The Thirty Years War continues to ravage 17th century Europe, but a new force is gathering power and influence: the Confederated Principalities of Europe, an alliance between Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, and the West Virginians from the 20th century led by Mike Stearns who were hurled centuries into the past by a mysterious cosmic accident. Inspired by the example of American freedom and justice, a movement in Franconia among the peasants, who have revolted several times even before the arrival from the future of the town of Grantville, an independent revolutionary movement has arisen, flying the banner of the head of a ram. The West Virginians fully approve of liberating the peasants from the nobility, but they are also aware of how revolutionary movements can lead to bloodbaths. And avoiding that deadly possibility will require all of their future knowledge and all their plain old American horse-trading diplomacy. . . .