1634: The Baltic War (The Assiti Shards) by David Weber, Eric Flint

By David Weber, Eric Flint

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Both of you. " "I wasn't feeling like a worthless parasite," Thorsten said stiffly. Gunther's eyes widened, almost histrionically. "You weren't? " Thorsten was starting to get a little angry, but Eric's sudden burst of laughter punctured that. His friend had a cheerful outlook on life that was often surprisingly contagious. "He's only smart about things that he's actually thinking about, Gunther," Krenz said, "and he concentrates his attention to the point of being oblivious about everything else.

Thorsten came from a village not far from Amberg in the Upper Palatinate. There were iron mines all over that area. For generations, men in his family had often supplemented their income by doing a stint of work in the mines. Thorsten himself had done so for a few months, when he was seventeen. A former miner, for a commander. That might be . . pleasant. Even in a war. Perhaps especially in a war. Anger that had been simmering for a day and half, under the grief and the guilt, fed by the nightmares and the horrible sudden images, began to surface.

But there was no Germany, as such. In the world they'd left behind, Germany would not become a nation of its own for another quarter of a millennium. In this world, it was already emerging—largely because of Mike Stearns. And so, that third edge, that Simpson was very ambivalent about. A genuine national consciousness was emerging here, two hundred and fifty years ahead of schedule. The name for the nation might be the neutral "United States of Europe," but for all intents and purposes what was really happening was the unification of the German people and the German lands.

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