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A Call to Duty (Honorverse: Manticore Ascendant, #1)
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A Call to Duty

(Honorverse: Manticore Ascendant #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  3,102 ratings  ·  208 reviews
Growing up, Travis Uriah Long yearned for order and discipline in his life... the two things his neglectful mother couldn't or wouldn't provide. So when Travis enlisted in the Royal Manticoran Navy, he thought he'd finally found the structure he'd always wanted so desperately.

But life in the RMN isn't exactly what he expected. Boot camp is rough and frustrating; his first
ebook, 400 pages
Published September 16th 2014 by Baen Books (first published September 15th 2014)
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Albert Meier Can you skip them? Certainly. They are classic prequels--they develop details mentioned in the Honorverse backstory or history. The main Honorverse…moreCan you skip them? Certainly. They are classic prequels--they develop details mentioned in the Honorverse backstory or history. The main Honorverse was written before them, so you won't lose anything when reading them without the ACtD or ACtA.

Should you skip them? Well...I personally enjoyed them a ton. They are novels in their own right. Each reaches a conclusion of their own and while you know there's more to come, you aren't left with a cliff-hanger that will drive you mad while you wait for more books. In fact, you know (in broad strokes) how the entire sub-series will end because you know the subsequent history from the main story line.

So, go ahead a jump over them. But if you finish the main books or bog down in them, come on back and give them a read. With any luck there will be more in the series by then.(less)

Community Reviews

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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,102 ratings  ·  208 reviews

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3.5 to 4 stars

A new series in the Honorverse, slated to be released next week. We find ourselves back before Manticore knew it had a major wormhole, back before it had any spaceship building industry and soon after a Plague that wiped out much of its nascent population. One of our protagonists is Travis Long, who enlists in the RMN (Royal Manticore Navy) while his supposed friends rob a neighboring jewelry store. Travis acquires a couple of monickers during basic training that reflect upon his a
Jack +Books & Bourbon+
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it THAT'S just what I needed. After finishing Unbreakable by W.C. Bauers, which was most definitely an Honorverse clone, I decided to return to the man who essentially started this type of space opera...Mr. David Weber himself. And I figured, if he is teaming up with Timothy Zahn (another of my favorite science fiction authors), the the results just have to be good, right?

Of course right! I'm honestly surprised these two sci-fi powerhouses haven't teamed up before. Timothy Zahn helps re
Kathy Davie
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First in the Manticore Ascendant series in the overall Honorverse and revolving around a poor, isolated Manticore. It's the year of 1529 PD and well before Honor's time period.

The "4" is more for my enjoying the back history, as it took some 230 pages before we FINALLY got into some action. It was "weird" getting that perspective on Manticore and Haven being friends and allies, and it simply feels too odd. The Republic of Haven is rich, powerful, and generous to its friends and allies. An
Sep 27, 2014 rated it liked it
A first glance this book, and the whole Honorverse: Manticore Ascendent series, looks like a cynical attempt to milk more cash out of the David Weber’s space opera stables. But A Call to Duty rises above its antecedents to bring the science fiction reader close to a hard science fiction tale of coming of age in the (then) galactic backwater of Manticore.

One can only assume that credit to the transformation goes to Timothy Zahn, creator of some of the best-loved characters in the Star Wars Extend
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One question: Why haven't Weber and Zahn done a book before this?!? A Call to Duty combines Zahn's exceptional high quality character development with Weber's hard-core science fiction. I've enjoyed Weber's previous Honorverse books, but sometimes felt they lacked character depth. Now, with Zahn on board, the Honorverse rocks!
A Call to Duty is a masterful combination of plot, characters, and imagery. I cannot wait for the next installment from Weber and Zahn.
Yzabel Ginsberg
(I got an ARC courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

Let's not dwell for too long on the cover, which is definitely a reminder of older SF books design, but didn't do much for me. (To be faire, I got my share of gorgeous covers hiding stupid novels, though. So I assumed that the contrary might be true as well.)

I must also say that I never read any of the Honor Harrington novels; as a result, I can't say if it's true to the Honorverse or not, and can't compare it to other simila
John Purvis
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“A Call to Duty” was published in 2014 and was written by David Weber ( and Timothy Zahn ( This is the first book in the “Manticore Ascendant” series, which is a prequel to the “Honor Harrington” books. Mr. Weber has written more than 45 books and Mr. Zahn 25 books.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through This is a Science Fiction novel set in the far future. I would categorize this novel
Nov 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Honorverse fans
[November 7, 2014]
This book reminded me very much of Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell. They were both about a naive young man who joins the crew of a space ship with no experience and who quickly learns a lot about himself and his capabilities. Of course, Travis joins a war ship while Ishmail joins a trader, so the level of danger is very different. And their personalities are not very similar. But the general thrust of the plots seemed similar.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed both b
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is placed several hundred years before the Honor Harrington series. At that time Manticore was just a little backwater kingdom of little interest. The story starts a little slowly -- understandable as the writers have to introduce the characters and build the economic, political, and social situation of the time. However, it really gets going in the second half and provides a strong action finish (as we would expect from David Weber and Timothy Zahn).
Pretty good space opera with a stro
Carl Bussema
3.5 stars. This was close to earning 4 stars, but the beginning is very slow, and for a first novel in a new series, that's almost unforgivable, as you could lose readers forever that way. I do recommend you stick with it, because it does get good.

Most of the book (once you get into it) follows new RMN recruit Travis Long, from his boot camp days to Spacer Third Class to points beyond. Spacer Long has a nasty habit of being an absolute stickler for every rule and regulation, and we get to see h
John Patterson
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In A Call to Duty two of the greatest sci-fi authors combine to offer one of the most exceptional novels in the Honorverse series. It tells the story of the beginnings of the Royal Manticoran Navy, following the early career of Travis Long as he survives boot camp, gets his first assignment as Spacer Third Class and works his way up to Petty Officer. There is no real main plot here as the novel reads more as three separate novellas each with their own plot smushed into a single novel.

I would rec
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
an easy pass the time early Honorverse series beginning, nothing special and a bit pointless imho - if DW is determined to mine the universe to the full possible extent, I believe there were other more interesting periods to do a series about - but reasonably entertaining to read the next installment, though if there were none, I wouldn't mind either

3.5-4 stars
I enjoyed this opener in a new series, looking forward to watching the history of the Star Kingdom unfold. This is the start of a prequel series set in the Honorverse.
Joe Santoro
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: hard_sf
I really loved the first, oh, 6 or 7 Honor Harrington books. It was like a great Naval novel, but in space, with some great characters. As many epic series do, it got too big for it's own good, and too focused on side plots, until the main character was barely able to be found in the last book or two I read.

This is a prequel series, but a distant prequel... like The Scott Bakula Star Trek series. It shows us the beginnings of the Manticore Star Empire, and the Royal Manitoran Navy... which is re
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, ammp-fairytale
I like this deeply researched imaginary history. I enjoy the main character, Trevor, with his rule-sticking ways and his imaginative approach to problems. The other viewpoints weren't as engrossing -- the political shenanigans and the dastardly villains, but it's worth it to keep up with the adventure.
Eric Leeson
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Not as action packed as many of the other Honorverse novels, but a good read nonetheless. Gives an important glimpse into the origins of the Manticoran Navy and the relations of the galaxy prior to the expansionist policies of the Haven "Republic". The ending was a lot more thrilling than the rest of the book; I will gladly pick up the next novel soon.
Per Gunnar
Given the two authors of this book, David Weber and Timothy Zahn, it should not come as a surprise to anyone that this book is very well written. It is quite some time since I read a book by David Weber. I had gotten a bit tired of his gradually changed style which ended up in a lot of talk, talk and more talk in his books. Whether it is a balancing influence from Timothy Zahn or not, this book is much more balanced in that aspect than some of Weber’s other recent works in the Honorverse.

In this
Kathy Martin
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
A CALL TO DUTY is the first book in a new series that takes place early in Manticore's history. The main character is Travis Uriah Long who is seventeen when the story begins. He had been a neglected child and ached for order and boundaries in his life. He rather impulsively joins the Royal Manitcoran Navy in hopes of finding the structure his life had been missing.

Travis hasn't picked the best time to join the Navy. A recent plague and other political considerations have put into question wheth
Sep 08, 2014 rated it liked it

Publisher: Baen
Publishing Date: October 2014
ISBN: 9781476736846
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 3.5/5

Publisher Description: Growing up, Travis Uriah Long yearned for order and discipline in his life . . . the two things his neglectful mother couldn’t or wouldn’t provide. So when Travis enlisted in the Royal Manticoran Navy, he thought he’d finally found the structure he’d always wanted so desperately. But life in the RMN isn’t exactly what he expected. Boot camp is
What can i say? I just love this book. While it stays mostly Navy-shipsides kind of clean it just feels like your authentic bootcamp and career report by actual soldiers. And it's absolutely fun to watch this weird stuck up rule stickling guy go from bootcamp to changing tracks from enlisted over NCO to Officer Candidate all the while praying to keep everything as regulations want it to be kept while showing his true mettle and earning his true laurels whenever he does or suggest something far o ...more
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hélène by: Liz Bourke
Shelves: sf
I was bored two thirds of the book. It seems I can't relate to a "stickler for rules" - don't know what it tells about me...

On the psychological side, I have trouble believing that a teen, yearning for discipline but not subject to it, can become such a stickler. I've never encountered such a one even though I work in education and meet lots of teens looking for rules. So: a dull character that I can't even believe in.
The first half of the book focuses on him and his formative years in the Nav
Vickey Foggin
May 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, space-opera
After reading summaries of this new Honor Harrington spinoff series focused on the early history of Manticore's Navy, I feared it would be a trainspotter's delight filled with the technical specifications of antique spaceships. Fortunately that's not the case. Unfortunately the main character Travis Uriah Long is fundamentally unlikable. His mom doesn't pay much attention to him so he throws a tearful fit because she doesn't care that he's going to stay out late with his associates. "GIVE ME A C ...more
Oct 25, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a new series set in the Honorverse but at the beginning of the Manticorian kingdom. It follows Travis Long as a 17 year old who joins the Navy to leave a neglectful mother. Travis is big on following the rules and this trips him up a few times in the beginning of his military career. He does have a knack for rubbing some people the wrong way but he also impresses others with his quick thinking. The other half of the plot revolves around his older half brother Gavin who happens to be Baro ...more
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This book kind of makes me rethink everything about my relationship with sci-fi.

OK, for starters: I began this book years ago. But it bothered me in two ways.

First, it did that thing a lot of adventure sci-fi does where it's ostensibly about the future, but really all the tech is from the 1980s. Timothy Zahn (coauthor on this book) does that a lot, especially in his COBRA series and in his Star Wars books. The tech is all just ordinary devices from the 1980s but with a thin, sci-fi veneer. Inst
Shannon Luchies
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
This is actually somewhat better than Rising Thunder, the latest Honorverse book, but that's faint praise.

This novel chronicles the innocent (and one would argue STUPID) Travis Long as he joins the RMN, not realizing it may be on it's last legs and is largely populated by screwups and spoiled rich kids.

He survives basic training, things happen and SOMEHOW Gary Stu Long has just the right ideas at key moments to help out.

It's a decent book, not great, but I wouldn't suggest buying it. Hit your
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, 2018
I look forward to more of this series. 2018 re-read, really good.
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
wow, it started off slow but then it kicked into gear and things started happening, I am looking forward to the next book in the series
Dale (Aus)
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed, this. Quite fresh for the subject matter. Took me a while to start to like the main character but he did grow on me. Interesting as to where this series will go.
Bill Stahl
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book Review: A Call to Duty – Book 1 of Manticore Ascendant
by David Weber and Timothy Zahn

Let me acknowledge up front: I’m a huge Honor Harrington / David Weber fan.

David’s tales of Honor Harrington as she pursues her Naval career amidst the turmoil of war and savagery of political intrigue are presented in a manner that never fails to draw me in.

I was in the middle of reading the latest in the series, “Uncompromising Honor”, when a set of prequel novels from the same universe came to my att
James Thomas
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge Sci-fi fan. Timothy Zahn is one of my favorite sci-fi authors. Thanks to him and a good sale, I got this book which has introduced me to David Weber's Honorverse. I had never read any books by DW before but I like his style. There is plenty of intrigue and politics and some action as well as some fantastic character portrayal (thanks to TZ I am sure). I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I find the technology not so unbelievable and that helps in this genre. It would be a 'travesty' if I ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Honorverse: Manticore Ascendant (4 books)
  • A Call to Arms (Honorverse: Manticore Ascendant, #2)
  • A Call to Vengeance (Honorverse: Manticore Ascendant, #3)
  • A Call to Insurrection (Honorverse: Manticore Ascendant, #4)
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