So my husband has been trying to get me to read this for years. And I finally did.
Really interesting premise, good research, fun characters but two words for you: BAD PLOTTING.
Characters cannot simply disappear for over 300 pages when they are inconvenient. They also cannot simply appear over 450 pages into the book when up until then the reader has assumed (if he or she has thought about it at all) that said person didn't exist/was dead/didn't get caught up in this mess.
The idea of scooping up a town of coal miners and plopping them into the middle of the Thirty Years War is great. One of the coal miners having an M60 tucked away is a little too convenient. Ditto the random "father of a friend" who is a surgeon and conveniently happened to be invited to the wedding that opens the book, thus getting scooped up along with everyone else. Good thing, they were going to need a surgeon.
And on and on and on.
But really, the disappearing characters were much more annoying. The girl who has a nursing baby... right up until she gets married and then the baby drops off the face of the earth. The sister of the main character (who was the bride in the opening wedding) disappears from the time they run out of the wedding reception to see what happened until about page 350... nevermind the fact that she and her new husband live with the main character... who has been elected leader, fought in at least one battle, met a girl, fallen in love AND gotten engaged in those intervening pages... all without a single thought about his family. (Somewhere between page 450 and page 500 you find out that his mother, who has NEVER been mentioned in the book, is alive and lives with them also.)
Anyway, I think my husband is disappointed, but the poor plotting drove me nutty. And since it's nearly 600 pages.... that's a long time to be nutty, lol.
One note though-- the one big sex scene is psychologically very interesting. You take a girl who has only known rape-- 2 years of rape-- and marry her to a man who honestly loves her (insta-love, yea!) and wants to please her and her transition from "I must do my duty to satisfy my husband" to "I can experience pleasure also" is interesting. Well done there. A little explicit, but that is fairly brief.
This is the beginning of a 12 book series (yes, TWELVE)... I haven't decided if I care to read any more of them.... if they were 200-400 pages that would be one thing but sheesh.