|Ring of Fire II|
|Preceded by||1635: The Cannon Law|
|Followed by||1635: The Dreeson Incident|
Ring of Fire II (Baen, 2008) is an anthology volume set in the 1632 universe, which is sometimes called The Ring of Fire Series. While Ring of Fire II is the second anthology by that name, it is one of several anthologies in the series. Much as with the first volume, Ring of Fire II contains stories by both established science fiction authors and newcomers.
"City of the Dead"
- by Jay Robison
"Noelle Comes Home"
Flint's e-book preface refers to this work as being a prequel to his own short novel (below), but the title does not agree with the credited work on 1632.org's timeframes spreadsheet. The preface to the print editions does not mention this title, and refers to "Second Thoughts" as that prequel. It is conceivable that this was a working title.
The story focuses on four former mercenaries who worked for Count Tilly before being released on good behavior and becoming horse traders in Grantville. While returning to Grantville following a horse trade in France, the traders encountered a foreign mercenary contingent preparing to attack Grantville's allied city, Badenburg. They also observed that the mercenaries were using American Civil War era equipment and doctrines that they had somehow acquired from modern history books. The traders, with help from the American militia, made several skirmishes against the army before finally eliminating them.
- by Bradley H. Sinor
An ambitious reporter observes mysterious circumstances, but his conclusions are only conjecture. He and his editor stake out the scene, and are introduced to a political hot potato that absolutely cannot be made public right now. The editor understands, but the reporter refuses to accept it and vows to tell his story. The editor's bizarre approach to humorously discredit the true story inadvertently gives birth to tabloid journalism in Grantville. There are tight connections between this story and "The Wallenstein Gambit".
- by Gunnar Dahlin and Dave Freer
This diving story focuses on an attempt to raise the sunken Vasa from its resting place in Stockholm harbor. Or is it an elaborate fraud?
- The story does not give dates, but appears to be set in in the summer of 1632, or at least between the formation of the New United States and that of the Confederated Principalities of Europe.
- It makes a passing reference to an unnamed "nosy Norwegian" who "looks like a pirate and is almost certainly a spy"; this may have been Baldur Norddahl.
- The "Admiral Fleming" referred to may have been Clas Fleming.
"A Gift from the Duchess"
"Lucky at Cards"
"A Trip to Amsterdam"
The story focuses on the two groups of maturing tycoons known respectively as the Sewing Circle and the Barbie Consortium, who were initially introduced in the well-written story "The Sewing Circle", and whose story continued in "Other People’s Money", and other seminal background tales. It also deals with efforts to support and stabilize the Dutch guilder following the initial successes of Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand in the Netherlands.
"This'll Be the Day..."
- by Walt Boyes
The story recounts the deeds of Father Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld on the days prior to August 7, 1635, which was when he died in the original timeline.
Note: There appear to be continuity conflicts between this story and 1635: The Papal Stakes, as the final part of The Papal Stakes takes place early in August of 1635.
This continuation of the "Franz and Marla" stories, ties in with a brief mention of the story behind and within the concert as told here. The same tale, from a different perspective, was used as background for the entrance of Admiral John Simpson and his wife Mary as they come on stage during the end of the industrial disaster that begins the novel 1634: The Baltic War.
This installment features Marla in a triumphal debut among the rich and famous in Magdeburg, while the lovable and tragic Franz finds a new musical groove—and is able to play again publicly — while, finally, proving worthy in his own eyes of "getting the girl". Like the preceding Franz and Marla stories, it is an excellent tale told with skill and is good at evoking emotions and painting complex characters undergoing life's pressures.
- by Russ Rittgers
The story recounts the tribulations of a peasant family immigrating to Grantville.
- by Jonathan Cresswell
The story focus on an African Jesuit layman who has an urgent mission in Grantville and elsewhere.
- by Jay Robison
The story focus on the trials of Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi and a Grantville housewife.
- by Iver Cooper
This story is a sequel to "Grand Tour," which appeared in Grantville Gazette X. It features historical figures Thomas Hobbes and William Cavendish (the Earl of Devonshire), and several of the young ladies of the "Barbie Consortium."
"Eddie and the King's Daughter"
- by K.D. Wentworth
Set in parallel to 1634: The Baltic War, the story focuses on Eddie Cantrell, who was captured by the Danes in the confused aftermath of the Battle of Wismar, and who became involved with the natural daughter of Christian IV of Denmark.
The story discloses the events leading to the marriage between the parents of Noelle Brigitte Murphy, and to her decision to change her last name to "Stull".
"The Austro-Hungarian Connection"
- by Eric Flint
This short novel features a return of the enigmatic secret agent, Noelle Stull, introduced in 1634: The Ram Rebellion, who considered becoming a Catholic nun. It tells the story of how she and Janos Drugeth met and became involved with one another.