The arrival of Grantville has brought new knowledge, new technology and new opportunities to the continent of Europe. To take full advantage of these new opportunities requires decisiveness few are willing to consider—but Louis De Geer, a Walloon industrialist and entrepreneur, is one of them. When his niece, newly arrived in Grantville, alerts him to the transformed situation, De Geer acts quickly to seize the initiative. But the new knowledge and new technologies, whether it be the mathematics in the Crucibellus manuscripts or new techniques for making steel, are not viewed favorably by many, especially by the reactionary regimes along the Rhine. De Geer knows that time is not on his side. If he wants peace, he must do what every successful nation has done in the past: prepare for war.