Now the battle for the soul of the planet Safehold has begun.The Kingdom of Charis and the Kingdom of Chisholm have joined together, pledged to stand against the tyranny of a corrupt Church. The youthful Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm has wed King Cayleb of Charis, forging a single dynasty, a single empire, dedicated to the defense of human freedom. Crowned Empress of that empire, Sharleyan has found in Cayleb's arms the love she never dared hope for in a "marriage of state."
In Cayleb's cause, his defiance of the ruthless Group of Four who govern mother Church, she has found the task to which she can commit her mind and her courage. It is a cause for which she was born. Yet there are things Sharleyan still does not know. Secrets Cayleb has not been permitted to share, even with her. Secrets like the true story of humanity on Safehold. Like the intricate web of lies, deception, and fabricated "religion" which have chained humanity for almost a thousand years. Like the existence of the genocidal alien Gbaba, waiting to complete mankind's destruction should humans ever attract their attention once more. Like the existence of a young woman, Nimue Alban, nine hundred years dead, whose heart, mind, and memories live on within the android body of the warrior-monk she knows as Merlin. And so Empress Sharleyan faces the the great challenge of her life unaware of all that task truly entails...or of how the secrets the man who loves her cannot share may threaten all they have achieved between them... and her own life.
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©2009 David Weber; (P)2009 Macmillan Audio
"The personalities and motivations of the numerous characters are particularly well drawn and credible, and Weber makes grand strategies and political machinations easily accessible to casual readers." (Publishers Weekly)
The changing of the narrator is very frustrating. If the change were not bad enough, the new narrator did not even take the time to listen to the first book. Many of the names are pronounced differently in this book. To make matter worse they continue to switch narrators with following books. Makes listening to the books back to back very frustrating.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Started this series by Weber while waiting for the next Honor Harrington book to come out. This is book three in the series and I am beginning to know Safehold very well. King Cayleb of Charis and Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm have married and combined the two countries to make an Empire and added the country of Emerald. They are now at war with the country that killed Cayleb's father. Weber does great battle scene and I wished there were a bit more and less religious polictics in the story. The story has enough intrigue and suspense to keep me interested. They changed the reader from Oliver Wyman to Jason Culp and that was noticeable. I wish publishers would learn to keep the same narrator through-out a series. The change is noticeable and effects the story.
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.
The premise for this book/series is so good, but it gets lost in hours of meaningless (to me) political sermons and back-room dealings of ancillary characters.
This is a solid continuation of the story line revolving around Charis, Merlin and King Cayleb. It adds new depth to the characters that have already been introduced and picks up a couple of new ones that are moderately interesting. On the other hand, humanity has a long way to go before it gets back to the stars to confront the Gbaba. At the end of this book I was left with the feeling that the current portion story line was going to be dragging on for too long. I would have preferred to see this book wrap things up and set up a new aspect of the story. Unfortunately, that does not happen. While I am glad I spent the credits and I enjoyed the listen I will almost certainly pass on the next two books and wait to see if the story line moves on. As to the reader, while he was not bad I preferred Oliver Wyman's interpretation.
Not having listened to previous titles in this series I don't miss the first narrator and think that Mr. Culp does an excellent job. And since I've read everything that Weber has written, I'm not surprised by the pace and political machinations.
The focus of the story has shifted from Merlin. I actually think that makes the story more interesting. It involves mere mortals, highly and perhaps too gifted and altruistic mortals, but at least they're not mere puppets in the plot of a super cyborg. Good job.
Probably my biggest beef with this book is taht the reader has changed and he's put his own interpretations on how the characters should sound. Narmahn in particular... not to mention a effeminate sounding Merlin.
Story wise, more "action" then in the last book, though I prefered the last book. If the next book is the same price as this was I'll discontinue the series. On the other hand it doesn't ahve the mad technological dash taht Weber's otehr books like Harrington or Prince Roger series have.
Driving over 100,000 mile a year since 1983, I got hooked on audible books on tape 30 years back. I now listen from my bicycle 2 hours a day
Well you don't have to guess. Weber lays out the thought processes of each character in depth for all to hear. The Grand Inquisitor is an open book as he deludes himself and everyone around him. So many scary parallels in today's political arena. The utterly self-righteous power hungry monster who chooses to use GOD, Faith and Belief for his own nefarious ends. I find it difficult to wait for the next episode to see him eventually pay for the pain and suffering he has wrought on Safehold. He is as transparent as his political equals on present day Earth.
Caleb and Charlyan along with Merlin make me wonder if the divine right of kings and queens might be preferable to the bought and paid for leaders of our so called "democracy". This epic struggle between the forces of good and evil is captivating because it slowly takes us deep inside the minds of the characters whose actions shape the future of their world. In the end would living the lie of "The Church of God Awaiting" save the people of Safehold from annihilation by their galactic enemy and would that be preferable to exposing the truth and facing the consequences? What a terrific series.
David Weber has become more obsessed with politics as his career advances. You could see it in the evolution of the Honor Harrington series and it is playing out now. In this series, he has a great plot concept and great, likeable characters. The first book, Off Armageddon Reach, was pure genius. The second book, By Schism Rent Asunder, was good, but not great. This third book is only good because we who have followed the story want to see where it all goes. However, I found the plot tedious more than once. Hopefully, someone will point out to Mr. Weber that we are buying science fiction, not political fiction, and adjust the plot line accordingly. I did miss Mr. Wyman for a couple of hours. Mr. Culp, however, persisted with consistent character voices and won me over. So, my recommendation for new readers is to start at the beginning, not here. For those following the story, you obviously have to buy it and listen to it. However, be forewarned that Weber is laboring. We can all hope that he moves things along in the next installment.
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