sturgeonslawyer (sturgeonslawyer) wrote,

Read: Shadow of Victory, by David Weber (2016-59)

In this, the twentieth book of the main sequence of what was originally the "Honor Harrington" series and is not referred to as the "Honorverse" series, Honor Harrington first shows up about two-thirds of the way through, in one of two token and gratuitous appearances whose removal would not affect the plot in any way; basically, Honor, Queen Elizabeth of Manticore, and others comment, godlike, on the action but don't actually do anything.

In a series which started out space-operatic, there is exactly one space battle. Most of the book's 750 dense pages are given over to political intrigue.

And about the first half of the book takes place before events that have already happened in previous books. This is, as such, okay in a _milieu_ where it takes months for news of events in one place to reach others. What's more problematic, though, is that it rehashes events that took place in those books, admittedly (mostly) from other points-of-view.

The Mesan Alignment sets out to damage the image of Manticore (where our heroes come from) by sending agents to foment rebellions among the Solarian "Verge" planets, making promises that Manticore will provide agents and naval support. Some weapons will show up, giving confidence that the naval support will also - but of course it won't. Not only will this damage the reputation of Manticore among these border planets, it will also hack off the powerful Solarians even more than they already are.

Meanwhile, the Alignment is carrying out "Houdini," their plan to disappear key members of "the onion" (their colorful, if smelly, image for the layers of security around their Real Plan, which has not yet been revealed to us). The way in which this is carried out is clearly intended to impress us with the ruthless fanaticism of the Alignment.

Aaaaand certain elements in the Solarian League continue to take baby steps toward realizing how badly they've been played.

All this takes us through dozens, possibly a hundred or more, viewpoint characters, and hundreds more who aren't. The reader may be excused for being occasionally confused - I certainly was! - and a reader new to the series will probably be utterly lost.

None of which is to say that I didn't enjoy the book. I did; but found it frustrating in a number of ways, and I hope Weber can pull himself out of the rabbithole he's created for himself over the next few books.
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