Monday, June 4, 2018

James Review -- 1635: The Wars for the Rhine

This week I decided to review 1635: The Wars for the Rhine by Anette Pedersen. 

The story begins with Charolette von Zweibriichen preparing to leave her home, officially to seek aid for her husband, who has left to fight against forces allied with the United States of Europe. In reality, she is worried that if her husband and his heir die in battle, her unborn child will become heir to her husband’s lands, making them targets. 

A report arrives that her husband is dead but a report contradicting it arrives before she flees. The report and contradiction before she leaves cycle repeats multiple times until finally a report of her husband’s death arrives that isn’t contradicted.

She gets away but soon finds herself a prisoner of Archbishop Ferdinand, an ally to her husband who now wishes to use her child to gain control over the area her husband ruled. After her child is born she escapes, along with her baby, and enlists in the militia of Bonn, a city in the path of an offensive by allies of the USE. After she meets Melchior von Hatzfeldt, the general commanding the city’s defenses, they hatch a desperate plan to prevent the attack, a plan that may have massive implications for the region…

Meanwhile, Prince-Bishop Franz von Hatzfeldt is trying to decide how best to adapt to the new laws of the land where he leads the local Catholic church, which has fallen to the USE’s allied forces. While on a journey to Bamberg, the Prince Bishop finds himself combating the schemes of Father Arnoldi, who has been using his authority and forgery to claim lands and wealth, as well as kill those in his way. Eventually, this leads the Prince Bishop and his cousin Wolf into a battle to rescue two young women who are about to be executed by Arnoldi’s allies who had captured the women by mistake while trying to carry out Arnoldi’s order to capture and kill a different pair of women.

I give the book 9 out of 10. It has a variety of interesting characters and different forms of battles and conflicts in the various areas visited in the book. Rather. I should say the protagonist characters and their allies are interesting. The main weakness I found in the story is that none of the characters, whom I feel are the primary antagonists, had much in the way of personality. They were pretty much cruel and evil for the sake of greed and thus had no real redeeming qualities. I half expected them to start twirling mustaches when they appeared. While this doesn’t ruin the story for me I generally prefer villains to have some goal motivation beyond greed and lust for power.

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