Even though this Honor Harrington book has a 4.09 rating on a 5.0 scale on Goodreads, it seemed that all I saw were one and two star reviews. People HATED this book! They thought there was too much politics and not enough action. Well, I completely disagree and I loved this book. Yes, there is a hell of a lot of politics, but it’s all completely critical to understanding the buildup to the beginning of the new war between Haven and Manticore. Without seeing the politics and the behind the scenes dialogues and scenarios, we’d have no idea why hostilities have resumed. It’s critical to the book and the series. I suppose Weber probably does go overboard on the amount of politics he shoves into this book. He has a tendency to do that in his books. But it’s still critical to the book. In fact, I wish we had seen more of Grayson’s politics in action, personally. That was probably pretty critical too, but Weber largely skipped over that.
In this book, the Opposition government, led by Baron High Ridge, has downsized Manticore’s navy by an extreme amount, because of sheer arrogance and stupidity. Meanwhile, in the four years of negotiations, during which time Haven has actually tried to get a peace plan in place and High Ridge won’t negotiate cause he’s a greedy bastard, Haven’s been rebuilding its navy. Big time. At the same time, the Andermani Empire is trying to take Manticore on to take over Silesia and Honor is named task force commander of a largely obsolete group of ships sent to Silesia to watch over the Andermanis. Fortunately, Grayson sends a group of its state of the art superdreadnaughts to support her, so that’s awesome. Communications between Haven and Manticore disintegrate over time, in part because Haven’s Secretary of State is modifying them to tick off the High Ridge government. So finally, Haven attacks Manticore’s many systems it had taken from Haven in the previous war, as well as Honor, and they have great success, accept for Honor, of course.
One thing in this book which is odd and which is a carry over from the previous book is a budding romance between Honor and Earl White Haven, who is married. It doesn’t seem realistic, like her relationship with her dead lover, Paul. It seems forced, strained, unbelievable, and the government’s opposition releases news that they are lovers, when at the time they are not, and it damages their reputations. Yet they yearn for each other. And White Haven’s crippled wife, whom he loves, meets Honor and loves her immediately and approves of their romance like any wife would — in a stupid, unrealistic sci fi novel written by an arrogant, dumbass man! This carries over to the following book too, which I’ve already started.
This isn’t the best Honor book I’ve read, but it’s quite complex and juggles many scenarios and issues simultaneously and does so rather well. Honor is still perfect, a bit too much, but one unique and cool thing about this book is Weber turns the tables on the systems. In this book, the Havenites are portrayed as the reasonable, peace loving, nice, realistic people while the Manticorian government is portrayed as arrogant, greedy, snide, deceitful liars, and much worse, so that you actually find yourself rooting for Haven for the first time ever. It’s brilliant! Good book. If you’re reading the series, strongly recommended.