This is not the world you know.
The Vikings of Old Europe were masters of the sea. Like the Irish centuries before them, they dominated the Atlantic and her coasts. Eventually, they reached out to the frigid land of glaciers at the western end of the world.
But they did not stop there.
The Vikings opened the way, and word spread of their travels to the strange new land. Europeans flowed into Terra Nova more than five hundred years before Columbus. Other nations attempted to challenge the Vikings, and some met with success.
With a new world open to them, the learned minds of Europe were able to escape the grip of the Church, and the Renaissance bloomed unchallenged in Terra Nova. Science, unhindered by restrictions from canonical overseers, progressed along different paths.
While there are astounding creations like the building-sized analytical engines or the walking automatons called mobens, they also live under primitive circumstances. Most travel is by horse, aeroship, or the occasional rail line. Though signal lines are slowly being strung across the landscape, most communication is done by pigeon, pony, or aeropost. The wealthy may enjoy a parlor lit with Tesla lights from a canter generator in the basement, but commoners make due with naptha lamps and fireplaces.
Through the acids of petty feuds and old grudges, the great nations of Terra Nova now find themselves on the brink of what was thought to be impossible: a continent-wide war.