Whether it was a blessed miracle or a disastrous catastrophe, the arrival of Grantville in Europe in the year 1631 created changes that are long-lasting and spreading wider and wider as time passes. In 1634, Louis DeGeer, statesman, merchant, and player of the game of princes, having extracted as much information and technology as he could out of Grantville, makes his move to establish a new state in the Rhineland, a republic that would draw on much of the political philosophy brought back through the Ring of Fire by Grantville. There are those in the westlands of Germany and the Rhine Valley who aren't happy about that. Louis' enemies draw on all the forces of the status quo to oppose his efforts. Louis discovers that it will take strength and determination coupled with careful preparation and planning to face them. And the ultimate confrontations leave things up for grabs until the final moments.