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Off Armageddon Reef (Safehold #1)

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  7,915 Ratings  ·  489 Reviews
Humanity pushed its way to the stars—and encountered the Gbaba, a ruthless alien race that nearly wiped us out. Earth and her colonies are now smoldering ruins, and the few survivors have fled to distant, Earth-like Safehold, to try to rebuild. But the Gbaba can detect the emissions of an industrial civilization, so the human rulers of Safehold have taken extraordinary mea ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Macmillan Audio (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Charlie George
The idea behind this series is amazing, so much potential it almost boggles the mind. Unfortunately the author is not up to the challenge he sets for himself. It is limited by one man's imagination and occasionally klunky writing to a naval military history with minor sci-fi elements when it could be so much more.

Don't get me wrong, there are some poignant moments and great battles to be found, but too thinly dispersed in a morass of 3 or 4 times too many characters and too much dwelling on chur
The prologue portion of "Off Armageddon Reef" is a fascinating, compelling and interesting set-up for what could have been a great book.

Humanity is facing extermination at the hands of a ruthless enemy. The last remnants of a fleet are making a last stand in space in an attempt to hide a colony effort that will remove technology from humanity and, hopefully, render the colony off the aliens' radar.

The plan succeeds with some fancy tricks, but then it's revealed there are schisms within the human
Think if this as Commander Data at Trafalgar. The science fiction framing story rarely impinges on the sixteenth century technology of the main story, except in the form of a superhuman android who, not surprisingly, turns everything upside down. The "how" and "why" are well told, but the premise is so weak that it flunks the logic of the framing story--trying to minimize the technological signature of the last human colony world against a superior, but technologically frozen alien race. Plus, f ...more
Peter Heinrich
Nov 04, 2011 Peter Heinrich rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, scifi
Great premise, but mostly unreadable. I guess the editor thought so, too, because I lost count of the typos, repeated words, and grammatical mistakes. Name spellings were a silly distraction throughout the entire book.

Even without the cosmetic errors, however, this book is a slog. The pacing is uneven, and ironically slows to a crawl whenever "intrigue"—I use the word advisedly—is afoot, as the characters discuss every nuance of every potential course of action. There's really not much for the r
Oct 22, 2014 Jim rated it it was ok
Excellent world with a wonderful problem & plenty of sea action. Well set up for a more books & I really had high hopes for it, but I was disappointed. Weber's tendency for data dumps was evident, but even worse, he seemed to think his readers were idiots. It was nice to see an issue from both sides, but not every time & in so much detail. Often, even the same character would recap their thinking & plans, often in gory detail. Once was plenty, twice was boring, but the third time ...more
Tom Burkhalter
Feb 09, 2012 Tom Burkhalter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
David Weber ... oh my. David Weber has a horrible, bad habit of going on and on and on and on and on and on and on -- and on and on some more -- in this book about things that could simply be edited and still leave the story intact. Quite aside from the fact that, reading about him going on and on and on about muzzle-loading cannons made me wonder where I'd read it before, and then I realized it was in the Honor Harrington series, about the multi-drive missiles. I read this book to the end but i ...more
Erica Anderson
I'm a fan of Weber's Honor Harrington books, and as I read the prologue to Armageddon, I settled in with a smile, anticipating some heart-pounding space battles in which clever strategy and human determination would eventually vanquish the foul Gbaba foe.

What I got was unexpected--a plot set dirt-side amidst a complex theocracy peopled by so many characters that I couldn't keep track of them. About a third of the way through, I realized that I was forcing myself to keep reading--something I've
Oct 17, 2013 Patremagne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audiobook
The last 100 pages were unbelievable. Book was a bit long, though.

Picture this: an incredibly powerful race of aliens known as the Gdaba halted the human exploration in space and all but wiped humanity out. The remainder of the human fleet splits up – one half cloaks and stops moving, the other continues flying to draw the Gdaba away. The half of the fleet that cloaked and escaped colonized an Earth-like planet called Safehol
***Dave Hill
Jun 22, 2011 ***Dave Hill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text
There's a lot to like here for David Weber fans. It's a new series for one thing, and (aside from some brief introductory chapters) there's no space opera.

There's sea opera, instead.

There are classic Weber themes here -- multiple nations vying against each other, the advantages that technological advances give, massive battles, tragic and noble deaths, incompetent commanders leading to military disaster, the dangers of Ludditism, and the venality of churches that take on temporal power (vs. the
Jun 14, 2010 Brittany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sciencefiction
This book has gotten very good reviews from people well-versed in the field of science fiction. I'm getting back into science fiction after having been gone for a decade or so, and I forgot something very important about the field: Sometimes SF fans will rave over a book for the quality of its ideas, even if the writing isn't very good. I think that's the case here. The premise of this book (an uber-religious lifeboat population of human established on a planet far, far away to protect it from h ...more
Kathy Davie
May 05, 2016 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, military, action
First in the Safehold military science fiction series revolving around a god-like being and the path he prefers for what remains of mankind.

My Take
Personally, I give it a "7".

Oh, wow!! Damn it, it's a David Weber. I simply could not put it down once I got into it. Weber really knows how to create a cast of characters you cheer on and boo. For those of you who enjoy Bernard Cornwell's Richard Sharpe series or naval histories like Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series, you will pick this up now!
Nov 26, 2013 Aildiin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, novels
I have been a long time fan of David Weber but for some weird reason I had stayed away from his Safehold universe. I was wrong.
This is one of the best book David Weber has written in a while and I am very glad I finally decided to delve in it.
The premises are the following :
While venturing through the stars humanity encountered an aggressive Alien race (the Gbaba) bent on destroying any race it met. After a long fight humanity lost but managed to establish one last stealth remote colony before t
Jul 23, 2011 Ruth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spec-fic
c2007. 782 pages of the paperback version - and sadly it was an uphill battle. I loved the first couple of chapters and then the story, for me, became very confusing - not helped by the character names which I soon worked out were just differently spelt to the "old earth" names but my mind obviously couldn't cope with both complex names and complex plot. I will readily admit that this is probably more my fault than the poor author's. As an example, we have a King Haarahld VII, Ahrnahld, Cayleb e ...more
Karen Azinger
Oct 08, 2013 Karen Azinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the premise of this book, mankind seeking a safe haven to hide from an enemy race with vastly superior technology. And I loved Merlin and the use of magic/science contrasted with the prohibitions of the church, but the pace of the book really slowed to a crawl at times and the characters did not always live up to their potential. While there was plenty of action, not enough happened to advance the overarching plot. In this series, the author really shines in writing the sea battles. Some ...more
This series is awesome, it pits the virtues of grace and innovation against the dogmatic suppression of freedom.

The strength of character possessed by the book's characters is manifest in their struggle against the evil machinations of the corrupt leadership of a world spanning perverted "church".

Overcoming a "religion" attempting to keep their whole world locked in servitude and breaking it's limitation of the human spirit.
Sep 03, 2012 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a style of book I really love: science fiction in a pre-industrial society. Not quite "steampunk", more like fantasy.

Weber is an author I often choose just for light and easy reading, but every now and then he comes up with something with great characters and a deep plot, and this is one of his best.
Susan Beuerlein
May 02, 2012 Susan Beuerlein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always wanted to read David Weber. I love his characters, love this story, but unfortunately it is "to be continued" in sequels. I want to know what happens NOW!
Scott Lee
Aug 25, 2014 Scott Lee rated it liked it
I've been working on this one for awhile--listening on the drive too and from work etc., and while I hesitate to give things I like a three on this site (as, in my opinion most reviews seem to treat a three as a negative or meh response despite it's definition as "I Like it"), but I just couldn't bring myself to go higher.

This one starts off absolutely brilliantly, and had the whole thing been as good as the prologue it would have been a five+ rating and I would be ravening over the prospect of
This book can be a slog if you’re not already a fan of military fiction, but it definitely rewards the patient reader.

Weber imagines the Safehold series on a huge scale. This first book begins with the destruction of the human race, more or less, by an inscrutable alien force. As a final gambit, an expeditionary force is stealthily deployed to an Earth-like planet dubbed Safehold, where all traces of the advanced technology that attracts the attention of the enemy are erased, including memory it
David Gross
Nov 18, 2016 David Gross rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's not often I don't finish a book. But this one? I barely made it a hundred pages. There are ways to do exposition, and there are ways not to. Weber could write the book on how not to do exposition.
May 06, 2016 Kazima rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF even though I only had 6 hours to go on the audio book. I just found out you can return books on audible and I just couldn't bring my self to force myself through this one knowing I could exchange it for something better and not have wasted a credit/money.

This book/series has some seriously high ratings here on Goodreads, but I can only sort of understand why. I really wanted to like this book, because it opened with a bang and hit the ground running with a unique premise. I was so excited
Travis Starnes
Sep 29, 2013 Travis Starnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Off Armageddon Reef we have an advance human society pushed to the brink of extinction and forced to live without the benefits of modern technology in a last ditch effort to survive. Not only do they draw the line at pre-industrial revolution levels of technology but this idea of technological stagnation is culturally programmed to ever person on the planet. When a holdover from the past gets dropped into the equation the entire world is turned upside down. It is an amazing premise and really ...more
Jan 09, 2011 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
First in a series by the author of the "Honor Harrington" books.
Plot in a nutshell: Humanity, having been hunted nearly to extinction by an alien race that homes in on the electrical and radio emissions from their planets, risks all to send out one last colony. The colonists agree to have their minds wiped of even the memory of any tech dating from the industrial revolution or beyond - what you don't remember, you cannot be tempted to build. They do Not agree to be programmed to believe that th
Jun 01, 2016 Zachary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first experience with the works of David Weber was reading the first five Honor Harrington books very rapidly and then taking a long break when I found out how many there are! Like those books, Weber's Safehold series offers deep and wide world-building, excellent character development (with highly relatable characters), and a protagonist nation clearly influenced heavily by British history. It also comes with an interesting premise: powerful aliens have annihilated humanity - but in a daring ...more
Jan 20, 2013 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the start to the "Safehold" series, though I did not know it was a start of a series when I started it or even the basic premise of the book. I was expecting more of a space opera since that's where it starts, but it's really the story of a new human civilization on planet Safehold. Humanity had been wiped out by an extremely xenophobic alien species, but this colony on Safehold was created as a last-ditch effort to save our existence. Since the aliens could detect radiation signatures ...more
Feb 20, 2014 Adrian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When a good friend raves about a book, convinces me to read it, and it turns out that I think the book is dumb, I hate how that puts a temporary damper on the friendship. A coworker strongly recommended this book to me. I think this book is dumb. I think the whole premise is dumb. I think that it's completely sexist that the main character changes genders from female to male so that she can 'better fit in/exercise influence' in the world she ends up in. There are only two kinds of characters in ...more
May 12, 2013 Pegwinn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Humanity got waxed by the evil aliens. In order to not be exterminated we set up a world and invented a religion that keeps technology down. Eventually progress comes a calling and a small kingdom is at odds with a world spanning church that makes the Spanish Inquisition look tame.

Oh yeah, the small kingdom has an android imbued with the soul of a woman centuries dead on their side.

-- The battle scenes are very detailed. If you academically would like to know how to fight and possibly die in a w
Katherine Coble
Thys bhuck ys seew ehnnoieng!!!

There is much to love about this book so far. I'm nearly halfway through it, and the world-building has been intriguing enough so far as to propell me forward.

But I'm afraid I'll have to shelve it for awhile. The ridiculous "have to use all my Scrabble tiles" method of character name spelling is too much of a barrier for my brain right now. I'm constantly having to dart back and forth during conversations to see who is speaking. In a story filled with intricate in
Nov 22, 2008 Don rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A very odd science fiction / fantasy book. Interesting concept in the first 1/4 of the book lost in a long, drawn out middle that really loses its core theme which continues to the very end. Weber seems to drift away from what drives the book about 200 pages in - which is perplexing. The things that were interesting turned into pure horatio hornblower after that.

I had to yawn through about 400 pages of setup to get to the end. If you like science fiction I would not recommend this book - but, if
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Goodreads Librari...: Correct Page Count 2 12 Jul 13, 2015 05:05PM  
Where do we go from here? 7 98 Jul 21, 2013 03:25AM  
  • The Hot Gate (Troy Rising, #3)
  • The Dance of Time (Belisarius, #6)
  • Mutineer (Kris Longknife, #1)
  • When the Tide Rises (Lt. Leary, #6)
  • Crusade (Destroyermen, #2)
  • Victorious (The Lost Fleet, #6)
David Mark Weber is an American science fiction and fantasy author. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1952.

Many of his stories have military, particularly naval, themes, and fit into the military science fiction genre. He frequently places female leading characters in what have been traditionally male roles.

One of his most popular and enduring characters is Honor Harrington whose alliterated name
More about David Weber...

Other Books in the Series

Safehold (8 books)
  • By Schism Rent Asunder (Safehold, #2)
  • By Heresies Distressed (Safehold, #3)
  • A Mighty Fortress (Safehold, #4)
  • How Firm a Foundation (Safehold, #5)
  • Midst Toil and Tribulation (Safehold, #6)
  • Like a Mighty Army (Safehold, #7)
  • Hell's Foundations Quiver (Safehold, #8)

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