Despite political foes, professional jealousies, and the scandal which drove her into exile, Capt. Honor Harrington has been offered a chance to reclaim her career as an officer of the Royal Manticoran Navy. But there's a catch. She must assume command of a "squadron" of jury-rigged armed merchantmen with crew drawn from the dregs of her service and somehow stop the pirates who have taken advantage of the Havenite War to plunder the Star Kingdom's commerce.
A Note from Author David Weber
There's been some confusion—not to say, um, energetic debate, readers and fans being readers and fans—about the correct pronunciation of "Manticoran." The truth, alas, is that a stitch was dropped. An error occurred. A mistake was made… and it wasn't Audible's fault. It was mine. Before Audible recorded the very first Honor Harrington book, narrator Allyson Johnson and I not only corresponded by e-mail but actually spoke to one another by phone. She wanted to make absolutely certain she had the correct pronunciations for names, places, star nations, etc., and I tried to make certain all of her questions were answered. And so they were. Unfortunately, at some point in the process, I replied to one of her e-mails by telling her that "Man-ti-core-ahn" was pronounced "Man-tik-er-ahn." Exactly how this happened is more than I can say at this point, except to blushingly disclose that the original e-mail remains intact, confirming to all the world that it was, indeed, my fault. I can ascribe it only to a temporary mental hiccup on my part and crave your forgiveness. If, however, you must blame someone for the mix-up, that someone should be me and not Audible, who have done everything they could to get it right.
©1996 David M. Weber; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
I like this series enough to keep reading it, but it's not the best thing I've ever read. It's strongest when it focuses on naval operations and the particularities of the far future setting. I enjoy the "Napoleonic Wars In Space," schtick. The political infighting within all the big nations is completely believable. The way the space technology works is extremely detailed, which is fine, and the way the setting re-creates an interesting historical period in the far future is a treat.
This book was a partial return to what made the first book successful. Honor Harrington does "Navy Stuff,"- she commands a starship, fights space pirates, makes life or death decisions, and suffers the consequences. The subplots are all set up well and all pay off. I particularly enjoyed the plight of the People's Navy officers who were too decent for their own good. The theme that civilized states, even when they fight one another, are all superior to barbarians resonates with me.
The series is weakest when it wallows in the protagonist's emotional life (for someone who has killed thousands of people in space battles she sure has a lot of angst about relatively minor problems), with the absolute low point in every book being when the space cats appear. Cats don't belong on naval vessels, ever, and should be thrown over the side, or out the airlock, whenever an infestation appears. These animals gain more intelligence, telepathic powers, and page space in each successive book of the series and are obviously not ever going to be killed, by anything, ever, despite how ridiculous they are. To me, they are the Jar-Jar Binks of the whole fictional universe. Maybe David Weber likes cats?
When Honor Harrington becomes an action hero, able to defeat anyone at their own game, I roll my eyes. This is the stuff of B-grade action movies. Since the tone of these books is light, perhaps I shouldn't complain about it. "Honor Among Enemies," only has one scene like this, but it's set up before hand (unfortunately that setup is a big clunker, having to do with a madman, a nuclear trigger, and an over-involved negotiation that I mostly skipped through.) The resolution was a surprise, using a "Chekov's Gun" that I'd mostly forgotten about.
The "Navy Stuff," is very well done. I served four years in the the US Navy, and the books have a good grasp of what it's like to be in the service. The "lower decks" subplot with Petty Officer Wunderman is sadly a very common experience. My understanding is that David Weber is a naval historian, and it shows.
All in all, this is a much better book than the previous entry of the series, which spent far too little time in space.
The narration is good. I don't know why so many people are annoyed by it, but with the main character being female dictates that a female narrator should be reading the book. The narrator does a much better job with the male voices than almost any male reader would do with female voices, and since Honor Harrington is doing most of the talking it makes complete sense. The one character that, to me, sounded silly died in book four. I can always tell the characters apart, and the foreign accents make sense given that this is the "Napoleonic Wars In Space."
I'm sorry to say that I keep trying to get used to the reader and , through all the books, I still have NOT. I'm ready to give up on the series because of the irritating narrator.
I agree that Audible should make an effort at a sequence order list.
I've read most of David Weber's Honor Harrington series so I thought I'd give the audio version a chance. Sadly, a terrible reader ruined what is otherwise a really good science fictions story. In most cases the narrator talks in a monotone with little differentiation between the various characters' voices. When not talking in monotone, the narrator spoke in an up and down cadence that becomes so annoying I couldn't finishing listening.
This is the third book that ends with Harrington winning the day in personal combat. The plot device is a bit old by now.
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