Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cauldron of Ghosts by David Weber and Eric Flint

The multi-POV just got even worse...or better, if you like that sort of thing. It just came to me that this book actually serves in a triad of books with A Rising Thunder and Shadow of Freedom as a multi-novel semi-simultaneously multi-POV telling of the tale Weber started, and which madness other worthies like Flint have bought into. Cachat and Zilwicki finally deliver their news back to the PRH and Manticore, and almost immediately take off on another hare-brained adventure to gather more intelligence on Mesa, managing to sucker a few other fools into their scheme, as well, including Thandi Palani, head of Torch's military.

Queen Berry and her friends decide to form the Royal Torch Navy, mostly consisting of commando-like teams whose first assignments are to be attacking the Mesan slave trade wherever they find it, and they are improbably allied with a family of vagabond space traders we encountered in SoF. Eloise Pritchard and Queen Elizabeth of Manticore meet and decide to bury the hatchet and to ally against the Mesan Alignment. The Sollies still haven't a clue and are basically waiting to get their butts handed to them when the inevitable war comes.

After bouncing around like crazy, though, the story finally settles in on the Mesan thread, and we get to enjoy watching Victor and Anton stirring things up in the seccie underworld there. At first it appears that Victor is going to become a crime boss, but he seizes the opportunity to ally with a powerful one, instead, to prepare the underclass for the battle which is to come.

Operation Houdini is in full swing, and the Alignment kills multiple birds with many stones when they stage a series of "Audubon Ballroom" attacks on civilian targets, both to stir up a massive distraction and retaliation against the seccies who are implicated in aiding the terrorists, and to cover up the disappearance of the members of the Alignment who have been hiding in plain sight in Mesan society. They're headed for a bolthole somewhere, and it should be entertaining to see the deadly duo of Cachat and Zilwicki ferret them out in a later book.

I really need to find a good plot diagram of this whole saga somewhere. It remains confusing to me, even as I enjoy the quality of the storytelling and plot twists.

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