The Dark Ages Strike Back!

After a cosmic accident sets the modern West Virginia town of Grantsville down in war-torn seventeenth century Europe, the United States of Europe is forged in the fire of battle. Now Spain makes its countermove on the Enlightenment brought by the West Virginians, as Cardinal Gaspare de Borja y de Velasco sets into motion a plot to establish Spanish hegemony over the city-states of Italy and to disgrace and assassinate a pope who has been friendly to the new ideas.

But there are those -- up-timers and locals alike -- who are determined that the fire of sweet reason so recently lit will never again be extinguished. To do so they must summon all the willpower and political craft they can muster. For they face the Heart of Medieval Darkness Itself, an implacable foe determined to use force of imperial arms and treasonous deceit to retain its grip on power -- and to be sure that life for all but the wealthy and connected remains nasty, brutish, and very short.

None of which is a surprise. You see, it’s 1635. Everyone expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Alternate history master Eric Flint teams again with Andrew Dennis (1634: The Galileo Affair) in a return to war-torn Italy for the latest idea-laced thriller in Flint’s massive “Assiti Shards” saga!

Cover Art by Tom Kidd

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This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.

First printing, October 2006

Distributed by Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Pages by Joy Freeman (

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-0938-7
ISBN-10: 1-4165-0938-0

Copyright© 2006 by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.

A Baen Books Original
Baen publishing Enterprises
P.O. Box 1403
Riverdale, NY 10471

Electronic version by Baen Books


Map of Italy

(t/k: from 1634: The Galileo Affair)

Map of Rome

(t/k: new map)

Books by Eric Flint

Ring of Fire series:

1632 by Eric Flint
1633 by Eric Flint & David Weber
Ring of Fire ed. by Eric Flint
1634: The Galileo Affair by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis
Grantville Gazette ed. by Eric Flint
Grantville Gazette II ed. by Eric Flint
1634: The Ram Rebellion by Eric Flint with Virginia DeMarce et al.
1635: The Cannon Law with Andrew Dennis
Grantville Gazette III ed. by Eric Flint (forthcoming)

Joe's World series:

The Philosophical Strangler
Forward the Mage (with Richard Roach)
Mother of Demons
Crown of Slaves (with David Weber)
The Course of Empire (with K.D. Wentworth)

With Mercedes Lackey
& Dave Freer:

The Shadow of the Lion
This Rough Magic

With Dave Freer:

Rats, Bats & Vats
The Rats, The Bats & The Ugly
Pyramid Scheme

With David Drake:

The Tyrant

The Belisarius Series
with David Drake:

An Oblique Approach
In the Heart of Darkness
Destiny's Shield
Fortune's Stroke
The Tide of Victory
The Dance of Time

Edited with David Drake
& Jim Baen

The World Turned Upside Down

With Ryk E. Spoor:

Mountain Magic (with David Drake & Henry Kuttner)


The Epic Struggle for Freedom and Justice Continues!

Sequel to the New York Times Bestseller
1634: The Galileo Affair