Oh man, what a book! What a hell of a book! That was one of the best damn books I’ve ever read. So why only four stars? Cause the last few pages, the ending, is so anti-climactic and incomplete and leaves you panting for justice and revenge and more and more and it’s damned cruel of Weber to do this to us and I’ve NEVER felt so let down by an ending in my life!
This is the third book in what is probably a final book of an Honor Harrington sub-series trilogy called the Crown of Slaves Series, starring Manticorian superspy Anton Zilwecki, Havenite superspy Victor Cachet, Torch General Thandi Plame, and assorted other characters, many of whom we get to know quite well, some of whom we don’t. This book largely takes place on Mesa itself, home of genetic slave breeders and builders and destroyers of the human race, whom Manticore, Haven, Torch, Beowolfe, and the Audobon Ballroom have all found out the truth about and are about to come down on its heads, so the secretive Mesan Allignment is conducting Operation Houdini and disappearing thousands of its top people from the planet to places unknown, through nukes being blamed on ex-slave terrorist’s Ballroom, literally nuking their own population and causing a killing bloodlust among the Mesans for the slaves and seccies. Victor and Thandi have helped the local crime bosses set up to defend their areas of the city from the Mesan police and military and the fighting is gruesome with a take no prisoners approach. People, good and bad, die, are blown to smithereens, while our heroes hope that Zilwicki has reached Harrington and is bringing a Manticorian fleet back to Mesa to save them and to break the Mesan Allignment. Just as some of our heroes have committed suicide by bombs to save others and just as Cachet is about to blow himself and the entire 400 floor building they’re in to smithereens, a report comes in that some ships have been spotted in orbit. And that’s where it ends. AAARRRGGHHH!!! Okay, you can probably safely assume they’re Manticorian. But it’s never safe to assume anything, especially in Weber novels. How do we know these aren’t Solarian League ships? Whose ships are these? How do we even know they’re warships? It’s implied Honor’s friend, Mike, Admiral Henke, is riding command over this small fleet into Mesa, but it’s never actually said. We don’t know. So we don’t know if Victor and Thandi are saved, and all the others. We don’t know what happened to the thousands of Mesans who escaped via Operation Houdini. We don’t know what’s happening to the Mesan security forces. We don’t know what’s happening on Torch. We don’t know what’s happening with the other seccie rebellions about Mesa. We don’t know where Zilwicki is. We don’t know much of anything, dammit! So UNSATISFYING!!! So, this book had so much tension and so much action and so much intrigue and so much mystery and so much plotting and so much of just about anything you’d want out of some good military sci fi or some good Weber, but even though it’s among the best I’ve ever read and that means it’s a five star book, easily, I’m knocking it down to four stars because it’s at best, a two star ending. Geez, the last 10 pages make it a two star ending. Unreal. I simply can’t believe he’s leaving us that unsatisfied. And if rumors are true and this is the last book in the series, I’ll be forever unsatisfied and that will seriously piss me off. Weber does this to me. My wife hates him as a result. He’s pretty much the best writer I’ve ever seen. He can spin a tale like no other, can write battle scenes like no one else. But he’s got these damn annoying habits that drive you insane and make you want to punch him in the face. Shit! Safehold series, prime example. The names are ridiculous. The titles are ridiculous. The never-ending war is ridiculous. The story being told at the speed of sludge so I might finish it by the time I die is ridiculous. Dammit, Weber! Come on now, you have fans. You owe it to us to help us out. Geez. So, IF you’re reading this series, strongly, strongly recommended. If you’re not reading this series, you won’t understand anything that’s going on, so don’t read it. Great book.