1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 28

1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 28

Vaxholm Island, in the Stockholm Archipelago

When he entered the tavern and saw the men already sitting at the large table in the center, Charles Mademann’s eyes widened.

Mathurin Brillard.
Robert Ouvrard.
Gui Ancelin.
Guillaume Locquifier
Abraham Levasseur.
André Tourneau.

He hissed in a breath. He’d last seen Levasseur and Tourneau in Scotland, just before he left for Sweden. They’d been there with the leaders of their movement, Michel Ducos and Antoine Delerue. The other four men had all been involved in the affair in Grantville back in March. Ancelin was always ready for anything. Locquifier had an unfortunate tendency to obey orders to an excessive degree of fussiness, but he wouldn’t be here at all if Michel Ducos and Antoine Delerue hadn’t approved the project. Ouvrard, despite his gloomy outlook, was one of the best men in their organization for planning and carrying out decisive actions. So was Brillard, who was a superb marksman to boot. He’d have been the shooter who killed the town’s mayor, Henry Dreeson.

They’d known where to find him, because he’d sent the information to Scotland soon after he arrived. He had no idea where Levasseur and Tourneau had found the other four, who’d have been on the run after the Dreeson incident. Probably somewhere in Holland.

However they’d managed it, they could be here in Sweden for only one reason.

“Oh, splendid,” he said, smiling widely.

Levasseur returned the smile, and gestured to an empty seat at the table. Brillard, on the other hand, was frowning.

“Is this safe, Charles?” he asked quietly, almost whispering. His eyes went to the door at the rear which led to the tavern-keeper’s personal dwellings.

Mademann sat down. “Relax, Mathurin. To begin, the owner is a Dutch Gomarist and thus a sympathizer.”

That was… some ways short of the truth. Geerd Bleecker was indeed a Counter-Remonstrant, as the followers of the theologian Franciscus Gomarus were often called. A stout enough fellow. But his ardor fell quite a bit short of what Mademann and his fellow Huguenots considered necessary for their cause. Bleecker had no idea what Mademann was really planning to do here in Sweden. He thought the Huguenot was just a wealthy exile seeking to recoup his fortunes. Sweden had many industries which were booming due to the influx of American technical knowledge combined with the large and already existing population in Stockholm of Dutch financiers and merchants.

“Perhaps more to the point,” Mademann continued, “Geerd is in somewhat desperate financial straits — or was, until I arrived and provided him with a solid and steady source of income.” Mademann waved his hand about, indicating the interior of the tavern. The wooden building was well enough made, but it was showing clear signs of disrepair. Nothing that threatened the integrity of the edifice yet. Just the sort of mostly minor problems that ensued when the owner of a building was short of funds.

Mademann smiled ruefully; not at his own situation but that of the tavern-keeper. “When Geerd first settled here he was convinced that many of the Calvinist merchants operating in Stockholm would be more comfortable with a tavern located on another island in the archipelago. Away from the eyes of the Swedish king’s Lutheran pastors.”

Tourneau cocked an inquisitive eye. “And…?”

Mademann shook his head. “The thing is, Gustav Adolf keeps his pastors on a tight leash. He wants the Dutch here, so he’s not about to tolerate harassment. No open worship is allowed, but he makes no effort to suppress Calvinists so long as they remain discreet. And this tavern is on the island of Vaxholm, which is just that little bit too far from the capital.”

Ancelin grunted. “Didn’t seem that far, from what I could tell when we came in.”

Gui was not the most imaginative of men. He’d been born and raised in a port city, but he’d never worked the sea himself. So, incurious by nature, he understood none of the realities involved.

“It’s just a few miles,” said Mademann. “But it’s one thing to walk a few miles, it’s another to row a boat across. Especially in a Swedish winter.”

“Ah. Hadn’t thought of that.”

Mademann shrugged. “The distance was enough of an inconvenience that few Dutch merchants have ever even visited here. What little business Geerd has gotten over the years has been from Finnish fisherman and petty traders. Smugglers, most of them, for whom the distance is convenient.”

“We can speak freely, then?” asked Ouvrard.

“Not in front of Bleecker or his wife. They don’t…” He wiggled his fingers. “I saw no reason to burden them with unnecessary information.”

Ancelin grunted again. “Be tough on them after we’re done.”

He was a crude man, too. Gui was saying nothing that they didn’t already understand, so why make a point of the issue? The fate that was sure to befall the tavern-keeper and his wife was unfortunate, of course. But many misfortunes came in the wake of God’s purpose.

So Mademann ignored the remark. “But he usually remains in the back. As long as we’re not shouting, we can speak freely.”

Levasseur leaned forward, placing his weight on his forearms. “You realize why we’re here.”

“Of course. I was hoping someone would come, once I learned of the princess’ visit. On my own, I haven’t even been able to find a way to get to the queen.”

“Prince, too,” said Brillard. “The queen and the heiress would be enough, but we can catch the Danish boy at the same time. That means Christian IV will be as furious as Gustav Adolf.”

All seven of the plotters leaned back in their chairs simultaneously, so great was their mutual satisfaction.

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35 Responses to 1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 28

  1. Summercat says:

    And, as I said in the other snippet, here starts the fun.

  2. dave o says:

    These guys theory was that the assassinations would be blamed on Richelieu. Even if they succeed, this snippet says that it will be impossible to conceal the connection with Huguenots. Hard to see how they can win, even if they succeed. Maybe with luck, they’ll kill the queen, but not Kristina or the prince. I bet Baldur helps foil their plan.

  3. Virgil says:

    it amazing how stupid reliogous beliefs make a person.
    if they are only half sucessful Harry will be given and unlimited funds to close the door on this group.

  4. Scrib says:

    Unlimited funds, and shall we say, orders to make the final moments of the members of this group as…imaginative as possible?

  5. Mike says:

    @2 – while the point was to blame the assassinations on Richelieu, the assassination of the queen was also intended to encourage G2A to remarry. Kristina’s death would force that issue. If Kristina and/or her fiance perish, it throws a wrench in the Union of Kalmar. Granted, I’m not half-crazy, so maybe that’s why I fail to see how dissension among Sweden and Denmark helps to overthrow Richelieu. That’s as likely to destabalize everything in Scandinavia as it is to prolong wars with France.

    @3,4 Too bad Harry at this moment is headed towards Rome to “check up” on Frank Stone. Not that it wouldn’t prevent some revenge afterwards though. It just won’t be soon.

    Given the number of them that are present now (six Huguenots traveling together)it may be interesting to see if Duke De Rohan or any of his network is aware of their relocation. Say, perhaps enough to tip off someone that could pass that information along? Granted, with Stearns and Nasi no longer working for the government, not sure who de Rohan could inform that could do anything, but you’d figure this would be a good way to get on somebody’s good side.

  6. laclongquan says:

    A strong outside threat, ie the current Gustavus with a major chunk of Europe in his pocket, will require a strong government of France with Richelieu at its head, meaning the internal pressure to topple him wont gain much support. A weak outside threat will make France less need of Richelieu, meaning normally neutral nobles/merchants can be enticed into opposition’s camp. It’s why the fanatic splinter group of Ducos had done anything they can to weaken Gustavus’s strength, or destablized the European politic environment.

    Of course, that’s an awfully roundabout way to topple Richelieu, and inefficient beside. Still, for fanatics, it’s good enough.

    From the title, I guess they succeed in killing the queen, but pining the blame on Polish nobles. Or Russian, though this bet is many times worse than the Polish bet. Motives? The Polish King still want to hold Swedish throne .

  7. Mark L says:

    Six crazy Huguenots vs. Baldur Norddahl and Prince Ulrik — to say nothing of Caroline Platzer. Doesn’t seem like a fair fight, even if the Huguenots have surprise on their side. If I were betting on this particular cage match, I’d put my money on Norddahl and Ulrik.

  8. robert says:

    I just wish Eric would do for these nut cases once and for all.

    Were the Huguenots really this crazy or is it just these screwballs?

  9. DougL says:

    @3, plenty of the smartest people in history have been quite religious, plenty of the stupidest and brutalest haven’t been. Fanaticism of any strip can make you stupid, although I really think this group has lost track of the goal at some point. (Just HOW does this hurt Richeleiu? Yeah, @6 is right that a strong outside threat strengthens Richeleiu, but why not just assassinate HIM if you are going to assasinate high political officials in the hope of it changing something somewhere somehow.)

    @6, we don’t need them to pin the blame on the Poles for GA to want to open an Eastern front. He’s already planning to.

    @7 In real life six people willing to work togather could almost certainly pull off a bunch of assassinations and the quality of the betrothed, his bodyguard (singular), and the child’s nursemaid would all be largely irrelevant. The assassins have a sniper who’s been to Grantville and thus at the least has something like a rebuilt downtime rifle with minee balls. They have five other guys with guns and black powder.

    In real life what typically trips groups of assassins up is that they are GROUPS, and not all of them are willing to die for the cause, and their are lots of chances for someone to overhear their meetings or planning or for their timing to get screwed up by random shit.

    But that’s real life. In fiction of COURSE our heroes are almost sure to foil this group without Cristina or Ulrik getting killed and of COURSE Our Heroes will play an active role in foiling the dastardly plot.

  10. robert says:

    I just went and got out our very ancient copy of “The Seventeenth Century” by G.N. Clark, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, off the shelf, and read the relevant pages. Clearly, since the Huguenots and the Catholics in France were, all of them, French, it goes a long way to explain the erratic and intolerant history of both parties over the 75 – 100 years preceding the events of 1632. Parenthetically, at this moment the French are once again exhibiting their religious intolerance–better they should ban smoking in public. I am really coming to believe, despite the Christian Right, that the US is the only country in the world that can handle religious diversity without truly going off the deep end–try as we might sometimes.

    So my conclusion can only be that these guys are just behaving like typical intolerant French religious nuts of the 17th century (not excepting the 18th, 19th–hello Dreyfus–20th and, it seems, 21st centuries). In short, they are madmen.

    Have at me, French posters.

  11. Alternatives: There are several other bodyguards who have neglected to call themselves to the attention of the official bodyguards. The tactical plotting is almost as effective as the strategic plotting. The innkeeper is actually in the pay of the Swedes, too. Her Imperial Highness managed to procure from someone’s collection by sweet-talking them, oh, one of the small Derringer gambler’s pistols (or any of several other implements for serious violence). The horse misbehaves at the wrong moment. The villains are on the lower closer tower and the second best rifle in all the world and its owner — haven’t seen her in a while — are on the further-back higher tower.

  12. bfticardi says:

    @10, The Mackey’s are in England helping to overthrow the cronies of King Charles with her husband last I read…back several books ago. I don’t figure they’ll be in this book or it’s plot tracks. They’ll probably make an appearance in the next series book.

  13. dave o says:

    #5 I just re-read The Dreeson Incident. I don’t recall that getting GA to remarry was any part of their plans. Ducos wanted him and the rest of the top government and oppositon assassinated. Do you recall where you got this?

    #6 I doubt very much that the external threat to France has anything to do with the amount of opposition to Richelieu. The key factors are what jpbs Gaston can promise to fence -sitters, And whether they think he can win. Expecting the nobles Gaston will need to be patriots is expecting something which never happened before.

    #9 Pretty much every assassination in the last couple of centuries was carried out by single nuts. Archduke Ferdinand and a couple of Romanovs are the only examples of groups I can think of. The same is true for William of Orange and Henri IV in down-time recent past.

  14. WCG says:

    OK, so that was the “Dreeson Incident,” huh? I read snippets here for awhile, until I was so completely fed up with the book that I knew I wouldn’t pay money for it. Flint really needs to give a lot more care to his collaborations. I really think he’s pushing books out so fast that the quality has dropped.

    Admittedly, I’ve been wondering what happened to Frank Stone, since “The Cannon Law” left everything hanging. And that was four years ago. Oh, well, I guess I’m not consistent. I want FAST and I want GOOD. But it’s hard for anyone to do both at the same time.

    Regarding the plotters, I really dislike recurring enemies, especially super-villains (not that these seem to be super-villains). I guess it’s just a pet peeve, but I want enemies defeated, thoroughly, at the end of each book. There are always new enemies, aren’t there? At any rate, this seems to be a book I’ll enjoy. Series tend to go downhill, I realize that. So I’m not expecting another “1632.” Just not another “The Dreeson Incident” (or as much of it as I read).

  15. robert says:

    @12 Lord Montbatten.

  16. Mike says:

    @11 – The initial plot was to kill GA and all the rest of the upper political hierarchy. Later on when the group in Frankfurt on Mainz realizes that’s likely not possible they discuss other possibilities. They sent the single assassin to Stockholm with the intent of possibly killing the Queen (maybe Axel Oxenstierna too?) and any others and it was remarked offhand that if the Queen was killed as was Kristina, it would certainly force a remarriage.

    At least, I thought that was where it was discussed in the book. It could have been mentioned by the single assassin in his brief scene at the end of the book too. I don’t have the book onhand.

  17. Xellos-_^ says:

    anyone know when the ARC will be out?

  18. DougL says:

    @13, Yeah, that a single nut is sufficient is part of my point, these six are perfectly capable of having everyone else provide a distraction for the lone Gunman, they’ve used that method and it works. The six of them CAN kill Kristina, and nothing about the quality of Baldur or Urlik or Caroline makes any difference at all to that conclusion.

    In theory six united nuts SHOULD be vastly more effective, but as I said, in the real world the weakness of a group is that it is a group.

    That said, there were a substantial number of group assassinations in late 19th century/early 20th century Japan. As @16 mentions there’s the IRA which had a fair number of group assassinations most notably of Lord Montbatten.

    And of course as you know, Lincoln’s assassin was part of a group, it’s just that the rest of the group flubbed their parts of the mission, they were trying to get multiple officials, but there was enough compartmentalization for Booth to still succeed. An American listing of successful group assassinations should include Lincoln.

    The counterexample to groups succeeding if they aren’t tripped up by their own membership/size would be the Manson family’s failure to assassinate President Ford, they tried twice, and missed both times, and it wasn’t due to their size making them noticable or to some members getting cold feet.

  19. robert says:

    @17 You might as well wait for the book which will be out Oct 11, $16.50 at Amazon while the Webscription will be $15 and the ARC will be…will there be an ARC?

  20. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Xellos, it is unlikely that there will be an EARC. Eric is running late on this book.

    Robert, minor nit. It is $15 if you purchase the full month, but $6 if you purchase the individual ebook from Webscriptions.

  21. @9 As I recall, the group’s original goal was to force the French church to split from Rome. They seem to have decided the religious liberty of the USE is more a threat to their vision than Rome itself.

    Either that or they’re just following the old terrorist maxim “If you can’t kill the one you hate, hate the one you kill.”

  22. hank says:

    @9 (I think) Assassin dumped his uptime rifle in the creek in Dreeson Incident, Minnie marked the spot for the cops.
    Who needs Harry or Ulrick or… once Miss Denise Beasle finds out where they are, they’re toast! :)

  23. Jason says:

    Also remember these people are being led by a man that had been mentioned before is not playing with a full deck. So if somewhere in his reasoning killing the Queen of Sweden, Princess Kristina, and Prince Ulric can be made to look like Richelau did it. Then it must be work no matter how insane the idea really is.

  24. Damon says:

    @10 I seem to recall the French have already banned smoking in restaurants. The law took effect in Jan 2009.

    I would agree that the French seem to be seriously bent out of shape about Islam and it’s dress code for women these days.

    Is that religious intolerance or haute coutoure?

  25. robert says:

    @24 Good one. It could be style, but … excuse me, I had to giggle.
    OK, I’ll be a bit kinder and just call it provincial discomfort with diversity. Which is still nuts because they have long had populations of Algerians and Vietnamese and Cote d’ivoirese and other flavors of folk living there-but mostly in Paris and environs and in the Mediterranean south.

  26. TimC says:

    @10 @24
    French view on ‘integration’ was to make all the foreigners ‘little Frenchmen’. I suppose that is not quite the same as the US melting pot-that changed the language spoken into English but left the religions- if varieties of Christian anyway -different. I don’t know that either is better than our ludicrous ‘multiculturalism’ here in Britain. Apologies, I must have slipped into the wrong mode, this is supposed to be a 1630’s blog.

  27. robert says:

    @26 Notice what Eric is doing with language. It is absolutely on point. Where two languages come together (here it is English and German) a third “border” language springs up. Like Alsatian or Catalan. But English being a Germanic language, already had a lot of German-like words (the “f” word springs to mind for some reason). With all the borrowings in modern American English, originally Germanic, then came 1066 and all that French and later a lot of middle German dialect words and Spanish from the Caribbean Basin, the Grantvillers had no qualms about adopting words and phrases.

  28. jeff bybee says:

    @24 the restriction is more practical than religious intolerence and we have simi9lar laws in the us. try driving around with a mask on so your face is covered and the police are going to stop you very quickly and if you want real atension try wearing a mask into a bank an airport or a rederal office building ( grin)

    I do agree that I wish the stories would come faster, and I also wish Mr Flint was still working on the ” river of war series” which in the afterword of the tangled web I think he refered to as the sam huston series as he lamblasted the ” great man theory of history” also in the afterword Mr Flint listed several up comming books and I was reminded what mr mitchner wrote when he brought out several books near the end of his life that were shorter than usual. ” i hafd a number of subjects I wanted to write about but since my ad verage book takes to years to write I relised that very few authors live to an age of 144 ” I hope all my favorite authors live long but write faster

  29. alejo says:

    I’m surprised the huguenots are cast in such a bad light in this series. Everything I’d read about them depicted them as industrious go-getters, gifted crasftsmen, and in all other ways an asset to the lands they fled to from Catholic France. They were the French analogs to the Puritans who fled England and wound up being known as the “pilgrims” here in the States. In fact, wasn’t Turenne a huguenot? I seem to remember this about him. His abilities as a genral gave him special dispensation from the crown. Perhaps someone can confirm. He might’ve been a calvinst but I am almost certain he was huguenot.

  30. ET1swaw says:

    @29 Turenne is a huguenot, both OTL and NTL, as was made series canon by his conversation with Cardinal Richeliu when he was made a General of France (much earlier in NTL than OTL). (Either in ‘Baltic War’ or ‘1633’)
    A familiarity with ‘The Dreeson Incident’ is a major help with the backstory of the gentlemen in the inn. Ducos (and his anti-Richeliu stance) goes back to ‘The Gallileo Affair’ as well. IIRC there may even be bits and pieces in GG stories. All that aside, I think the author walked the tightrope well between infodump for new readers and just-the-story for avid series readers!
    From what I understand there may not be an EARC for this book. Publication seems to close on to completion.

  31. Mike says:

    @29, 30 – to cover in a few missing pieces on the huguenots as depicted in the series: 1635 Dreeson Incident(in the passages not dealing with local family history) definitely shows there are Huguenots that are opposed to Ducos and the group in this passage, some that are rather prominent (namely the Duke de Rohan) down to average characters (like the garbage collector). There are also a large number of people that are either Huguenot exiles themselves, other Calvinist exiles (like all the ones from the Palatinate) or Calvinist individuals mixed in with the general non-Calvinist population (like the Dutch innkeeper in this passage) who interact with Ducos group and are not crazy fanatics. A few characters even work for both the “good” Huguenots and Ducos’s group – some knowingly, some unknowningly. Several people even think they are working for the “good” ones when they are actually doing things for Ducos’s group – Ducos and others lie and say it’s on behalf of Duke de Rohan who is generally held in good esteem by the Huguenot exiles.

  32. ET1swaw says:

    @31 So many Calvinist splinters: Remonstrants, Counter-Remonstrants, Huguenots, Walloons, Anglicans, Presbyters, uptime Baptists, uptime Methodist, etc.(pretty much most non-Lutheran protestant sects). You can probably add in the Brethren (moravian), the Polish Brethren, and Puritans also. Though some claim pre- or concurrent with Calvin and Luther, so I may be wrong. There are even offshoots like Cagots. Other than national variations, the Catholics (not counting the original protestsnt split) seem to have gotten off lighter (AFAIK: Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Celtic Rite).
    Thus the innkeeper (a Dutch Counter-Remonstrant) can find common ground with French Huguenots (though a radical splinter group under Ducos).
    Ducos is still in Scotland; where Julie, her husband, Darryl, Stephen Hamilton, Gayle Mason, Cromwell and others are headed. Maybe if these Ducos-men don’t get wiped in this book, Julie and her pals will have the pleasure in the Scotland/England offshoot (?Julie’s Revenge?). Then again, at the end of ‘Dreeson Incident’ Duke de Rohan was thinking of going scalphunting for Ducos and his merry men. If they try something in Stockholm, any wish for their continued survival, even by other huguenots, will be slim to none.
    As you said, there are and were witting and unwitting double agents (Ducos/deRohan), dupes (of all stripes) and coerced supporters. These Ducos-men discard others without a thought or twinge just as Ducos would discard them!

  33. kwinn says:

    @28, you seem to have come up with a great salutation for favorite writers…Live long and write faster. (Apologies to Spock and trekkers.)

  34. hank says:

    @32 Just a feww quibbles:
    Anglican is not Calvanist. C of E basically started off split between “catholic without the pope” (Henry VII’s position) and Lutheran influenced (like ABC Cranmer). Some of the Marian exiles spent their time in Geneva and came back with a heavy Calvanist gloss, most of them became Puritans and left the C OF E eventually. Anglican Communion churches still remain uneasily balanced ‘twixt Luther, Calvin & catholisicism it’s part of the fun! Also a big part of the High/Low church division (theologically, not just that “Smells & Bells” nonsense.)
    Oh, and the Orthodox/Roman split (The Great Schism) was in anno domine 1054, nearly 5 centuries before Luther. The Greeks never did accept the authority the Bishop/Patriarch of Rome claimed and it finally came to a head with the Patriarchs of Rome & Constantinople excommunicating each other. And yes, I do know that there were attempts to paper over the breech later on (mostly after the 4th Crusade sacked Constantinople (1204) & just before the Turks finally captured it (1453) but they were politically motivated and meaningless in the actual life of the Church.

  35. Daryl says:

    @33 I was educated at a “High Church” C of E boarding school, and 45 years ago it was more Catholic than the Pope, having Latin Masses, Monks in cowled vestments, and all the old style Catholic trappings. Yet it was accepted by the mainstream church as part of their flock. Cured me of religion anyway.

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