A cosmic catastrophe, the Ring of Fire, strands the West Virginia town of Grantville in the middle of Europe during the Thirty Years War. The repercussions of that event transform Europe and, in a few years, begin spreading across the world. By 1636, the Ring of Fire's impact is felt across two great oceans, the Atlantic and Pacific. Stretching Out: The United States of Europe seeks out resources ‑‑ oil, rubber and even aluminum ore ‑‑ to help it wage war against the foes of freedom. Daring pioneers cross the Atlantic and found a new colony on the Wild Coast of South America. The colonists hope that with the up‑timers' support and knowledge they can prosper in the tropics without resort to Indian and African slavery. Then a slave ship visits the colony, seeking water.... and the colonists must make a fateful choice. Rising Sun: In 1633, the wave of change emanating from the Ring of Fire reaches Japan. The Shogun is intrigued by samples of up‑time technology, but it's a peek at what fate had in store for Japan in the old time line that has the greatest impact ‑‑ setting events in motion whose tremors are felt thousands of miles away and for years to come, as Japan pulls back from a policy of isolation and stakes out its own claim in the brave new world created by the Ring.