Book II of The Assiti Shards. 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. The democratic ideals of the CPE have aroused the implacable hostility of the privileged and powerful who draw up secret plans against these upstarts from the future. But the USE is also working in secret. A group of West Virginians have secretly traveled to Venice to combat a plague – and hope to establish commercial ties with the powerful Ottoman Empire. Most important, they hope to establish private diplomatic ties with the Vatican. But a Venetian artisan involved with the West Virginians may cause all their plans to come to naught. Having read 20th century history books of the period, he has become determined to rescue Galileo from his trial for heresy. The Americans are divided on whether to help him or stop him—and whether he succeeds or fails, the results may be catastrophic for the USE. Cover art by Tom Kidd.