David Weber is a prolific writer of a good number of series, but this one stands apart from his work because of the scope, excellent character/plot interaction, and a grand sense of an epic tale just getting underway. Future technologies, vast space armadas, aliens, medieval settings, fantastic intrigue, and wait...a warrior/priest/wizard robot using disguised technology to guide an entire planet into their destined future...AND I HAVEN'T EVEN GIVEN MAJOR PLOT POINTS AWAY!
Why not pick a great narrator to match the work, someone who could carry this exciting centuries-spanning tale with the energy and depth it deserves? Say, a "Roy Dotrice" style narrator, who brings accents, timely verbal emphasis, and a stronger sense of placement to the narration? No offense, Wyman, but this is a work that is still a bit beyond you. Work on it. Practice makes perfect, but not on this audiobook just yet.
Still, this is no reason not to get this audiobook. It's an WONDERFUL listen, despite the narrator, and it's only the first in the series - Please do yourself a favor, and buy this audiobook. I've gone back twice to listen to it all over again, and enjoyed it. I'm confident you'll do the same.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This is book one of a new series called Safehold. Safehold is a planet that humans have hid on to seek survival of the human race from destruction. The goal was to stay a low tech world so it would not be seen by the enemy. They set up a religion to control people and a simple society. The story starts from here and was slow to get going but by the end of the book I was hooked and looking forward to the next book. I think I prefer the Honor Harrington series better but they are much different stories.
The premise is quite original; placing an historical novel in the future is a nice twist. The problems I have with the book are twofold: first, the characters are terribly one-dimensional. The first reviewer references George R.R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones", but Martin knows how to build characters of startling complexity. They begin as villians and become, gradually, heroic - or vice versa. Weber's characters are nearly comedically bad or disgustingly good. They have no crises that alter their personalities and I nearly found myself cheering for the wrong side at the end. The second problem is that despite Weber's attempt to make the odds seem overwhelmingly against the protaginists, it is painfully clear that there is no way in the (new) world that they will so much as work up a sweat utterly defeating their enemies. There is virtually no suspense; nothing hangs in the balance. Still, the anti-technical society, the theocratic rulers and the detail in which the world (as opposed to the characters) is rendered give me at least some hope for the next installment.
A good book if it willbe the first in a series. That being said if it's meant to stand on it's own it's mildly muddled. I assume, given the description that the main chracter is Nimue. that being said "she" doesn't appear that often and when "she" does it's either for some rather unbelievable action sequence or to suffer a historical dissertation.
Don't get me wrong, history is important but the relevance of the speches given (or thought) is something that weighs the story down. Unlike where there's a fairly clear dominant main character in the say the Prince Rogers series, this book suffers from too many characters with little or no background to understand thier motivations.
The book is described as a "sci-fi epic" it's not, it's more a historical military novel with a few sci-fi bits as plot props.
I really can decide how I feel about it. I'm going to reread it again but at least for the first read-thru I didn't care about any of the characters and the bits of SF that were included are very good concepts but either allow deus ex machina style plotting or add littleif antyhing to move the story forward.
I suppose it could be arged that SF is a relative term given the planet's tech levels but for my midn that's stretching things a bit.
I recommend this book highly if you want to know everything about everybody and are not that interest in a story moving forward. I finished all of the 6 books out so far. If I would have known that every minor detail of everything was in the story I would not have started. This book is interesting and Sci Fi after this one you need to go to Wikipedia and study Naval and land warfare tactics of the 18th (Sailing ships and what came next) century. You will learn every and I mean every single thing about handling a ship of war (in another book).
Example (trust me not a spoiler) in a further book down the line you learn in about 20 minutes of audio how a super minor character fixed a plumbing (water pipe issue) in a city. After the excruciating details of how he tracked the water lines to find a leak and then the method of repair the story is allowed to proceed. WTF?
I LOVE David Weber and have read or listened to just about all he has written. I just finished the Honor Harrington series = awesome! He does love details and the creation of worlds but in this series he went off the deep end.
Ok here is a HUGE complaint against audible. If you start a series with a narrator stick with the same one Oliver does a fantastic job given the amount of text he has to read through. Audbile switches narrators three times in this series. Voices and pronunciations of names and places change (although that may not matter so much since you get so many names and places you really can't keep track!)
The overall story after reading the six books so far is pretty good you only need to cut out about 2,000 pages of fluff and political intrigue. Then maybe...
If you are into big long highly detailed stories this is the series for you. If you are a science fiction fan this is not the series for you.
Slight SPOILER ALERT: The premise is to defeat an alien enemy in space. Considering this book starts us off with late 17th century tech and after 6 books and near 150 hours of audio we have only moved to the18th century - how will we ever get to space? One maybe two "tech" ideas are introduced per book and the tech is how to build (in extreme detail) an 18th century weapon.
My only complaint with the audio books is the tendency of the narrator to pronounce "zh" as a z sound instead of "j". My impression is that the " archangels" phonenticized English and so all the names should be pronounced more like their traditional English spellings.
While I am drawn in by the insightful descriptions of the military technology and its ramifications, I am equally put off by the near complete lack of personalities. Almost everyone is completely rational in every circumstance, and they all reason in the same way, even expressing themselves idenrically. The only thing lending diversity to the fast is the excellent narrator.