|1635: The Eastern Front|
|Preceded by||1635: The Tangled Web|
|Followed by||1636: The Saxon Uprising|
Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus, has with the aid of the time-displaced citizens of Grantville, West Virginia tipped the balance in the Thirty Years' War and become emperor of much of Germany, now reorganized as the United States of Europe. Having at least temporarily knocked Austria and France, the main enemies of the new state, out of the war, he is free to turn his attention to the rebellious states of Brandenburg and Saxony and pursue his dream of conquering Poland. The former are duly reconquered and the latter invaded.
West Virginian Mike Stearns, former prime minister of the USE, is now a major general in command of the army's third division of the USE army, acquits himself well in the campaign, but atrocities committed by some of his men leads him to establish the Hangman Regiment to police his own forces, under the command of new-minted Colonel Jeff Higgins.
Meanwhile, on the home front, other sequences of events involve Mike's wife Rebecca Abrabanel and the Swedish royal family. French Huguenots attempt to assassinate Gustavus's daughter Princess Kristina in an attempt to provoke the wrath of the Swedes against the government of their Catholic-ruled country. The princess escapes, though her mother, the queen Maria Eleonora, is murdered.
Gustavus's eastern war is stalled in the battle of Lake Bledno , in which he gains a strategic victory but receives a life-threatening wound. His hitherto-loyal chancellor Axel Oxenstierna takes the opportunity to seize power in an attempt to reverse the democratizing influence of the West Virginians, endangering the USE at a critical juncture.