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Off Armageddon Reef: Safehold Series, Book 1 | [David Weber]

Off Armageddon Reef: Safehold Series, Book 1

When Earth herself lay under siege by an enemy humankind could not defeat, mankind undertook one last throw of the dice: Operation Ark. Earth's final colonizing expedition was meant to build a new civilization, on a planet so distant even the Gbaba might never find it, and without the high-tech infrastructure whose emissions might betray its location.
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Publisher's Summary

Humanity is in hiding. Invention, progress, change... all are forbidden. Now it's time to change all that. The science-fiction epic of the decade begins here.

When Earth herself lay under siege by an enemy humankind could not defeat, mankind undertook one last throw of the dice: Operation Ark. Earth's final colonizing expedition was meant to build a new civilization, on a planet so distant even the Gbaba might never find it and without the high-tech infrastructure whose emissions might betray its location.

Eight centuries later, a commander from that Expedition, Nimue Alban, woke up in a cave on a planet called Safehold. She was surprised to discover that the fanatic administrators of Operation Ark had used mind-control techniques to create a false, brutally suppressive religion whose entire purpose was to forbid invention and innovation forever.

But a tiny fraction within Operation Ark's leadership remembered the truth and believed in human dignity and freedom. They've given Nimue Alban a carefully hidden cache of technology and the capabilities of the android body in which her memories, loves, hopes, and dreams live on. Now it's her job to somehow provoke the technological progress and freedom of thought and belief that the Church of God Awaiting has worked centuries to crush.

Listen to more in the Safehold series.

©2007 David Weber (P)2006 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC

What the Critics Say

"Gripping." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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  •  
    RJT Thornton, CO 01-28-07
    RJT Thornton, CO 01-28-07 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Series Start"

    This book/series is billed as a Sci-Fi epic; yep, it is the beginning of what could be an outstanding Sci-fi or sci-fi/fantasy series. That it is the beginning of a series *needs* to be said, for this book lays all the ground work for the novels yet to come.
    I have often thought that Weber places way too many characters in his books - its almost as if his books need to come with a who's-who. Weber departed from style this time around for he had just enough people to make the main and sub-plots work and work out. There seemed to be a few - and *only* a few "loose" characters at the end of this novel, but with just a little imagination one might figure out their place in future books of the series. This book was an audio "page-turner"; I stayed up late, too late, too many nights. So ... basic premise, a bit of a reach but not too bad for a starting point; plots / themes / character consistency, outstanding; narrator?
    I was extremely impressed with this narrator. Pronunciation and diction were excellent; accents, excellent; speed, very good; intensity - I felt like the narrator was getting as involved in the novel as I was - outstanding. In addition, while there was no doubt who was speaking, be it male, female, good guy, bad guy, etc., it was done without the narrator attempting to "sound" female or "sound" huge, hulking male. The listener could intuitively differentiate by the narrator's style of speaking. Lastly, he did not have any annoying habits that would have detracted from the listen.
    All in all, an excellent book, excellent narrator, and excellent listed (I went to find out if he had published a sequel yet!).

    20 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael New Orleans, LA 07-08-12
    Michael New Orleans, LA 07-08-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Scifi Quasi-Religious Epic, So-So Narrator?"

    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!

    So...

    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.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Siniscalchi Acampo, CA, United States 02-21-07
    Siniscalchi Acampo, CA, United States 02-21-07
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    "One-dimensional, no suspense."

    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.

    9 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Owen Sound, ON, Canada 01-21-07
    Douglas Owen Sound, ON, Canada 01-21-07 Member Since 2014
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    "A good foundation"

    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.

    18 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy M. Vann 01-12-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Interesting but Tedious"
    Would you try another book from David Weber and/or Oliver Wyman?

    Probably not.


    What does Oliver Wyman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Oliver Wyman does an excellent job narrating. You can usually tell who is speaking in the story just by listening to Oliver's voice. He gives each character its own believable voice and accent.


    Was Off Armageddon Reef worth the listening time?

    Just barley for me.


    Any additional comments?

    This is an interesting concept and story. The problem is that Webber goes into excruciating detail about reinventing old earth technology and also about the various political factions. If you love Political intrigue and you love detailed conversations about 18th century technology then this book is for you. For me the story develops too slowly and the action is buried in too many hours of listening to spies and nobles talking about other spies and nobles. I even enjoy learning about the technology they are developing, once. But then Webber will discuss that same technology with 3 different characters. I understand the reason for this, but I still find it tedious.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fathas Houston, TX USA 12-11-14
    Fathas Houston, TX USA 12-11-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Interesting premise with good execution"
    If you could sum up Off Armageddon Reef in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting False Genesis


    What does Oliver Wyman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Diverse and interesting character voices. This makes it easy to tell characters apart.


    Any additional comments?

    I really liked David Weber's worldbuilding in this series and how he set up the scenario. I find stories where humanity actually loses the big battle interesting so to have a series start right after these events is great. The steps the protagonist takes to adjust to and influence a late middle ages society is well done.

    Weber tends to describe political intrigue and military science in detail so this may bore some. Unfortunately his characters in this series, like other series of his, have very black and white personalities.

    This book has good pacing and you can tell is aimed at setting up the story for future entries. Weber does this very well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron 05-31-14
    Ron 05-31-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Not what I expected, but in a very good way."
    Where does Off Armageddon Reef rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top ten sci-fi


    Any additional comments?

    Imagine waking up in a world where advances in technology, science, and economics have been suppressed in a manner that leaves everyone in this world ignorant of the fact that these things are being suppressed or even exist. In addition, the people in this world are decedents of people you once knew or worked with; people who existed at the zenith human technological and scientific advancement. People who built advance computers and spaceships. Furthermore you find that your own tenuous religious beliefs have been high-jacked while you were "asleep" and twisted to keep the people in this world under control and not advancing. You are able to reintroduce the knowledge of centuries of technological, economical, and scientific advancements. What would you do knowing that there is a great unknown threat these people need to start preparing to face? What would you do if there were safeguards put in place within the altered religion to make sure that if you did step forward with everything, people would view you as evil and bent on destroying their world?


    This book series is well written and a great read. It is fascinating to see how things we take for granted like the "0" in our numbering system could radically change a world if it was suddenly introduce to intelligent people who just did not know about it and who used a roman numerical numbering system instead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erik Jupiter, FL, United States 05-01-14
    Erik Jupiter, FL, United States 05-01-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Started with a Bang and ended with a HUGE THUD"
    Any additional comments?

    This book was just boring. It started out really well and interesting but went no-where. Very long and drawnout plbots that were basically thwarted very quickly. a big let down. I heard the rest ofthe series was exactly the same but no cool begining just lame attempt at re-writing Merlin stories...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David L Horwitz Dallastown, PA, United States 03-24-14
    David L Horwitz Dallastown, PA, United States 03-24-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Loved the story"
    Would you listen to Off Armageddon Reef again? Why?

    Can't wait for book 2 next month. I hope it's a good a story as this one was.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The link between the church and it's teachings. What is real and what is made up to keep people in line.


    Have you listened to any of Oliver Wyman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim 02-08-14
    Jim 02-08-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Up all night with one!"
    Would you listen to Off Armageddon Reef again? Why?

    I would and have. This is really a gripping story line with an expansive and complex set of characters.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    OWL. It is just funny that as a computer with all the answers Merlin has to pry the answers out of him. The interchange between the two and Merlin's exasperation reminds me of dealing with teenagers. I just have to laugh.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The death of the King and his defense by an extremely young midshipman Hector Aplin during the battle.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No extreme reaction except great enjoyment of the story.


    Any additional comments?

    David Weber is one of my favorite authors with his Honor Harrington Series. The Safehold Series has quickly become another favorite.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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