The Short Victorious War by David Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love Honor Harrington! She’s a great character in a great series. And it’s nice to have a strong female protagonist in a sci fi novel, which hasn’t always been the case in this genre.
In this book, “Dame” Honor is given the honor of being given the top ship in the Royal Manticoran navy — the Nike. She’s sent out to Hancock to be the flag ship for a junior admiral who turns out to be a great guy and a great supporter of hers. However, when she gets there, her ship has suffered damage on the way and has to be docked to be fixed, which will take many weeks.
Meanwhile, the always broke Republic of Haven is plotting to attack Manticore and take their spoils, counting on their superiority in numbers over Manticore’s smaller, but more technologically advanced armed forces. One of the things I liked about this book is we get a glimpse at the inner workings of Haven’s politicians and military planners. We’re kept abreast of things as they happen. Another interesting facet to the book is that there is a revolution taking place in Haven, and we get to see the beginnings of it.
Another thing I liked about this book is the character development we see in Honor, as opposed to other books. She grows and changes and adapts and becomes nearly human in this book and I appreciated that. In this book, she develops a love interest, which came out of the blue — for me and for her — but she’s happy with it and that’s good. However, she’s so unused to being feminine that she needs help in putting cosmetics on and the scene in which she asks her exec for help is pretty funny.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an Honor Harrington book without a huge space battle. The senior admiral has taken the bulk of the ships in the system to another place, gambling that’s where the Haven ships will appear. He’s wrong. Imagine the horror Honor and her colleagues feel when over 100 Haven ships, including 35 mega-ships, appear out of nowhere and start toward them and they only have some five or six to defend themselves with. Reinforcements are on the way, however, so if they can just hold them off for a few hours, the space station there might be saved, as well as Honor and her mates. Through Honor’s ingenuity, they release hundreds of missiles at the Haven fleet and score some direct hits, destroying some ships in the process. The Haven commander is ticked! They go after Honor and score some hits of their own. Some of Honor’s colleagues are blown up and Honor’s ship is hit, but not too badly. Then, tah dah, reinforcements! And the Haven fleet takes off. And the main Manticore fleet that had been lying in wait goes to Haven’s space station and destroys it and the rest of Haven’s fleet. It’s over. Honor has saved the day. My only complaint is we don’t get to see the battle at Haven’s space station with their fleet being decimated. Oh well. That would have made the book a lot bigger, I guess.
I do have one complaint with this book and with this series. It’s sci fi. They have hyperspace, hyper drives. They can travel light years in a very short period of time. They can have video communications with each other within systems. But not out of the systems. They actually have to rely on courier boats to send messages to each other, like “We’ve been attacked,” or something to that effect, and it can take 11 days or 17 days, etc. It seems utterly stupid to me. You’re telling me that three or four thousand years from now with huge space ships and laser beams and hyperspace travel, you have to send messages by boats??? WTF??? That’s the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard! I don’t know what Weber was thinking when he came up with that system, but I’m not impressed. However, that complaint aside, it’s still a fun read and a great series and I’m already looking forward to the next one. Definitely recommended.
One thought on “A Review of The Short Victorious War”
That communications thing you mentioned is probably the most common setup in space opera sci-fi. I guess the idea is that some kind of large apparatus/engine on a ship is required to move a ship faster than light, but they don’t have a technology to send a burst of information FTL independently. So, they have to load the messages on a courier ship, and fly it out.
Plotwise, it helps a lot, because the ship captain or whatever gets to act independently, instead of having every action dictated and double-checked by someone back at headquarters.
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