Flint; Carrico: 1636: The Devil’s Opera

1636: The Devil's Opera (Assiti Shards, #16)1636: The Devil’s Opera by Eric Flint

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

***Read again in Feb 2016, only reading the actual Opera plotline, with some of the Cop plotline. A much shorter read.***

Something for everyone, here.

There are two plot lines, and neither involves high politics, large armies, or international politics. Instead, we meet people ‘on the street’. Do you prefer ballet or boxing? Choose your plot-line!

The ‘Devil’ in this case is a business man, who is ticked off that nepotism didn’t get him a building contract he wanted. Obviously, the proper solution is to hire a few men to sabotage the new building.

Meanwhle, the man who bid successfully is killing people who don’t agree with him. Are we supposed to be rooting for him? The boxer – Hans Metzger – works construction, since boxing isn’t a full time job. Hans sort of adopts Simon the Orphan, as his good luck piece. Simon has the most interesting view point. He has no dad, but there are a few adult men around him, and he is trying to decide what kind of man he’ll be when he grows up – not just what he’ll do for a living (boxing? policing? construction? assasination?) but WHO he’ll be.

This plot-line includes orphan boys, boxers, policemen, construction workers, and a token female or three: the boxer’s Sister (doubles as love interest for a cop),the cop’s Mother and Sister, a Baker, and an old woman (two paragraphs, does that make her a minor character or a barely-there walk-on?) who provides the boxer with old clothing as a disguise.

The Opera is “Arthur Rex”, once and future king, a nod to the politics of the series. Musician Marla vaults into national attention when she channels her anger at the world situation into a passionate rendition of Les Mis’s “Do You Hear the People Sing.” Oh, yes, there are plenty of ‘angry men’ who are ready to beat the drums. Wonder if that will develop anywhere? The song is recorded, goes viral, and suddenly Marla is at the center of a very political opera, playing Guinevere. Marla’s plot has men and women in about equal roles. Also one Italian man who sings soprano.

The two plots run side by side and never meet until the end. The only thing that ties them together is the Evol Bizniz Man, who wants the boxer to become a killer, and is also stalking Marla the Musician.

Fun Read.

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