottoman Empire has begun. Armed with new weapons inspired by the time displaced Americans of Grantville, the Turks are determined to do what they were unable to do in the universe the Americans came from: capture Vienna.
The Ottomans have the advantage of being able to study the failings and errors of their own campaigns in a future they can now avoid. They are led by the young, dynamic, and ruthless Murad IV, the most capable emperor the Ottomans have produced in a century. They are equipped with weapons that would have seemed fantastical to the Turks of that other universe: airships, breech loading rifles, rockets—even primitive tanks.
And this time they won’t have to face massive reinforcements from Austria’s allies. In fact, the only force Emperor Gustav Adolf can think of sending to Austria is the United States of Europe Third Division under the command of Mike Stearns. It’s an army currently engaged in a desperate struggle for Bavaria.

The emperors of the USE and Austria share the same problem. They have one too many enemies, one too few allies, and only one general to cover the gaps. Fortunately, that general is Mike Stearns, also known as the Prince of Germany.“

1636: The Ottoman Onslaught by Eric Flint
Published by Baen Books

This is a military science fiction series with a historical twist. ‘A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ times 100. It carries the whole “what if?” idea into the entire world and truly shows us the butterfly effect magnified.

Like all great adventure and sci-fi stories, this one had a beginning and I recommend that you start there. This is book #21 of the Ring of Fire series by Eric Flint. If you have never picked up the anything in the series, then pick up at least the first few. Once you have those under your belt, and you’re familiar with the main characters, you can easily catch up.

The book starts slow as it brings you up to speed on all the outlying storylines and attempts to bring them together before diving head first into the action. This is a great catch-up opportunity for anyone like me who has missed the last five years of books.

This is not a light read, but great for anyone that is a fan of “what if?” scenarios in history. The main story in this novel is the Ottoman Empire’s siege of Vienna. In modern history, the siege occurred in 1683, but thanks to the ‘uptime Americans’ the timeline is advanced by nearly 50 years.

I love the depth of the characters, the interactions and conflicts that arise when 21st century ideals and morals conflict with the 17th century version. The amount of historical research that goes into these novels is amazing. I love how Eric Flint brings some of the tiny features of past into life.

My only problem with this book is that it doesn’t really end… you need to read the next one to see what happens.

I gave it 3.5 out of 5 primarily because I was a little lost. This is not a book that you can just randomly pick up. It is strongly recommended you read the first few issues.  The cover art by Thomas Kidd has a wonderful oil painting feeling that mixes modern and 17th century beautifully.

Written by: Eric Flint
Cover Art by Thomas Kidd
Published by Baen Books