There are two sides to any quarrel... unless there are more. Queen Elizabeth of Manticore's first cousin and Honor Harrington's best friend Michelle Henke has just handed the "invincible" Solarian League Navy the most humiliating, one-sided defeat in its entire almost thousand-year history in defense of the people of the Star Empire's Talbott Quadrant. But the League is the most powerful star nation in the history of humanity. Its navy is going to be back – and this time with thousands of superdreadnoughts.
Yet she also knows scores of other star systems—some independent, some controlled by puppet regimes, and some simply conquered outright by the Solarian Office of Frontier Security—lie in the League's grip along its frontier with the Talbott Quadrant. As combat spreads from the initial confrontation, the entire frontier has begun to seethe with unrest, and Michelle sympathizes with the oppressed populations wanting only to be free of their hated masters.
That puts her in something of a quandary when a messenger from Mobius arrives, because someone's obviously gotten a wrong number. According to him, the Mobians’ uprising has been carefully planned to coordinate with a powerful outside ally: the Star Empire of Manticore. Only Manticore—and Mike Henke—have never even heard of the Mobius Liberation Front.
It's a set-up... and Michelle knows who's behind it. The shadowy Mesan Alignment has launched a bold move to destroy Manticore's reputation as the champion of freedom. And when the RMN doesn't arrive, when the MLF is brutally and bloodily crushed, no independent star system will ever trust Manticore again.
Mike Henke knows she has no orders from her government to assist any rebellions or liberation movements, that she has only so many ships, which can be in only so many places at a time... and that she can't possibly justify diverting any of her limited, outnumbered strength to missions of liberation the Star Empire never signed on for. She knows that... and she doesn't care.
No one is going to send thousands of patriots to their deaths, trusting in Manticoran help that will never come.
Not on Mike Henke's watch.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By R on 19-05-13
Honnorverse recap book
The few chapters of new material in the book were entertaining and followed Webers usual format with arrogant cognitively challenged enemies insisting on throwing themselves into the Manticoran meat grinder. Unfortunately the majority of the book was taken up by recapping the events of the last few novels in the series.
Overall the feel was that of a tired sitcom that starts to reel out flashback episodes when the script writers run out of new ideas. I sincerely hope that David Weber was just experimenting with the recap style rather than trying to string out the plot to a few more books.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jean on 26-05-13
I think there is an error in the listing of this book. It is marked Honor Harrington Book 14 which is wrong. There is nothing about Honor and the book does not pick up where book 13 ended. I am still waiting with anticipation to find out what happened to Manticore , Grayson and Torch after the attack by Mesa Alignment group and then the Solarian Navy. Bits and pieces are hinted at in this and other secondary series books. When will we learn about what's going on? This book is correctly marked as book three in the Saganami series which is mainly about Admiral Michelle Henke (Lady Goldpeak) and her command in the Talbot Quadrant. Next to Honor I like Mike the best. She is Honor best friend since Academy days. This book Mike discovers the Mobius Liberation Front is in a full scale uprising against the corrupt government of the their world along with the Solarian Office of Frontier Security. Mike learns that the Liberation Front thinks that Manticore has provided them with arms and is to help them. She thinks this is a Mesan Alignment trick to discredit her Star Kingdom. Mike sent ships to help Mobius then another similar problem occurs on another plant. Lots of politics and building up new characters, some suspense but in the second part I thought for sure we would have a big battle ( Weber is great with his battle scenes) but no only a small action. Missed the naval battles in this book. Feel it was a book that is providing background for what is to come next.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
By Aser Tolentino on 29-04-13
Please, Someone, Tell Me It Will be Over Soon?
About a year ago, I wrote a very positive review of A Rising Thunder. Remembering that feeling of surprised enjoyment prompted me to disregard the more negative reviews and my own reservations and proceed cautiously into this latest Honorverse entry. And despite understanding and agreeing to some degree with many of the complaints with this release, I am fairly satisfied.
As has been noted before, this is the second half of A Rising Thunder, broken off because that book had just become monstrously long. The break is not chronological though, but instead focuses on what some of our (or somebody's) favorite characters were doing during the same time period, much like George R.R. Martin's A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, if that reference helps anyone. Like I said, it means we get more time with characters left out of the previous story. Unfortunately, you may end up feeling as I did about halfway through, that you're being treated to a whole bunch of B plots. I don't know if they were all their originally, or if they were added to fill in the story when it was spun off, but there are several elements like the one cited by another reviewer about the kids whose dad is in prison and start a resistance movement that just kind of....is there. Another similar set of characters is introduced and never heard of again. I guess it's meant to introduce tension, but just comes off as sloppy or downright lazy. There are also many discussions of dispatches from around the galaxy to inform you of things going on during A Rising Thunder that might confuse you if you haven't read that book recently or recall its events too clearly; I had to consult a summary at one point when the characters had gone on for a few minutes and I just got tired of guessing exactly what they were talking about. While I'm at it, the Alignment POVs have to be the most annoying thing to have come along in these last few Harrington novels. They were so much more interesting when they were an unknown quantity, they now just seem completely ridiculous, trotted out to bemoan their thwarting by our heroes, only for one of them to remind the others of some codename project we've never heard of that makes them rub their hands in anticipation.
So why rate it as highly as I do? There are a few interesting character moments, particularly for some of the junior RMN officers. Personally, I've always had a soft spot for a certain GSN lieutenant who gets in a few good scenes. Also, there are some good battle scenes on the ground and in space. I always worry that hearing about SLN ships getting blown up will get old, but it hasn't yet... And not that it matters, but Weber throws in some OFS people that aren't total jerks, which given the number who are that and worse, is sort of refreshing.
I can understand the complaints about the narration too, but given the book's origins it would have been Johnson reading these segments originally anyway had the author had his way. The same understanding goes for issues with how little the book advances the overall plot, given that we're essentially dealing with a companion novel rather than a sequel or even a standalone spinoff thanks to publishing concerns. That's a heck of a thing for me to be saying, since I suspect we should all be wishing for the editor to be winning more battles with Weber, not fewer.
I seem to recall whole campaigns from the first war with Haven that were far more significant to the overall plot than almost everything in this book that were only touched on in briefings or other such conversations. So the bottom line I think is that given the way Weber recaps so much of what's happened in previous novels, you might actually be able to skip this one. If you like the characters currently serving in this part of the galaxy, there should be enough for you here. Otherwise, I'm sure the next proper sequel will have three or four chapters in which the universe's main characters discuss the significance of the events contained here, presumably with at least one disastrous assumption over what it all means for the strategic picture on the part of the League, the Star Empire, Mesa, some star nation we've never heard of, or all of the above...and maybe that'll contain more of what people turned to Shadow of Freedom for and found lacking.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful