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Book #24 in the multiple New York Times best-selling Ring of Fire series. SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, 1636 It’s spring in Burgundy. The flowers are out and so are the cardinals—of Pope Urban’s renegade papacy, now on the run from the Vatican’s would-be usurper Borja. Most of the Church’s senior leaders have converged upon the city of Besancon, where the Pope plans to offer an ecu Book #24 in the multiple New York Times best-selling Ring of Fire series. SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, 1636 It’s spring in Burgundy. The flowers are out and so are the cardinals—of Pope Urban’s renegade papacy, now on the run from the Vatican’s would-be usurper Borja. Most of the Church’s senior leaders have converged upon the city of Besancon, where the Pope plans to offer an ecumenical olive branch to the other Christian denominations with which Rome has been at war. Fortunately, Urban has up-time help. He can rely upon Cardinal-Protector Larry Mazzare’s theological savvy, Sharon Nichols’ medical skills, and her husband Ruy Sanchez’s keen-eyed experience as a body-guard-in-chief. And even though Urban has a new Papal Guard in the form of Owen Rowe O’Neill’s Wild Geese, Mike Stearns has loaned the Pope a small contingent of the Hibernian Battalion—just in case. Which is prudent, since Urban and his peace initiative are not merely at risk from Borja’s assassins. There is another, more deadly, team of professional killers in town, directed by the man who almost killed the Pope before: lethal Spanish mastermind Pedro Dolor. Dolor hasn’t come to confess murder—he’s come to commit it. At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management). About 1635: A Parcel of Rogues: "The 20th volume in this popular, fast-paced alternative history series follows close on the heels of the events in The Baltic War, picking up with the protagonists in London, including sharpshooter Julie Sims. This time the 20th-century transplants are determined to prevent the rise of Oliver Cromwell and even have the support of King Charles."—Library Journal About 1634: The Galileo Affair: "A rich, complex alternate history with great characters and vivid action. A great read and an excellent book."—David Drake "Gripping . . . depicted with power!"—Publishers Weekly About Eric Flint's Ring of Fire series: “This alternate history series is . . . a landmark…”—Booklist “[Eric] Flint's 1632 universe seems to be inspiring a whole new crop of gifted alternate historians.”—Booklist “ . . . reads like a technothriller set in the age of the Medicis . . . ”—Publishers Weekly Eric Flint is a modern master of alternate history fiction, with over three million books in print. He’s the author/creator of the multiple New York Times best-selling Ring of Fire series starting with first novel 1632. With David Drake he has written six popular novels in the “Belisarius” alternate Roman history series, and with David Weber collaborated on 1633 and 1634: The Baltic War and latest Honorverse series entry Cauldron of Ghosts. Flint's latest Ring of Fire novel is 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught. Flint was for many years a labor union activist. He lives near Chicago, Illinois. Charles E. Gannon is the author of Compton Crook Award winning, Nebula nominated novels Fire with Fire, Trial by Fire, and Raising Caine, in the Caine Riordan series. He is the coauthor with Eric Flint of 1636: The Papal Stakes and 1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies in Eric Flint's best-selling Ring of Fire series. With best-selling Steve White, Gannon is the coauthor of Starfire series entries Extremis, and Imperative. Gannon is also the author of multiple short stories. He is a member of SIGMA, the "SF think-tank" which has advised various intelligence and defense agencies since the start of the millennium.


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Book #24 in the multiple New York Times best-selling Ring of Fire series. SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, 1636 It’s spring in Burgundy. The flowers are out and so are the cardinals—of Pope Urban’s renegade papacy, now on the run from the Vatican’s would-be usurper Borja. Most of the Church’s senior leaders have converged upon the city of Besancon, where the Pope plans to offer an ecu Book #24 in the multiple New York Times best-selling Ring of Fire series. SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, 1636 It’s spring in Burgundy. The flowers are out and so are the cardinals—of Pope Urban’s renegade papacy, now on the run from the Vatican’s would-be usurper Borja. Most of the Church’s senior leaders have converged upon the city of Besancon, where the Pope plans to offer an ecumenical olive branch to the other Christian denominations with which Rome has been at war. Fortunately, Urban has up-time help. He can rely upon Cardinal-Protector Larry Mazzare’s theological savvy, Sharon Nichols’ medical skills, and her husband Ruy Sanchez’s keen-eyed experience as a body-guard-in-chief. And even though Urban has a new Papal Guard in the form of Owen Rowe O’Neill’s Wild Geese, Mike Stearns has loaned the Pope a small contingent of the Hibernian Battalion—just in case. Which is prudent, since Urban and his peace initiative are not merely at risk from Borja’s assassins. There is another, more deadly, team of professional killers in town, directed by the man who almost killed the Pope before: lethal Spanish mastermind Pedro Dolor. Dolor hasn’t come to confess murder—he’s come to commit it. At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management). About 1635: A Parcel of Rogues: "The 20th volume in this popular, fast-paced alternative history series follows close on the heels of the events in The Baltic War, picking up with the protagonists in London, including sharpshooter Julie Sims. This time the 20th-century transplants are determined to prevent the rise of Oliver Cromwell and even have the support of King Charles."—Library Journal About 1634: The Galileo Affair: "A rich, complex alternate history with great characters and vivid action. A great read and an excellent book."—David Drake "Gripping . . . depicted with power!"—Publishers Weekly About Eric Flint's Ring of Fire series: “This alternate history series is . . . a landmark…”—Booklist “[Eric] Flint's 1632 universe seems to be inspiring a whole new crop of gifted alternate historians.”—Booklist “ . . . reads like a technothriller set in the age of the Medicis . . . ”—Publishers Weekly Eric Flint is a modern master of alternate history fiction, with over three million books in print. He’s the author/creator of the multiple New York Times best-selling Ring of Fire series starting with first novel 1632. With David Drake he has written six popular novels in the “Belisarius” alternate Roman history series, and with David Weber collaborated on 1633 and 1634: The Baltic War and latest Honorverse series entry Cauldron of Ghosts. Flint's latest Ring of Fire novel is 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught. Flint was for many years a labor union activist. He lives near Chicago, Illinois. Charles E. Gannon is the author of Compton Crook Award winning, Nebula nominated novels Fire with Fire, Trial by Fire, and Raising Caine, in the Caine Riordan series. He is the coauthor with Eric Flint of 1636: The Papal Stakes and 1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies in Eric Flint's best-selling Ring of Fire series. With best-selling Steve White, Gannon is the coauthor of Starfire series entries Extremis, and Imperative. Gannon is also the author of multiple short stories. He is a member of SIGMA, the "SF think-tank" which has advised various intelligence and defense agencies since the start of the millennium.

30 review for 1636: The Vatican Sanction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Shellenbarger

    1636: The Vatican Sanction seems to be the final volume in the Italian Arc of Ring of Fire novels. That series of stories, which started with 1634: The Galileo Conspiracy has focused on the up-timers interactions with the Papacy (in the form of Urban VII) and their efforts to push for moderation in the Roman Catholic church's policies towards outsiders, hoping to eliminate the religious underpinnings that fueled the 30 Years War. While the up-timers have been fairly successful in influencing the 1636: The Vatican Sanction seems to be the final volume in the Italian Arc of Ring of Fire novels. That series of stories, which started with 1634: The Galileo Conspiracy has focused on the up-timers interactions with the Papacy (in the form of Urban VII) and their efforts to push for moderation in the Roman Catholic church's policies towards outsiders, hoping to eliminate the religious underpinnings that fueled the 30 Years War. While the up-timers have been fairly successful in influencing the Pope, their efforts have been undermined somewhat by the fact that the unscrupulous Cardinal Borja has used tentative Spanish support to unseat the Pope and assassinate many of his closest supporters among the Cardinals. Now the Pope is in exile in Burgundy, where he has called for a meeting of the leading Christian theologians in hopes of providing a foundation for a normalization of relations between Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox, a move which has particular importance due to the impending Ottoman invasion of Central Europe, which only a United Europe can hope to defeat. Despite being increasingly on the outs with his Spanish benefactors due to his extreme tactics, Borja is determined to see the Pope dead in hopes of claiming the Papal throne for himself, and in pursuit of that goal he has dispatched a large number of assassins with a clever scheme to see Urban dead. I was a bit hesitant going into this book. Partly because recent RoF side-stories have been rather open-ended and have shied away from important plot developments and partly because reviews of the ARC copies were far from positive. Fortunately, I found the story fairly interesting. The story is well-told, restrains itself to a reasonable number of POV's, and brings this arc to a place where I don't really see the need for further novels and I wouldn't be surprised if the follow-on events to this story showed up in the main series books or were tied into other side arc novels (possibly the Mediterranean theater of the Ottoman War). I will say that as far as big historic events, this one isn't the most significant story in the series, as there's basically only two noteworthy events: the ecumenical meeting and an event near the end of the book that I won't spoil (which, because of the timeline of other books, the authors had to find a clever reason why no one's mentioned it before). Likewise, outside of the events relating to the assassination attempts, there's a lot of theology and church politics which some people may find dull (I didn't, but I expect I'm in the minority on that). On the other hand, the focus of the story is a cat-and-mouse battle between a mixed group of highly capable assassins and a guard unit made up of some of the USE's finest and led by a handful of series favorites. It's not quite Tom Clancy, but it's a tense and interesting story and I tore through it quite eagerly. All in all, I feel like The Vatican Sanction is an interesting (if not essential) addition to the series.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    I started reading the eARC of 1636 The Vatican Sanction 40 days ago, with a 1.5 day break to enjoy the Liaden series "Neogenesis" eARC. There was little in this book to grab and maintain my interest, unfortunately. Some days I had to force myself to read a single chapter. :/ I hope the next book in this great series is better. I started reading the eARC of 1636 The Vatican Sanction 40 days ago, with a 1.5 day break to enjoy the Liaden series "Neogenesis" eARC. There was little in this book to grab and maintain my interest, unfortunately. Some days I had to force myself to read a single chapter. :/ I hope the next book in this great series is better.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Roy

    What I have liked about the Ring of Fire stories is how the most important thing that the people sent back in time have are new ideas. The ideas of freedom, especially religious freedom, is an odd fit in the midst of the 30-year war. And I've been impressed that, once started into a best-selling series, Flint has not shied away from what a challenge it would be for the actual religious leaders. This entry takes that to a natural conclusion, as those who have become ecumenically minded explore ho What I have liked about the Ring of Fire stories is how the most important thing that the people sent back in time have are new ideas. The ideas of freedom, especially religious freedom, is an odd fit in the midst of the 30-year war. And I've been impressed that, once started into a best-selling series, Flint has not shied away from what a challenge it would be for the actual religious leaders. This entry takes that to a natural conclusion, as those who have become ecumenically minded explore how to live with one another in a spirit of Christian charity, and the ones who reject these ideas try to kill them. I like how Flint has chosen to take the Church issues seriously, and to do so in a way that bypasses "how many divisions does the pope have?" (Another nice thing about this series, in part because Flint invited others to work with him building out this new history, is how there is room to see impacts on music, art, politics, and engineering ... but Flint, I note, has written the theologically driven ones.) The plot leads me to wonder if this will be the last front-and-center religious novel in the series, but if so he's made a trilogy of really fun books.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Debrac2014

    This was a long-winded telling, with too many assassins, but the last third of the story was very good!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    The 1632 alternate history series also contains some "series-within-the-series" or "continuing storyline threads" such as the Pope Urban VIII thread, first seen in 1634: The Galileo Affair (2004). This first book was then followed by 1635: The Cannon Law (2006), 1635: The Papal Stakes (2012), and then 1636: The Cardinal Virtues (2015). When the good citizens of Grantville suddenly found their small West Virginia town transposed from the year 2000 to the year 1631 AND to the middle of Europe duri The 1632 alternate history series also contains some "series-within-the-series" or "continuing storyline threads" such as the Pope Urban VIII thread, first seen in 1634: The Galileo Affair (2004). This first book was then followed by 1635: The Cannon Law (2006), 1635: The Papal Stakes (2012), and then 1636: The Cardinal Virtues (2015). When the good citizens of Grantville suddenly found their small West Virginia town transposed from the year 2000 to the year 1631 AND to the middle of Europe during the Thirty Years' War no less, it was sink or swim time. Grantville concluded by 1634 that it needed its own diplomatic relations with the Vatican if it was to have any chance of survival in its new world full of both Catholic and Protestant warring powers. So, by the beginning of book five 1636: The Vatican Sanction the principal characters (Sharon Nichols, ambassador to the Vatican, her husband Ruy Sanchez, Grantville's only Catholic parish-priest-turned-cardinal Larry Mazzare, etc.) are old friends and I was much looking forward to their further adventures. Another thing I enjoy about this series is that each 1632 book has a handful of "uptimer" characters (who traveled back in time from West Virginia) and "downtimer" characters born in the Germanies, Spain, France, etc. etc. In fact, Sharon's downtimer husband Ruy is one of my most favorite character of the whole series with his extremely inventive & flamboyant way of constantly praising his wife while at the same time being the able former soldier & current head of security for Pope Urban VIII. Yet another thing I enjoy about the 1632 series is the judicious use of POV. Of course, we get the Point Of View of the "good guys" (Sharon Nichols and her team) but we ALSO get the POV of her various enemies. Sometimes Sharon's Grantville team wins and sometimes their opponents win. Just like real life. You do the best you can and hope you win often enough to survive. A large part of the fun, then, of the 1632 series is following the various intertwined political/religious/mercenary intrigues unfolding as various players make their moves. Yes, you can read 1636: The Vatican Sanction if you had never read any of the earlier 1632 series books but you will enjoy it all the more if you had read the earlier four books in this particular papal thread!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    Reading this took much longer than I envisioned. Audiobooks and e-books have spoiled me with the ability to read everywhere in small doses, but my life doesn't blend easily with lugging around a hardcover book. That's not the only reason I've taken so long to finish it, however. I'd looked forward to the next installment of the adventure that Pope Urban VIII was experiencing while in exile and wanted to see what the knowledge of Vatican Two would do to the Roman Catholic Church, even if the true Reading this took much longer than I envisioned. Audiobooks and e-books have spoiled me with the ability to read everywhere in small doses, but my life doesn't blend easily with lugging around a hardcover book. That's not the only reason I've taken so long to finish it, however. I'd looked forward to the next installment of the adventure that Pope Urban VIII was experiencing while in exile and wanted to see what the knowledge of Vatican Two would do to the Roman Catholic Church, even if the true pope was in exile and Borja was actively trying to assassinate him. Unfortunately, this storyline felt bloated. Politically--in this alternate 1636 world--there was indeed more than one set of assassins with more than one backer and more than one reason Urban needed to die. But the way it was written just felt like it was plodding along. The writing isn't as tight and crisp as in earlier volumes in the series, and my proofreading eyes caught several small mistakes in word usage and spelling that grated on my nerves. Maybe the biggest reason I'm not in love with this book like I am other Ring of Fire novels is that I cannot stand Pedro Dolar. He vexes me like few other characters ever have in any book I've ever read. I'm not into psychological horror of any kind in any media, and he seems to be a total psycho. Of course, other readers love that type of character, and if I step back and look at the big picture, I can see why he is so useful in this multi-book story arc. I just don't happen to enjoy it. Considering the ending of this novel, there will likely be another book or two regarding the Urban/Borja Catholic Church dilemma, and I'll read it just like all the other ROF books that have been published so far. Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    The pope is Urban VIII, but a Barberini who has transformed into a more human man than he was before. The loyalist cardinals have convened in Besancon along with Protestant, Orthodox, and Jewish representatives to discuss a more civilised relationship among the faiths, especially with the oncoming threat of the Turks. We're still dealing with Borja, who is in Rome trying to seize the papal throne. The problem with this series is that at some point the path of history has to become markedly diffe The pope is Urban VIII, but a Barberini who has transformed into a more human man than he was before. The loyalist cardinals have convened in Besancon along with Protestant, Orthodox, and Jewish representatives to discuss a more civilised relationship among the faiths, especially with the oncoming threat of the Turks. We're still dealing with Borja, who is in Rome trying to seize the papal throne. The problem with this series is that at some point the path of history has to become markedly different from what we have experienced it and the authors are going to have to decide which way things are going to go. We're in the mid thirties so the English rebellion is coming closer and how are they going to decide about that? France is a big factor and that is going to have to be considered. And talk! These people could talk the hind leg off a donkey. They explain things to each other, they explain them again, then they explain them to a different group. The plotting certainly fits in the time period and the uptimers have fitted into that world. (I find that phrase upside down, but I imagine it depends on how you see the passage of time.) The use of radio as telegraph transmitter is interesting but it forces the downtimers to learn to think at a 20th century tempo, and I think it's beginning to affect what happens. The airships are a little problematic, too, because it does the same thing to European thinking; speeds it up and changes the decision making process. Watching films as an entertaining diversion from tension is probably not so good, either. At least the authors realised that there would be copies of any uptime objects seen as advantageous and any weapon would be seen that way. It's easiest to just go with the flow and not try to assess the likelihood of things. The American mindset is a little less present, which makes it a bit easier to take, but we still get chunks of uptime American history, which would scramble 17th century minds to a serious extent.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stan Morris

    Passable Not bad, but not particularly good. I'm being a little generous. The first two thirds had some things described in maddening detail, but the last third was good. Passable Not bad, but not particularly good. I'm being a little generous. The first two thirds had some things described in maddening detail, but the last third was good.

  9. 5 out of 5

    MAB LongBeach

    Another entry in the long-running 1632/Ring of Fire series. Pope Urban has had a change of heart and is heading both an Ecumenical Colloquy and a Council of Cardinals to reform the Church, running more or less simultaneously. Unfortunately, he is also being hunted by assassins, which further complicates an already complicated situation. There are a lot of characters to keep straight, including at least four groups of would-be assassins, some of them with hidden agendas. It can get a bit confusing Another entry in the long-running 1632/Ring of Fire series. Pope Urban has had a change of heart and is heading both an Ecumenical Colloquy and a Council of Cardinals to reform the Church, running more or less simultaneously. Unfortunately, he is also being hunted by assassins, which further complicates an already complicated situation. There are a lot of characters to keep straight, including at least four groups of would-be assassins, some of them with hidden agendas. It can get a bit confusing at times. Fans of the series will want to read this, but it is not one of the stronger works.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jo (Mixed Book Bag)

    This picks up where a previous book left off. Pope Urban is trying to get the different Christian religions together to talk and perhaps stop fighting. There are those who support and those who oppose. That makes the undertaking dangerous. There are several main characters from the first book and many from history. This is a complete story and the reader is the same for all the Ring of Fire books. He does a very good job of the different voices helpings keep the story moving.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    Though sometimes slightly bogged down in details, and the expository feel and comment on downtime religion gets preachy, it also helps illuminate the causes and prejudices of the reformation and re reformation wars plaguing central Europe. I am looking forward to the continuation of this story arc.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leigh Kimmel

    This volume completes the sub-series that began with 1634: The Galileo Affair. Frank Stone and his new family were rescued in the last volume, 1635: The Papal Stakes. However, Pope Urban VIII still has business to conduct. In particular, he has become convinced that Grantville and the future it represents is a warning of what will come to pass if the various branches of Christianity, and of Judaism, are not able to make peace with one another. In this volume he sets forward to create an ecumenica This volume completes the sub-series that began with 1634: The Galileo Affair. Frank Stone and his new family were rescued in the last volume, 1635: The Papal Stakes. However, Pope Urban VIII still has business to conduct. In particular, he has become convinced that Grantville and the future it represents is a warning of what will come to pass if the various branches of Christianity, and of Judaism, are not able to make peace with one another. In this volume he sets forward to create an ecumenical council that will bring together representatives of the various Protestant sects and of the Orthodox autocephalous churches, as well as representatives of Judaism. There's a pretty strong hint that he's becoming concerned about averting future Islamic extremism, although it could also be interpreted as concern about the present power of the Ottoman Empire. However, his enemies continue to be active, sending agents to kill him and disrupt the council. In the end, it's almost a comedy of errors, except that it turns out tragic. A series of want-of-a-nail single-point failures, including a man who ignored a wound too long and the stubborn pride of an old man who just wants to take a leak in private -- but the book ends with the hope that from this martyrdom will come a greater determination to create a lasting legacy, rather like the Kennedy assassination was a big driver to the lunar landings.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Andy Zach

    Wow! Eric Flint and co-author Charles Gannon managed to put a new wrinkle in 'Ring of Fire' series of alternate history novels. What did they do? They managed to write a mystery from the criminals' point of view and the heroes' point of view and keep the reader guessing what would happen to the very last chapter and page. The set up is, Pope Urban II is fleeing for his life from Cardinal Borja who wants to kill him and control the papacy. What's got Borja's knickers in a twist? He's trying to get Wow! Eric Flint and co-author Charles Gannon managed to put a new wrinkle in 'Ring of Fire' series of alternate history novels. What did they do? They managed to write a mystery from the criminals' point of view and the heroes' point of view and keep the reader guessing what would happen to the very last chapter and page. The set up is, Pope Urban II is fleeing for his life from Cardinal Borja who wants to kill him and control the papacy. What's got Borja's knickers in a twist? He's trying to get all the uptimers from Grantville West Virginia declared as agents of Satan, whereas Pope Urban is trying to bring Vatican II type changes into the 17th century. So much for motives. Borja hires ruthless killers, who hire more ruthless killers, who are supervised by other ruthless killers until you wonder how many layers of puppet masters there are. The United States of Europe (USE), basically West Virginia in Germany uses radio technology and superior firepower to defend the pope who's holding an ecumenical council. Lots of people die. Guns, bombs, grenades, oh my! And when the ammo runs out you always have people to be sewn up by Sharon Nichols, and people to be skewered by her husband, master swordsman and chief of Security Ruy, a Spanish hidalgo. Recommended to mystery lovers and alternate history lovers everywhere.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Redsteve

    1636: The Vatican Sanction is the latest (at least, as I type this) installment in the “South European thread” in Eric Flint’s “shared universe” Ring of Fire series, preceded by 1634: The Galileo Affair (April 2004) with Andrew Dennis, 1635: The Cannon Law (September 2006), 1635: The Papal Stakes (October 2012) with Charles E. Gannon. I'm assuming that I don't need to warn potential readers not to start the series on Book #24, but, on the other hand, it's not vital that you read ALL of the previ 1636: The Vatican Sanction is the latest (at least, as I type this) installment in the “South European thread” in Eric Flint’s “shared universe” Ring of Fire series, preceded by 1634: The Galileo Affair (April 2004) with Andrew Dennis, 1635: The Cannon Law (September 2006), 1635: The Papal Stakes (October 2012) with Charles E. Gannon. I'm assuming that I don't need to warn potential readers not to start the series on Book #24, but, on the other hand, it's not vital that you read ALL of the previous books (at the very least 1632, 1633 and the previous books in the thread - listed above). If you aren't familiar with general events of the series, you're going to be confused and frustrated by this novel. Having dispensed with the warning, I very much enjoyed this book, but it might not be everyone's chalice of sacramental wine. The novel consists of about 2/3 assassination plot/spycraft story and 1/3 of people debating theology and 17th Century church politics (which, if like me, you find this interesting; if not, you could probably skim over that and focus on the exciting stuff), leavened, as always, with a bit of 20th Century technology adapted for the 17th. Like a number of the later RoF books, The Vatican Sanction has relatively few "up-timers" in roles, basically just Sharon Nicholls, USE ambassador to the Papacy, and Larry Mazzare, Cardinal-Protector of the USE.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Moses

    So many of these characters I really enjoyed in other books - the ambassadress and her husband, the wild Irish mercenaries, the pope and his companions. To my surprise, actually. The writers of their last adventure together actually drew me through a complex logical and religions explanation of Catholic belief, which I would never have expected anyone could make me read with interest. I hoped this book would continue the story, which it does, but it sadly failed to keep my interest. Rather than So many of these characters I really enjoyed in other books - the ambassadress and her husband, the wild Irish mercenaries, the pope and his companions. To my surprise, actually. The writers of their last adventure together actually drew me through a complex logical and religions explanation of Catholic belief, which I would never have expected anyone could make me read with interest. I hoped this book would continue the story, which it does, but it sadly failed to keep my interest. Rather than simply devouring the book in a continuous progress, I began to skip around to see what was happening farther along, then reading some of the ending. And maybe the ending was realistic, but the story just couldn't hold my interest sufficiently for me to actually read every word of the book. So the read date below isn't the date I finished the book, but the day I gave up and just put it aside.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    Good but not great. This is one of the better sub-plots of the greater "Ring of Fire" series. This particular book however is the least of the series. It is unlikely that anyone reading this book hasn't read at some other books in the series. I don't think that excuses literary laziness in writing a complete story. The plot lines and brief moments of action were well written and well paced. There was even enough back story included to keep things understandable to someone unfamiliar with this pa Good but not great. This is one of the better sub-plots of the greater "Ring of Fire" series. This particular book however is the least of the series. It is unlikely that anyone reading this book hasn't read at some other books in the series. I don't think that excuses literary laziness in writing a complete story. The plot lines and brief moments of action were well written and well paced. There was even enough back story included to keep things understandable to someone unfamiliar with this part of the series. Were this fell down for me was with the characters. There are many great characters in this plot-line but this story completely skims over all the back story and inter-relations of the many characters. The greater plot, while complete, was also entirely predictable. No surprises here.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ken Kugler

    1636: The Vatican Sanction, by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon, is a really wonderful new addition to the world of 1632. The split in the Catholic Church is on the verge of open warfare. It is between two sides, the renegade division of Pope Urban and Pope Borja. As usual, the plotting between sides, and you are lead to believe that it is more than just two sides, leads to a challenge from the Cardinals who back Pope Urban and the Protestant Leaders who have been invited to an enclave of many C 1636: The Vatican Sanction, by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon, is a really wonderful new addition to the world of 1632. The split in the Catholic Church is on the verge of open warfare. It is between two sides, the renegade division of Pope Urban and Pope Borja. As usual, the plotting between sides, and you are lead to believe that it is more than just two sides, leads to a challenge from the Cardinals who back Pope Urban and the Protestant Leaders who have been invited to an enclave of many Church leaders. Then there are assassins that are in the town where the enclave is to be. How many different groups and how they maneuver is written in a very entertaining way. I really enjoyed this entre and cannot wait for the follow up to this book, which is scheduled for some time in 2019. I can’t wait.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael Brown

    This is basically an action series. While politics, economics and religion have their place in the tales, they are rather boring subjects when the authors spend most of the books dealing with them. In the shorter Gazette submissions these are good topics for the short stories or articles. But again we have another major book which has at least 80% or more devoted to political dealings and religious arguments. They are crucial to this tale and to the series, yet at this time they were just boring This is basically an action series. While politics, economics and religion have their place in the tales, they are rather boring subjects when the authors spend most of the books dealing with them. In the shorter Gazette submissions these are good topics for the short stories or articles. But again we have another major book which has at least 80% or more devoted to political dealings and religious arguments. They are crucial to this tale and to the series, yet at this time they were just boring for me. At least we are past them for now as a major topic and they are back to supporting themes for the next round of novels ----- I hope.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Edward Hurd

    Another excellent addition to the Ring of Fire series. As someone who’s favorite thread in the RoF is the southern one I loved this book, it was exciting and a quick read. If you’ve read the previous three books in this thread you’ll most likely quite enjoy it. If you’ve not read the previous Southern thread books do not start with this one. It was also pretty neat to see such tight continuity as they talk a goodly amount about developments from some of the other books, it gives it a nice sense o Another excellent addition to the Ring of Fire series. As someone who’s favorite thread in the RoF is the southern one I loved this book, it was exciting and a quick read. If you’ve read the previous three books in this thread you’ll most likely quite enjoy it. If you’ve not read the previous Southern thread books do not start with this one. It was also pretty neat to see such tight continuity as they talk a goodly amount about developments from some of the other books, it gives it a nice sense of being part of a living breathing world.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    Eric Flint and Charles Gannon deliver again. Pope Urban has called for an ecumenical gathering of Roman Catholics, Protestants, and other religions to come together and concentrate on what they have in common. Cardinal Borja has teams out to assassinate Pope Urban and his cardinals. Also in town is Pedro Dolor who wants Pope Urban dead to further his own goals. A nicely twisted thriller set in Renaissance Italy with a mix of uptimer and downtimer technology and techniques. A good addition to the Eric Flint and Charles Gannon deliver again. Pope Urban has called for an ecumenical gathering of Roman Catholics, Protestants, and other religions to come together and concentrate on what they have in common. Cardinal Borja has teams out to assassinate Pope Urban and his cardinals. Also in town is Pedro Dolor who wants Pope Urban dead to further his own goals. A nicely twisted thriller set in Renaissance Italy with a mix of uptimer and downtimer technology and techniques. A good addition to the series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Maguire

    Not my cup of tea I like the 1632 series for the plot twists from 2000 technology in the early modern world: seeing how the uptimers find ways to implement techniques without our worldwide trade and literacy. This contribution doesn't do that. It dumps a mixture of characters and technologies into religious/political intrigue without needing to solve the problems I've come to appreciate. It's just another adventure, but set in the 1632 universe. Not my cup of tea I like the 1632 series for the plot twists from 2000 technology in the early modern world: seeing how the uptimers find ways to implement techniques without our worldwide trade and literacy. This contribution doesn't do that. It dumps a mixture of characters and technologies into religious/political intrigue without needing to solve the problems I've come to appreciate. It's just another adventure, but set in the 1632 universe.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Haserodt

    Equal parts fascinating and tedious. I found the action scenes drawn out and long to the point of just wanting them to be over, and not caring all that much about the outcome. The discussions of faith were quite captivating, and I wanted them to go on and on. It’s good to mix things up, so in the end this was a most pleasant read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gail Morris

    I know that Sharon & Ruy were expecting a baby in the Cannon Law story and I'm pretty sure that she had the baby... but for some reason there is no mention of the child in this book... I think I will go back and read the end of Cannon Law again. Other than that, it was a very good study in medical forensics. I know that Sharon & Ruy were expecting a baby in the Cannon Law story and I'm pretty sure that she had the baby... but for some reason there is no mention of the child in this book... I think I will go back and read the end of Cannon Law again. Other than that, it was a very good study in medical forensics.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Luci

    A was a very bloated book. The first 2/3 took me a long time to get through because it’s a lot of exposition. I miss some of the other characters from the Italian sequence and I feel like characterization takes a backseat to the narrative but to little positive effect. I will continue with the series because I like a lot of the characters but this one was slow going.

  25. 4 out of 5

    donald a miller

    1636:The Vatican Sanction I choose this rating because I thoroughly enjoyed it. Why you may ask,did I so enjoy it ? I don't know .I like the subject I like the authors . That's is as they say that. 1636:The Vatican Sanction I choose this rating because I thoroughly enjoyed it. Why you may ask,did I so enjoy it ? I don't know .I like the subject I like the authors . That's is as they say that.

  26. 4 out of 5

    James

    An espionage and political novel and somewhat talky in parts, it's the end of a subplot so I don't recommend it as a first read in this series. It did make me read up a bit on Vatican II, an interesting read. An espionage and political novel and somewhat talky in parts, it's the end of a subplot so I don't recommend it as a first read in this series. It did make me read up a bit on Vatican II, an interesting read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jim Hitchcock

    Fine adventure and food for thought This entire series has been a joy. It reminds me of my fervent wish for more people who make decisions based on long term results with long term defined as generations rather than days.

  28. 5 out of 5

    David

    I think this volume was overly long and overly complicated. The action when it happened was good but many a long page was spent in deep theological argument that was hard to penetrate. The pace needs to pick up.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Better than most of the books I've read recently in the "1632" series, probably due to Charles Gannon being the co-writer. Although I did skim some of the theological disputation. Probably more in the 3.25 - 3.5 star range, but I'm feeling generous tonight. Better than most of the books I've read recently in the "1632" series, probably due to Charles Gannon being the co-writer. Although I did skim some of the theological disputation. Probably more in the 3.25 - 3.5 star range, but I'm feeling generous tonight.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Fully enjoyed this addition to the ring series & the alternate history of Flint & Gannon. The touches of reality of living, fighting, & being the Pope in those days is an honest exposure to what was, & what might have been.

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