I have read several of Alistair Reynold's novels, and "House of Suns" is by far my favorite. Reynolds is quickly becoming a master of the genre. The sweeping scope of this story, and the almost feverish imagination at work are a delight to the fan of science fiction on an epic scale. A few more books like this, and Reynolds will be challenging Iain Banks for his domination of the galactic canvas.
This book is the third installment in the Safehold series, and is actually substantially shorter than the preceding title, "By Schism Rent Asunder." Still, I find the author to be indulging a penchant for excessive dialog. Perhaps "wildly excessive" would be more accurate.
The story is driven almost entirely by dialog, both internal and external. This is a story of war (and political intrigue), and Weber seems to have adopted the view that his writing should provide long stretches of boredom punctuated by brief moments of action. Despite the best efforts of the narrator, almost all of the conversations and internal dialogs seem to drag on far too long.
Compared with much of Weber's earlier work, his efforts here at character development are appreciated, but it would be nice if the characters would occasionally get to the freakin' point! After listening to this book, I am of the impression that Weber was obliged to produce it (perhaps on a deadline), but had a very skimpy plot outline to work with. He seems to have fleshed out the narrative with a lot of overwrought and unnecessary verbiage.
I would like to note that the narrator (Jason Culp) has changed since the first two books in this series. Those titles were narrated by Oliver Wyman. Apparently, Culp makes some effort to mimic the voices and accents portrayed by Wyman, with mixed and unsatisfactory results.
If you have read (and thoroughly enjoyed) the preceding books in this series, this one is probably worth enduring. But I have my doubts as to whether I will be purchasing the next one. I hope that David Weber will wrap up this series in the next book or two. Personally, I find this entire bastard sub-genre of science/historical fiction to be quickly growing tiresome.
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