1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 23

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 23:

Jesse frowned. “John, I’m a thick-headed flyboy. You’re leaving me behind in the dust.”

Simpson chuckled. “Jesse, you know and I know that the USE is on the brink of a constitutional crisis.”

“That’s putting it mildly. The term ‘civil war’ comes to mind also.”

The admiral grimaced. “Let’s hope we can avoid that. But whether we can or not, there’s no question the domestic situation is going to erupt. What then happens if Princess Kristina — who is the heir to the USE throne, even if she is only eight years old — decides to side with the… what to call them? Plebeians, let’s say.”

The air force colonel shook his head. “I’m still in a cloud of dust. How does coming here to Luebeck put her on the side of the lower classes? I presume that’s what you mean by ‘plebeians.'”

“Oh, I doubt very much if she — or Ulrik, more to the point — plans to stay in Luebeck. The city is just a way station, where they can get themselves out of reach of Chancellor Oxenstierna while they figure out their next move. Which, if I’m guessing right, would be as dramatic as you could ask for. If things blow wide open, they’ll go to Magdeburg.”

“Magdeburg? John, if things blow wide open — your phrase, I remind you — then I’d think Magdeburg would be the last place they’d go. For Christ’s sake, the city is a CoC stronghold.”

Simpson just gave him a level stare. After a few seconds, Jesse’s face got a little pale. “Jesus,” he whispered. “Do you really think Ulrik is that much of a daredevil?”

The admiral shrugged. “It’s not actually as risky as it seems. First of all, because the girl is quite popular in Magdeburg. She’s sided with the Magdeburg masses twice already — that’s how it looked to everyone, anyway. Once during the crisis right after the battle of Wismar, and again during Operation Kristallnacht. And while she was living in the city she not only visited the Freedom Arches regularly but on at least one occasion I know about she went into the kitchen and helped with the cooking.” He smiled. “Of course, I doubt the cooks themselves found her that helpful, but you couldn’t ask for better symbolism.”

Again, Jesse ran fingers through his fingers. “Okay, I can see that. You said ‘first of all.’ That implies a second reason. What is it?”

“Rebecca Abrabanel. That young woman has a spine of steel, don’t ever think otherwise. If Kristina and Ulrik show up in Magdeburg, Rebecca will make damn good and sure no harm comes to them. Not to mention milking the situation for all it’s worth, politically.”

Jesse cocked his head a little. “That sounds almost admiring, John. None of my business, but I’d have thought you’d be more inclined toward this guy Scaglia’s viewpoint than Becky and Mike’s.”

“In some ways, I am. Back home, I was a rock-ribbed Republican, although I didn’t have much use for the so-called ‘values’ crowd. I certainly didn’t have much use for the fundamentalists.”

Jesse grinned. “Being, as you are, the closest thing Americans have to a High Church Anglican.”

Simpson nodded. “Episcopalian, through and through. And Mary’s a Unitarian, so you can just imagine her opinion of the Bible-thumpers. Still, I’m a conservative, by temperament as well as conviction. I admit I screwed up badly when we first came here, and since then I’ve generally sided with Mike Stearns. But he still often makes me uncomfortable and there’s a lot I agree with in Scaglia’s approach. On the other hand…”

He trailed off into silence.

Jesse cocked his head still further. “Yes?”

The admiral sighed. “I don’t always trust Mike to do the right thing, but I do trust him to do something. And in the situation we’re coming into, I think that willingness on his part to act may be the most critical factor. Whereas I don’t see how Scaglia’s gradualism is going to be much of guide in the days ahead.”

“To put it my crude terms, you’ll side with Mike.”

“Not… exactly. I think what’s going to happen is that Prime Minister Wettin is going to start breaking the law — the spirit of it, for damn sure — and then Mike will toss the rules overboard himself. Depending on the circumstances, I don’t know that I’d take Mike’s side. What I’m sure and certain of, though” — his face got stiff — “is that I damned if I’ll do Oxenstierna’s dirty work for him. And Oxenstierna’s the one who driving all this, it’s not Wettin.”

Jesse looked at the radio message lying on the table. “So you’ll tell her to come here.”

“Yes. And I’ll guarantee her safe passage — she’ll be taking the Union of Kalmar across, so there’s no way the Swedish navy could intercept her — and I’ll guarantee her the protection of the USE Navy while she’s in Luebeck.” His face got stiffer yet. “I’ve had my legal staff look into the matter, and while there are a lot of gray areas involved, the one thing that’s clear enough is that Wettin has no authority over the heir apparent and Oxenstierna’s regency — I’m assuming that’s just a matter of time — only has authority over her on Swedish soil.”

Jesse smiled. “It occurs to me that Luebeck is not Swedish soil.”

“No, it is not.”

“It also occurs to me that if the navy wants to, it can pretty much hold Luebeck against all comers. For a few months, anyway.”

“My own estimate is that we could hold it for at least a year, actually. It’s hard to take a well-defended port city when you don’t control the sea it fronts on. Not impossible, of course, but very difficult. It would help, though…”

Again, he trailed off into silence. Jesse’s smile widened.

“It would help if you had air support. If you needed it. God forbid.”

The admiral nodded solemnly. “God forbid.”

“Well, God doesn’t actually run the air force. I do. And I agree with you that our eight-year-old princess has the right to visit her own domains-to-be whenever she wants to, without interference from busybodies.”

There was silence in the room. After a while, Simpson said: “The Ring of Fire seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?”

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21 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 23

  1. Cindy Curry says:

    Simpson has come a long way since 1632.
    I wish we didn’t have to wait until April for the book to come out.

  2. SteadyEddy says:

    …..We, the readers of Baen books, and Flint in particular, demand that the EArc for 1636: The Saxon Uprising be posted immediately! If our demands are not met, we shall begin to bombard any and all forums we find until it is done! If it is STILL not done, we will then proceed to foaming at the mouth and banging our heads against our keyboards. You cannot win! Give in and give us the Earc!

    In Baen We Trust,

    The United Baen Readers People’s Front

  3. Bret Hooper says:

    @1 Cindy: Actually it was late in 1631 when Grantville arrived in Thuringia. And yes, Simpson has come a long way, and so have Mike, Rebecca, G2A/Gars, and many others. On the other hand, it is interesting to note who hasn’t, including Ox&Sterno, Charlie Twodoor, and many of the Niederadel, etc.

  4. dave o says:

    King and/or Princess and third estate vs. the Aristocracy. This is a common historical theme. Kristina has shown no fondness for her bevy of noble hangers-on. On the other hand…

  5. Cobbler says:

    @ 2: As tempting as the name Charles TwoDoor may be, Charles I, unlikely Saint and “the wisest fool in Christendom”, was really a Stuart.

  6. Cindy Curry says:

    @2 It wasn’t even late 1631; I was referring to the book title. Sorry, I didn’t make that clear.

  7. Drak Bibliophile says:

    To: The United Baen Readers People’s Front

    From: Dragons United To Defend of Baen

    If you “begin to bombard any and all forums until you get the EARC”, we promise to melt down your PCs.

    As for “foaming at the month and banging your head”, that’s another matter. [Very Big Grin]

    Seriously, I don’t know if Eric has turned in Saxon Uprising to Baen so we all may have to wait longer for the EARC.

    Of course, I want it as well. [Smile]

  8. ET1swaw says:

    @2 Bret: ROF was in May of 1631. NUS was formed later in 1631 lasting independent ? 1631 to Nov 1633) and under CPE (Aug 1632 to Nov 1633). Became SoT and then SoTF under USE (Nov 1633 to present).
    @3 Dave O: Even OTL G2A had his main support from third and fourth Estates. He was forced at his coronation to sign over many priveledges (that previous Vasas had stripped) to the Nobility (including tax exemption and high offices nobility only). This was engineered by Axel Oxenstierna. NTL in USE IMO: all of 4th, 2/3 of 3rd, 1/2 of 2nd, and 1/5 of 1st Estates are FoJP/CoC and pro-G2A/Kristina; the remainder are pro-Oxenstierna (still pro-G2A but neutral Kristina). NTL in Swedish Empire IMO: 4/5 of 1st, 2/3 of 2nd, 1/4 of third and little to none of 4th Estates are pro-Oxenstierna; the remainder are pro-G2A/Kristina outright and oppose the heavy hand of the aristocracy as championed by Oxenstierna.
    @4 Cobbler: Not only a Stuart, but the nephew of King Christian IV of Denmark. The Romanovs of Russia are about the only ones not related by blood or marriage

  9. Cyane says:


    It was James I and VI, Charles’s father, who was known as “the wisest fool in Christiandom.” Charles I was merely a fool.

  10. hank says:

    @5 “Wisest fool in Cristendom” was Charle’s father James I of England. Charles was just a fool.

  11. Cobbler says:

    @ 8 ET1swaw: Yes, and Charles’s brother in law Frederick and sister Elizabeth were the Winter King and Queen of Bavaria. Which is how an impoverished Prince Rupert of the Rhine showed up in England in time to help his uncle during the Civil War. I didn’t understand why a spectacular character like Rupert hadn’t shown up in the 1632 universe. Until I figured out that he was only thirteen in 1632. I still don’t know why an interesting guy like Descartes isn’t a player in the NTL.

    @ 9, Hank: Indeed Charles was. My mistake. The “wisest fool” line suits James I & VI better.
    Charles I reminds me of Talleyrand’s description of Charles X in the wake of Napoleon: “He has forgotten nothing and learned nothing.”

  12. dave o says:

    #11 Frederick was Elector Palatine and briefly elective king of Bohemia. Bavaria belonged to another branch of the family. Rupert has an appearance in one of the Ring of Fires, or Grantville Gazettes, I forget which. He talks with Wentworth about knowing what would have happened to both, except for the Ring of Fire. I’m hoping that Montrose appears when there’s a book about Scotland and England. I hope he’s so disgusted that he doesn’t support Charles this time. I don’t know whether it’s from lack of appearance in the story line, or his injuries, but Charles hasn’t done anything stupid or vile lately. I think Wentworth and Rupert, among many others came to realize that Charles was a lot worse than merely stupid.

  13. jeff bybee says:

    Just hope Eric lives long and productively. am looking forward to the next naval books also by david drake just wish they did come faster. years ago their was a series of westerns called easy company about mounted infantry in the late 1870s and for about 32 novels they came out at the rate of one per month. yes small novels but imagion if the half dozen or so 1632 authors each produced two books per year in this series alas I’m less of a fan of the “Balarious” series
    happythanksgiving to all

  14. ET1swaw says:

    @12 ‘The Anatomy Lesson’ by Eric Flint in hardcopy version Grantville Gazette IV. Eric writes a new story for every hardcopy version of GG and ROF anthologies and GG V pulls from GG 5-10 IIRC. GG VI and ROF III will hopefully appear sometime 2011. See Snerkers on Baen’s Bar for gist of Eric’s story for ROF III.

  15. It would be of significance in the ‘hold city timing’ to know if Luebeck has best-quality fortifications, and to know if the opposition has access to Vauban’s methods for taking fortresses. A large army building traces can get in rather faster than a year, if it has enough artillery superiority and can storm, assuming its rear is secure, a bad bet.

    Of course, Vauban did claim he had perfected a method for beating his siege methods, a method that he kept to himself into the grave, lest he ever be defending a fortress, which he never did.

  16. morgulknight says:

    @15, Didn’t Fermat do the same sort of thing with his last theorem? Is doing things like that just a French thing, or is it that they just get noticed more when they do it?

  17. hank says:

    @16 No, Fermat just needed a book with larger margins. Roughly his note said, in response to aproposition in the book he was reading, “I have a marvouls proof of this, but the margin is too small to contain it.”
    Most mathematical historians belive that Fermat actually made a mistake on this, there is a common path attempted to prove this therom that doesn’t work. No one has yet published a proof of Fermat’s last Therom that uses number theory, the one a few years ago was very complicated and came from another branch of mathematics entirely.
    And my wife said I’d never get any use from my BA in math!

  18. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @17 — A book with larger margins? I’ll say! It took Andrew Wiles 100 pages of densely-written text to prove it, and Wiles was using mathematics that had not even been invented in 1637 (when Fermat wrote his marginal note about his “marvelous proof”. Most people think that Fermat was mistaken about his proof. A very few others think that Fermat was correct but that we have not stumbled onto the genius insight that he had.

    Has Fermat made an appearance anywhere in the RoF or GG series?

  19. robert says:

    @18 I haven’t read anything about Fermat in any of the RoF works. But his Theorem did make an appearance in the second book of the Millenium Trilogy.

  20. ET1swaw says:

    @17 I’ve seen him in 1632Slush, but can’t remember if published.

  21. morgulknight says:

    @17, Thanks for clarifying that. I remember seeing an episode of Star Trek: TNG where Picard is trying is hand at proving Fermat’s Last Theorem with the implication that it was still unproven (apparently it hadn’t been when the episode was written), but that whole number-theory thing makes that whole scene make sense again (not going to ask about number theory versus any other; I wasn’t even aware that any others, and my poor mathematically deficient history grad student’s brain would probably melt if you tried to explain it).

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