This is perhaps my favorite among the Honor Harrington series. Harrington's career is at just the right rank--a flag captain with great responsibiliti...moreThis is perhaps my favorite among the Honor Harrington series. Harrington's career is at just the right rank--a flag captain with great responsibilities but without the great demands of actual flag command--to create a great deal of excitement. The fact Weber devotes the book to covering the "eve" of the conflict Manticore and Haven have planned and dreaded for so long doesn't detract from the on the edge of the seat mentality either. The book is also a nice relief from the larger "brick" that was The Honor of the Queen. It is a good, fast-paced read that provides for an enjoyable few days of military SF.(less)
I took a moment to reread the first book in the Honorverse series before reading some of its more recent additions. It was interesting to see how much...moreI took a moment to reread the first book in the Honorverse series before reading some of its more recent additions. It was interesting to see how much the characters and the writing style have changed since I first added the series to my regular reading list. Weber's style has become less technical and more character oriented since the start of the series, and it is clear he was feeling out what he wanted to do with the characters in On Basilisk Station. However, the book remains a stunning good read--and an excellent homage to Horatio Hornblower or Jack Aubrey.
I did find myself yearning for the smaller scope that Honor Harrington's earlier adventures were played out on. At times, the later books seem to be following a character who is perhaps far too close to the strategic centers and grand political power plays to be as interesting as a young captain. Thankfully, Weber's introduction to the Talbot Cluster and Torch story arcs allow long-time readers to relive these simpler times in the Honorverse's "present."(less)
I was interested in the possibilities of a book in the Honorverse that diverged from the main line's focus on military SF. However, the first exercise...moreI was interested in the possibilities of a book in the Honorverse that diverged from the main line's focus on military SF. However, the first exercise into this new spin-off from Honor Harrington's continuing naval escapades was disappointing to me. I will agree with others suggesting that Eric Flint carried most of the work as the creator of the Zilwicki's, but the book is a weak example of what both authors are capable of at their best.
There are some interesting characters. The examination of Erewhon is particularly interesting as a galactic hub that's marginalized to the sidelines in most other Honorverse books, even when Erewhon remained part of the Manticoran Alliance. The individually good components of the book just aren't sufficient to save the whole. Overall, the plot feels contrived and moves from plodding slowness at the beginning to a forced march toward the end. It's jarring, especially with the latter half of the book being closer to the military genre Weber normally performs so well in. Possibly the most contrived element of the book is the chapter-long appearance by Honor herself, which could've been forgone entirely with ease.
The book can be enjoyed by fans, but I would not recommend it as a way to introduce someone new to Weber (unless some serious ulterior motives were at work). I warred with giving the book two or three stars and finally erred upon a positive light hoping that the possibilities of this series will be better delivered on in Torch of Freedom.(less)