Eric Flint Wiki
Tom Simpson
Fictional Character
1632 series
POD: May, 1631
Appearance(s): 1632,
1634: The Baltic War,
1634: The Bavarian Crisis,
1635: The Cannon Law
Ring of Fire III
1635: The Papal Stakes
1636: The Ottoman Onslaught
Nationality: United States of Europe (born in the United States of America)
Religion: Episcopalian
Occupation: Soldier
Parents: John Simpson (father),
Mary Simpson (mother)
Spouse: Rita Stearns (wife)
Created by: Eric Flint

Tom Simpson was the brother-in-law of Grantville leader Mike Stearns. After the Ring of Fire, Simpson became a critical military leader and an important political figure in his own right.

Before the Ring of Fire[1][]

He was the son of corporate magnate and former Navy officer John Simpson and socialite and champion fund raiser Mary Simpson. Tom's relationship with his parents was always difficult, as John always assumed that his son would follow in his footsteps.

Instead, Tom went the the University of West Virginia to play football. He met nurse Rita Stearns, a native of Grantville. Her brother Mike was a miner and labor organizer. To his parents' disgust, he married Rita in 2000, although they did attend the wedding. At the reception afterward, the Ring of Fire event transported the entire town to Germany in the year 1631. Tom grew estranged from his parents in the months after the event as John Simpson and Mike Stearns battled politically for the destiny of the town, and Tom supported Stearns over his father.[2]


To down-timers, the most remarkable thing about Tom Simpson was his sheer size. As might be expected of an offensive lineman who was almost up to the standards of the National Football League, he was a big man even by the standards of late-20th-century America. To 17th-century Europeans, he was huge.


After the Ring of Fire, Simpson briefly floundered. While Stearns had offered him a political office, Simpson refused. He also realized how little business acumen he possessed. He enlisted, but proved an adequate soldier at best. Finally, he volunteered to join the new German battalions that were being incorporated into the Army. He was involved in small actions or battles while serving in the NUS/CPoE/USE armed forces.

In 1633, Stearns agreed to try mediating a reunion between Tom and his parents. Concurrently, Rita Simpson was appointed the head of an embassy to England, which Tom accompanied as the senior military officer. However, Charles I of England had the entire embassy placed under house arrest in the Tower of London. The entire embassy remained there until rescued by Harry Lefferts. Upon their return to Grantville, Tom and Rita made their peace with John and Mary Simpson.

This was timely. Shortly after their reunion, Mary Simpson and her traveling companion Veronica Dreeson were captured by Maximilian of Bavaria. Tom Simpson was promoted from Captain to Major for his part in developing a rescue plan; his co-author, Lieutenant Eddie Cantrell, was promoted to Lieutenant Commander.

Envoy to Gustavus Adolphus[]

In April, 1632, Gustavus Adolphus requested a meeting with these fabled Americans. Rebecca Abrabanel, now Rebecca Stearns, agreed to lead an embassy. Tom and Rita were also selected to go, as were Ed Piazza, and Julie Sims (who'd just agreed to marry Alexander Mackay). Part of the mission was to assure Gustavus the reports he'd heard were true. The other part was to show that the Americans were not witches, or any other sort of threat. Despite some uneasiness (Rebecca was pregnant), Mike Stearns agreed to the mission.

Tom and Rita were present for the actual diplomacy and establishment of an alliance between Gustavus and the NUS. The next day, the Simpsons acted as observers at the Battle of Rain, where Lennart Torstensson used American artillery to great effect.


In July, 1632, Simpson was Heinrich Schmidt's second-in-command in the defense of Suhl. With a unit of 300 or so men, they used American firearms to hold off an advance of Swabian mercenaries. Although Schmidt was quite blase about the whole thing, chalking the attack up to Swabian stupidity, Simpson was not sure. Further events proved him right.


In May of 1635, he, along with his wife, James Nichols, and Melissa Mailey, traveled to Rome for Sharon Nichols' wedding, and got caught up in Cardinal Borja's invasion. While there, he was part of the mission that rescued Pope Urban VIII from the Castel Sant'Angelo.


  1. 1632, Chapter 1
  2. Ibid. Chapter 38