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Off Armageddon Reef

(Safehold #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  10,970 ratings  ·  698 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 me
Hardcover, 605 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Tor Books
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Nathan Maybe you already found your answer, but this is because German is a longer language, with longer words and longer sentences than English. Thus, to pr…moreMaybe you already found your answer, but this is because German is a longer language, with longer words and longer sentences than English. Thus, to prevent the books being too big, the story is split up into multiple books. GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire series is up to 10 books in German, but it's still the same amount of story as in the 5 English books.(less)

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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  10,970 ratings  ·  698 reviews

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Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
For imagination and scope of vision this must have high praise.

For an entertaining and thought provoking blend of science fiction and fantasy, this also gets high praise.

But ...

It is very long, tends towards space opera melodrama and somewhat collapses under its own weight. It was also formulaic and predictable, though in fairness to Weber, he fills in the predictable gaps with great attention to detail. Some of the dialogue was flat, but most of the narrative was OK to read.

Just … too much
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Swashbuckling read that dragged on a bit at times.

Don't get me wrong. I liked it, but could have trimmed a bit or maybe I'm just a whiner because it spent more time on the conflict of secular and spiritual forces and less on boats. More boats!

This basically reinterprets the Age of Sail and how innovation drives economy, growth and change. Not everyone likes change, but it is a result of innovation. New ideas, new solutions cause one to question fundamental principles. Either one embraces it or
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
Peter Heinrich
Feb 06, 2011 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
Tom Burkhalter
Feb 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
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 of 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
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.
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 around was insu ...more
May 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, reviewed

4 Stars for Audiobook, 3.5 Stars for Story

4 Stars for Great Narration by Oliver Wyman
4 Stars for Characters (Fun Mix)
3 Stars for Foundation Background/Religion/Current Society
3 Stars for Chunky Progression
3.5 Stars for Battles

The book was written in 2007 but the phrasing definitely feels like an older piece that could have come from the 80's. I had to double check the published date because I could have sworn it was before 2000.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. It felt like one of thos
Oct 01, 2013 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
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
Kathy Davie
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
Kayla (krakentoagoodbook)
Actual rating: 1.5 stars

DNF at 282/788 pages. I just don't care about this book whatsoever. The pacing is glacially slow, and I don't particularly like any of the characters. The character names were also very unnecessary (examples like Bynzhamyn, Zhenyfyr, Zhorzh for Benjamin, Jennifer, and George I believe) and actively irritated me.
Scott Holstad
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: david-weber, sci-fi
This is a really good book starting what is probably a really good series, yet it has some problems. First, it is about a world called Safehold, humanity's last planet, because an alien race that can detect technology has wiped out the rest of humanity. As a result, this planet was colonized by people who were mind wiped and given medieval technology and given a theocratic rule, by the Church of God Awaiting, founded by "Archangels," who are the people who founded the colony. Nine hundred years ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a great notion—a space opera deliberately tuned to fans of Napoleonic naval stories. I’m a geek of both genres, so I looked forward to this series. And it was fun to recreate—with sailing ships, on an Earth’s daughter deliberately denied technology—the great naval battles of history. The reader is treated to at least the Battle of Cape St. Vincent; Trafalgar; French overwhelming the British off the Virginia coast to end the Revolutionary War, and perhaps others I missed. Some jolly good fun ...more
Karen Azinger
Oct 08, 2013 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
Sep 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rindis by: M.C.A. Hogarth
Shelves: science-fiction
David Weber is a good author with a few glaring weaknesses. Sadly, all of that is readily apparent in this novel.

The basic setup is that humanity gets to the stars, runs into an alien race apparently intent on wiping out everything other than itself, and after a tough war, looses. Earth, and all of the colonies, are destroyed, leaving one fleet with a last-ditch plan to start a new colony somewhere out of the way, avoid technology, and tell-tale high-energy emissions that will give the new colon
Joe Santoro
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time rating this book... I wavered between 2 and 5 stars at various times. To some extent, there's a bit of a bait and switch.. the description and the first 50 pages or so are an alien invasion story. One could picture it taking place in the distant past of the Honor Harrington universe (which is alluded to but never discussed). Sadly for the book's characters, the aliens are overwhelming and unwilling to communicate, so they resort to sending 1/2 the last fleet secrets thousands o ...more
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, scifi
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
***Dave Hill
Jun 22, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Michael Burnam-Fink
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, 2017
I enjoyed this book a lot more when it was called Heirs of Empire.

The premise is pretty cool. At some point in the future, interstellar humanity encounters a genocidal alien empire. Overmatched by sheer numbers, they come up with a desperate plan to plant a secret colony, hinder its technological development until the threat has passed, and then tech back up and kick alien ass. The plan gets highjacked by the high command, who brainwash the colonists to regard them as divine entities and set up
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space-opera, scifi
This is an interesting series that seeks to check a lot of different boxes while still feeling relatively familiar to a scifi-reading audience. What we get is essentially three different (and usually unconnected) settings all merged into one. Quite conveniently, these three settings can all be explained through a quick plot summary:
The Space Opera – An alien race is exterminating humanity and to survive as a species a group of individuals is sent out to establish a low-tech safe haven (hence the
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I have never read any David Weber, but have to say that I enjoyed this first entry into this long series, titled Safehold.
Here the survivors of a genocidal Earth attack (by the Gdada) flee to the planet Safehold to rebuild their civilization. Half the fleet is destroyed the remaining survivors have to revert to a medieval, religious society, as the Gdada can detect any technology, industrial level or higher, and with that as centuries pass the settlers know nothing of their space-faring past.
Jul 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read through all of A Song of Ice and Fire (twice!!), waiting for George RR Martin to rekindle his interest in this series. I've read through both aborted incarnations of the Chung Kuo series, as David Wingrove struggles to find sufficient audience to convince a publisher. Finally, I've found a series that can feed my appetite! Thank you David Weber! Rarely do I find myself looking up from a book I'm reading on the train, trying to find someone to celebrate with me over a particularly satis ...more
Jun 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
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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

Safehold (10 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)
  • At the Sign of Triumph (Safehold #9)
  • Through Fiery Trials (Safehold, #10)

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