1636: The Vatican Sanction

1636: The Vatican Sanction

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 ecume...

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Title:1636: The Vatican Sanction
Author:Eric Flint
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1636: The Vatican Sanction Reviews

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kathryn Baron

    This started out very slow indeed. However it did become more enthralling as it progressed.

  • 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.

  • Kathleen

    continued saga re Pope Urban and issues but very slow and weak plot. Characters had no depth. Did not progress story line if it had dealt with issues

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