***Dave Hill's Reviews > Flag in Exile

Flag in Exile by David Weber
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's review
Apr 14, 14

really liked it
bookshelves: text, favorites
Read in March, 2014 , read count: 4

One thing Weber deserves credit for is introducing the "good guy bad guy" character amidst his morality plays. It would be easy for all the Peeps to have twirling black mustachios and meld evil and stupidity into clay pigeon opponents. Instead, in a long-standing tradition of military history, Honor faces not just fiends from the Pit, but honorable enemies, of the "under other circumstances we could have been friends" sort, as more interesting and plausible adversaries (and, in future volumes, occasional allies).

This would be easy enough to do with the Peeps, but he even makes it work with some of the reactionary forces on Grayson. Weber is less interested in condemning ideology per se, but the people who follow it, and his real "Bad Guys" are the ones who are cowards, or who pursue their political battles for petty or self-aggrandizing reasons.

It's not a lot of nuance, but it keeps the Honorverse from becoming too much of a Flash Gordon serial, and that's a good thing.


[Apr 2012]

Honor, exiled from Manticoran society and beached from its military due to killing off her long-time nemesis in a duel the previous book, heads "home" to Grayson, to take up her ducal duties as Steadholder.

That lets Weber play again with conservatism and religious zealotry -- good and bad -- as Honor's increasingly successful efforts to modernize her little corner of Grayson run smack-dab into reactionary conspiracy, leading to sabotage, mass murder, and scandal, as well as more Utterly Heartbreaking and Emotion-Numbing Tragedy for Our Hero.

The hits keep coming, though, as we end up with assassination attempts, sword fights, *and* (in case we'd forgotten this is space opera) a major space battle against impossible odds.

And, dammit, for as awful as that all sounds, Weber makes it work, not just tugging but fiercely twanging all the heartstrings, making you hiss and boo at the villains, cheer and gasp for the heroes.

Weber continues to increase the non-Honor time in this book -- with political discussions both on Manticore and Grayson, the Evil Conspirators, the Menacing Peep Navy, and getting into the heads of some of the antagonists (who occasionally have hearts of gold and come off as sympathetic -- or at least people you can feel sorry for).

But Honor continues to take center stage, and if it all seems highly improbable in retrospect, Weber keeps the action coming from all directions fast and furious enough (albeit between lengthy conversations between various players) that it works, at least while you're reading it. Or, in my case, rereading it yet again.

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