Okay, I’m seriously pissed at the author, David Weber. I feel like he screwed me and every other reader over in a big way. What an ass!
In the last book of this Safehold series, the Church of God Awakening had led a rebellion in neighboring Siddarmark, resulting in the deaths of millions and a brutal civil war. Armies all over the world were poised to invade that country and the Church’s own army was going to invade, complete with its Inquisitors, who would torture and kill any “heretics” they found. Siddarmark was in deep, deep trouble. However, the Charisian Empire was about to come to its aid. Its army of some 80,000 troops was preparing to go to Siddarmark with superior weapons to stabilize the country and defend it against the invading armies.
Okay, that was the end of the last book. This book, Midst Toil and Tribulation, finds armies all over the world invading Siddarmark with zillions of casualties and countless atrocities. My paperback copy of the book is over 800 pages long. At the beginning of the book, the Charisian general is preparing, again, to take his army to Siddarmark to save it. And while I’m reading this book, I keep waiting for it to happen. And waiting and waiting. Meanwhile, the Temple Loyalists have an army of over 55,000 men, the Desnarians have a large army, the Dohlarians have a huge army of probably 100,000 troops, the Harchong Empire will be sending an army with over a MILLION troops, and the Church’s own army has about 120,000 troops. Siddarmark has some tens of thousands of troops left. Charis sends 7,500 troops to defend part of the country. 7,500. And they send 13,000 more for another defense. That’s it. So, all of what’s left of loyal Siddarmark people and their government are waiting for the main Charisian army to come to their aid. Of course, 80,000 troops don’t seem like much against the odds they’re facing, but they do have superior weapons and artillery, so who knows? The last 150 pages are pretty action packed and were real page turners, but as I got to about 100 pages left, I suddenly knew. I KNEW! In this book, the Charisian army NEVER SHOWS THE FUCK UP!!! That’s ALL that’s supposed to happen from the last book, dammit! That’s all that’s supposed to happen through the whole of this book. And it never fucking happens. Dammit! Weber is such a fucking asshole! Excuse my language, but I am SO SICK of him writing 800 page books only to be left with cliff hangers leading readers to have to wait for sequels, in this case, TWO sequels. Damn him! Will the fucking army even appear in the next fucking book? WTF??? Why is he such an asshole? He’s just making shitloads of money hand over fist from his readers who resent him, but who are addicted to the story, like me. I’m so pissed.
This was actually a five star book. Excellent book. But since the entire premise of the book never even occurred, that dropped the rating to about a two in my eyes. So I’m lavishly giving it four stars. Grudgingly.
In this book, we see the young prince of Corisonde and his older sister struggle with their spiritual life and be given generous terms by Charis. We also see the betrothal of Iyrs, the sister, to Emperor Cayleb’s adopted son, Hektor. However, that story line, which is interesting, is dropped halfway through the book, which also ticked me off.
We also see continued advances in technology and weapons, particularly with the invention of the steam engine. This results in the invention of something along the lines of an ironclad ship, which is used by the Charisians to devastating effect against the Temple Loyalists and the Church’s army. There’s a lot of action in this book, but a lot of it is redundant and becomes boring. How often can you see invading armies line up in force against Siddarmarkian pikemen who get butchered before you want to move on? Merlin plays more of a role in this book than in the last one, which is good. He has uploaded the late Nahrmann into a computerized VR world to continue acting in his spymaster capacity. He also struggles with his role in killing people. Apparently, even PICAs have a conscience. He’s tired of the killing, even though he knows he has to. The ironclads go up a canal and destroy all 57 locks, making it impossible for the Church’s army to support its troops, so action is effectively ended for a year, until the following spring. Maybe by then, the damn Charisian army will have come to Siddarmark. I don’t know. I halfway doubt it.
Weber’s a great writer with great story telling capabilities, but he takes his damn time, with each book in the series representing one year. At this rate, I doubt I’ll have finished the series and find out what happens by the time I die, and that pisses me off too. And he has many faults, some of which I’ve pointed out in previous Safehold reviews. They still exist in this book and probably in all future books. But the story is awesome and addictive. If only he would pick up the pace. Damn, is that too much to ask of the man? Recommended, grudgingly, but only if you’ve read the series in order beginning with the first one.