Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Rising Thunder by David Weber

It seems as if there's a particular recognizable formula to the recent Honorverse stories by Weber. He hops around from one location to another, eavesdropping on the conversations between influential people in the Solarian League, the People's Republic of Haven, the Beowulf system, the Maya sector, and the Star Empire, and begins to build up the tension towards the big space battle that is to happen at the end of the book. In this case, the Sollies have sent a massive fleet of over four hundred ships of the wall to attack what they believe is a Manticore defenseless in the wake of the Yakawa?? attack from the previous novel. In fact, when I began reading a description of the climactic battle at about the midpoint of the book, I became confused, wondering why Weber had bumped up the timetable - but was relieved to discover that it was, after all, only a simulation being run by Honor and her cohorts.

After so many years of reading the Honor Harrington novels, it may be time for me to put some of the fan sites on my favorites bar - I think I'm beginning to need a scorecard to keep track of the players. When there is some mention of Honor's father grieving over the deaths from the Mesan strike on Manticore's home system, I couldn't for the life of me remember who in his family had been killed. I can't really expect Weber to refresh my memory every time, either - the "what has gone before" would be encyclopedic at this point.

Key points in the macro action, however, include Zilwicki's and Cachat's return with evidence of the Mesan long term plotting, President Pritchard and Empress Elizabeth's historic peace agreement and mutual defense treaty, which triggers a massive alliance between Manticore's formerly lukewarm allies and the long term loyal partners. Views of the Mesan side of things are sparse, aside from some scenes giving us the foreboding that they're ready to set the next portion of their evil plot moving forward, and it may involve even more casualties than have already happened.  The Solarian League may end up with a constitutional crisis, to accompany the economic devastation that is set in play by Manticore's boycott of their shipping, and takeover of jump termini.

Weber said, a few books back, that things were going to get much worse before they got better in the Honorverse, and there are some aspects of the situation which are at long last getting better - I hope things get no worse in the next novel.

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