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Contents

Part One

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Part Two

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Part Three

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Part Four

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Part Five

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Part Six

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Part Seven

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Part Eight

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Part Nine

Chapter 55

Glossary of Terms

Cast of Characters

1637

THE PEACOCK

THRONE

ERIC FLINT

GRIFFIN BARBER

1637: The Peacock Throne

Eric Flint and Griffin Barber

The assassinated Shah Jahan lies entombed beside his beloved wife in the Taj Mahal, while their progeny drag the Mughal Empire into a three-sided struggle over the succession to the Peacock Throne.

The diplomatic and trade mission from the United States of Europe is openly siding with Princess Jahanara and her brother Dara Shikoh. The mission, made up largely of Americans transplanted in time by the Ring of Fire, is providing the siblings with technical assistance as they prepare to fight their rivals for the throne, Aurangzeb and Shah Shuja. Meanwhile, the Afghan adventurer Salim Gadh Yilmaz, confidant of two emperors—Shah Jahan and now his son Dara Shikoh—has been elevated to the position of general. He has great challenges to face, not the least of which is resisting the fierce and forbidden mutual attraction between himself and Princess Jahanara.

As the conflict deepens, the junior members of the mission are sent east to buy opium needed by the USE’s doctors. Their guide, merchant Jadu Das, has an agenda of his own, one entrusted to him by Jahanara: seek out her great uncle, Asaf Khan, and promise whatever is needed to bring his army over to Dara’s side.

The USE’s mission was sent to India in search of goods needed in Europe. But now they find that straightforward task has become enmeshed in a great civil war—for control of the Peacock Throne.

THE RING OF FIRE SERIES

1632 by Eric Flint

1633 by Eric Flint & David Weber

1634: The Baltic War by Eric Flint & David Weber

1634: The Galileo Affair by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis

1634: The Bavarian Crisis by Eric Flint & Virginia DeMarce

1634: The Ram Rebellion by Eric Flint & Virginia DeMarce et al.

1635: The Cannon Law by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis

1635: The Dreeson Incident by Eric Flint & Virginia DeMarce

1635: The Eastern Front by Eric Flint

1635: The Papal Stakes by Eric Flint & Charles E. Gannon

1636: The Saxon Uprising by Eric Flint

1636: The Kremlin Games by Eric Flint, Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett

1636: The Devil’s Opera by Eric Flint & David Carrico

1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies by Eric Flint & Charles E. Gannon

1636: The Viennese Waltz by Eric Flint, Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett

1636: The Cardinal Virtues by Eric Flint & Walter Hunt

1635: A Parcel of Rogues by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis

1636: The Ottoman Onslaught by Eric Flint

1636: Mission to the Mughals by Eric Flint & Griffin Barber

1636: The Vatican Sanction by Eric Flint & Charles E. Gannon

1637: The Volga Rules by Eric Flint, Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett

1637: The Polish Maelstrom by Eric Flint

1636: The China Venture by Eric Flint & Iver P. Cooper

1636: The Atlantic Encounter by Eric Flint & Walter H. Hunt

1637: No Peace Beyond the Line by Eric Flint & Charles E. Gannon

1636: Calabar’s War by Charles E. Gannon & Robert E. Waters

1637: The Peacock Throne by Eric Flint & Griffin Barber

1635: The Tangled Web by Virginia DeMarce

1635: The Wars for the Rhine by Anette Pedersen

1636: Seas of Fortune by Iver P. Cooper

1636: The Chronicles of Dr. Gribbleflotz by Kerryn Offord & Rick Boatright

1636: Flight of the Nightingale by David Carrico

Time Spike by Eric Flint & Marilyn Kosmatka

The Alexander Inheritance by Eric Flint, Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett

The Macedonian Hazard by Eric Flint, Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett

Grantville Gazette volumes I-V, ed. by Eric Flint

Grantville Gazette VI-VII, ed. by Eric Flint & Paula Goodlett

Grantville Gazette VIII, ed. by Eric Flint & Walt Boyes

Ring of Fire I-IV, ed. by Eric Flint

1637: The Peacock Throne

This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2021 by Eric Flint and Griffin Barber

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.

A Baen Books Original

Baen Publishing Enterprises

P.O. Box 1403

Riverdale, NY 10471

www.baen.com

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2535-6

eISBN: 978-1-62579-806-0

Cover art by Tom Kidd

Maps by Michael Knopp

First printing, May 2021

Distributed by Simon & Schuster

1230 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10020

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Flint, Eric, author. | Barber, Griffin, author.

Title: 1637 : the Peacock Throne / Eric Flint and Griffin Barber.

Other titles: Peacock Throne

Description: Riverdale, NY : Baen, [2021] | Series: The Ring of fire

Identifiers: LCCN 2021005965 | ISBN 9781982125356 (hardcover)

Subjects: GSAFD: Fantasy fiction.

Classification: LCC PS3556.L548 A6186927 2021 | DDC 813/.54—dc23

LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2021005965

Pages by Joy Freeman (www.pagesbyjoy.com)

Printed in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Electronic Version by Baen Books

www.baen.com

To my parents, Bill & Donna,

for giving so much down the years

—Griffin

To Professor Stanley Wolpert,

December 23, 1927–February 19, 2019.

Stanley Wolpert was my professor of Indian history at UCLA and the person who introduced me to that immense and fascinating field of the human past. I’ve now written eight novels which are in one way or another set in Indian history—the six-volume Belisarius series which I co-authored with David Drake and the (so far) two volumes set in my Ring of Fire series—and any number of other works in which Indian history and culture figures to some degree. That never would or could have happened without the impact and influence that Prof. Wolpert had on me as a young man. I have been thankful to him for decades and remember him very well, even though I never saw

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