For centuries, the world of Safehold, last redoubt of the human race, lay under the unchallenged rule of the Church of God Awaiting. The Church permitted nothing new - no new inventions, no new understandings of the world.
What no one knew was that the Church was an elaborate fraud - a high-tech system established by a rebel faction of Safehold’s founders, meant to keep humanity hidden from the powerful alien race that had destroyed old Earth. Then awoke Merlyn Athrawes, cybernetic avatar of a warrior a thousand years dead, felled in the war in which Earth was lost.
Monk, warrior, counselor to princes and kings, Merlyn has one purpose: to restart the history of the too-long-hidden human race.
And now the fight is thoroughly underway. The island empire of Charis has declared its independence from the Church, and with Merlyn’s help has vaulted forward into a new age of steam-powered efficiency. Fending off the wounded Church, Charis has drawn more and more of the countries of Safehold to the cause of independence and self-determination. But at a heavy cost in bloodshed and loss - a cost felt by nobody more keenly that Merlyn Athrawes.
The wounded Church is regrouping. Its armies and resources are vast. The fight for humanity’s future isn’t over, and won’t be over soon…
©2013 David Weber (P)2013 Macmillan Audio
This was are very tough review for me. My first impulse was to give it only two stars, but I ultimately awarded a third. The easiest way to explain my opinion is to supply simple pros and cons list, so here goes.
1. Weber spends a lot of time discussing the details of war that are often overlooked (This is also a con and I'll explain why in the cons list). The importance of manufacturing, uniform measures, supply routes, intelligence, and a myriad of other details are both interesting and rarely come up in the genre.
2. The history of technological development and it's impact on the world is also very interesting and rarely covered in the science fiction world.
3. The underlying plot is very engaging. I really want to see what happens when and if the grand inquisitor finds out the truth. I am curiouser and curiouser about the alien species that nearly destroyed humanity.
1. The things interesting in #1-2 above become drudgery after getting the details hour after hour. At times I felt more like I was reading a dry history textbook than a novel. The great characters and plot are crowded out by ceaseless discussion of how long it takes to manufacture a gun and why cavalry rant as good in war as you might imagine. Even well researched info gets boring after a while.
2. Most of the endless discussion from the first con, is delivered in prose. Sometimes whole chapters slip by with almost no dialogue at all!
3. The main plot is moving along about the same rate as Jabba the Hut in a foot race. In the last several novels very little has actually happened. A subtitle for several of the books might be "The War continues".
Honestly, I still think it deserves a 2 star rating, but I am interested enough in the plot I'll probably read the next one. I have a hard time giving two star to a novel if I plan to read the next book in the series. There are glimmers of greatness that keep me ganging in there. I am hoping it will suddenly improve and I'll be glad I hung in there. Books 8-10 of Wheel of Time made we want to give up too, but I'm glad I kept reading. I'll hang in there and award 3 stars.
Yes, I would have combined with past four books into one. I will give Weber credit - this book is the best of the past four. However, the series has frustrated me for some time because the author is more interested in long discussions of weapons technology and political machinations over plot advancement. It has been clear for some time how the Safeholdian War is going to end (Its been crystal clear since book 2 or 3). So let's get on with the super-extended appetizer and move onto the buffet - The ultimate fight with the Gbaba. I actually like the technology discussions; however, it has felt like the plot has been on hold for a long, long time. Weber - time to bring it home in Book 8.
Nimue returning to the series.
Merlin bringing back Nimue.
Hmmm, maybe not.
Narrator is terrific. I believe that Wyman has done the entire Satehold Series. He is top-notch.
Yes, but I would recommend starting the series at book 1. This volume picks up almost immediately from the previous one.Read it because it is an epic story. Read it because you like seeing the process unfold, not just skipping to the end to see the result.Read it for action and romance.
There are so many to choose from!Merlin, Caleb, Sharleyn, Narmahn, Irys, Nimue...
1. Irys, 2. Nimue
Does losing sleep to listen count? How about bathing instead of showering because you had to hear the next bit?I laughed, cried, and held my breath (often!) while listening.
To Audible: please post only reviews of the audiobook; that's what you're selling. A lot of the bad reviews of this book are by readers aggravated by the complex spelling of the names--not helpful in the decision to buy the audiobook!
Please keep Mr. Wyman as the narrator for the rest of the series!
I wish I had Mr. Weber's series outline, because I Want to Know how far towards the future anhilation of the Gbaba he is going to take us.
This is a long book. Having a narrator that you want to listen to is essential if you want to finish it. As a commuter, print books are not high on my list. However, a good David Weber book with a good narrator always is.
Oliver Wyman brings the characters to life. His use of different voices allows the listener to better "see" the book in person. It also helps that he adjust his voice to match what you think the character actually looks like. I hope David Weber keeps him for all future Safehold books. Switching narrators can really ruin an otherwise great book.
This is a very good book. However the Safehold series in and of itself is rather slow moving forward. It would be nice to see the pace pick up somewhat. I have listened to all of the Safehold and Honor Harrington books. I look forward to each and every one that comes out in the future!
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
a delicious addiction continues
NImue Becomes Two
When Nimue becomes two
That there is absolutely nothing to dislike. Wyman does the job extremely well and his narration never detracts from the story
A real answer: Nimue Becomes Two - Imagine being both a male and female version of yourself at the same time.
A more tongue in cheek answer: Wild Horses Couldn't Drag Me Away - explanation: Weber has more "snorting" and "nostrils flaring" than you could possibly imagine. Enough that I now tell my cat the horses are back every time he uses those descriptors.
I'm captivated enough by this series to have now listened to the entire first 6 books a third time in anticipation of this last installment. The deliciously agonizing slow pace of the books and the interminable length of time between them causes my mind to wander and lose place so I miss enough to make a second and third listen worthwhile.
Given the content, the maps provided online are woefully insufficient for following the geography of the action. This needs to be fixed - more art and detail would be a very welcomed addition. We have to imagine an entire world and the locations are important enough to make a detailed map a necessity.
After waiting 2 years for book 7 I downloaded it the first day and have gone through it over 48 hours. I have to keep reminding myself "it's the journey not the destination" when my natural impatience moves me to wish for a faster pace. So a quicker/less deliberate listen can be followed by a slower repeat listen. It works well for me.
My only quibbles are the 'snorting" and "nostrils flaring" and Nimue/Merlin's absurd self blame for starting the war she/he never started. That's precious little for almost 200 hours of audible book reading.
The politics and religion of Safehold through the eyes of a futuristic PICA from the distant past with 'magical' powers born of a massive technical advantage makes for a compelling story. I can't wait for the next installment but I know I have to - and I am not anxious for the story to end - at least not long before I do. And at this pace it may be a close race.
Getting back to Oliver Wyman, who read the first two books in the series.
Yes, back to the original "voice"
I just hope they stick to the same narrator for the rest of the series.
I don't know why I keep buying this series. I suppose I'm a glutton for punishment. The first 3 books where good yet Mr Webber seems to has lost his way. The story is too big. There are far too many character to keep up with. Seriously you will have to take notes just to keep track of the massive cast written into this story. I keep hoping that the author will find his way back to sanity like in the first books. But that isn't the case in this series. Nothing new happens at all in this series worth mentioning. In my opinion the problem lies in the fact that most of the characters can have conversations via modern technology across great distance now, so the writer has written himself into a corner. So there isn't any great journeys happening, there is no clock ticking in the background giving urgency to the plot. Its just a leisurely stroll of events nobody breaking a sweat as they battle against the vast multitude all the while to antagonist barely makes an appearance.
Sorry Mr Webber I recommend co-authoring another book with John Ringo
I am an avid eclectic reader.
When “Like A Mighty Army” #7 in the Safehold series by David Weber was released on 4 Feb 2014 it hit the New York Times best seller list on the first day. It caught my attention as I had just put the book in my “wish list” on Audible. Anyone who wants to start this series I recommend you begin with book #1 “Off Armageddon Reef” or else you will be lost. The premise of the series is that a powerful and xenophobic alien race, the Gbaba, attacked and destroyed Earth. The survivors fled to planet, they called Safehold, where a faction of religious fanatics, the Church of God Awaiting, seized power and, in the name of keeping humanity hidden, buried all evidence of advanced technology and introduced a repressive medieval regime, complete with the inquisition to deal with dissenters. After about 900 year, a cybernetic avatar, Merlin Athrawes appeared and stealthily began to introduce advanced technology to the Island Empire of Charis, hoping this would lead to a war with the church. Weber has created a complex and fascinating epic about change, identity, and the nature of faith. Fans know Weber’s formula: plenty of rousing battle scenes, characters that gradually, over many pages, come into focus, along with seemingly endless torrent of detail, some rich and illuminating. In this book Merlin realized he cannot be everywhere. So he chooses to create another cybernetic avatar, loaded with a previous instantiation of his personality: the one he had when he first woke up to the world of Safehold, Terran Federation lieutenant-Commander Nimue Alban. The prior book ended with a war in Siddarmark and it is continued in this book with a long winter campaign. The book ends with no end it site to the war in Siddarmark, guess we need to wait for the next book in the series. Oliver Wyman is back narrating the series; he did the first two books of the series. Gave this three stars as it is average.
This book is much better than the last one. I have not heard this narrator before and I am going to go back now and listen to the first few books in the series just because I enjoyed the narrator so much even though I have read all of Webber's work so far.. Much like Christian Rummell does his books, Oliver makes this book a joy to listen too.
Could somebody convince Weber or MacMillian to re-do books 5 and 6 with Oliver Wyman. When reading those books; the spelling of names and places is so strange you can't sound them out. When listening to them, the pronunciation was so bad you didn't know who was talking about what. Now that they're back with Wyman, the continuity, and the series is shot.
"Fans will like this!"
One of the things that still annoys me about this series is the sickly sweet banter between main male and female characters - Cayleb and Sharleyan. It seems tacked on to help attract female readers, as a male it just turns me off.
This is the first Sci-Fi 'Grand Space Opera' type of series I have read so I'm not sure what compares. But I can say that I was surprised how I much I enjoyed reading a long (very long) series like this.
The narration has been up and down in this series. Fans have learned to put up with the often pitiful attempts at accents (which have changed between volumes!). The pace was good, but the characterisation jarred in places.
...A can just imagine how long a film that would be!
I really do think you have to be a fan to keep buying these books. It is not a casual 'picker-upper'. Furthermore you do have to start with book one and work through the series - you cannot start part way through, they are not self-contained stories.
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