Young Cayleb Ahrmahk has accomplished things few people could even dream of. Not yet even thirty years old, he’s won the most crushing naval victories in human history. He’s smashed a hostile alliance of no less than five princedoms and won the hand of the beautiful young Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm. Cayleb and Sharleyan have created the Charisian Empire, the greatest naval power in the history of Safehold, and they’ve turned Charis into a place of refuge for all who treasure freedom.
Their success may prove short-lived. The Church of God Awaiting, which controls most of Safehold, has decreed their destruction. Mother Church’s entire purpose is to prevent the very things to which Charis is committed. Since the first attempt to crush the heretics failed, the Church has no choice but to adopt some of the hated Charisian innovations for themselves. Soon a mighty fleet will sail against Cayleb, destroying everything in its path.But there are still matters about which the Church knows nothing, including Cayleb and Sharleyan’s adviser, friend, and guardian— the mystic warrior-monk named Merlin Athrawes. Merlin knows all about battles against impossible odds, because he is in fact the cybernetic avatar of a young woman named Nimue Alban, who died a thousand years before. As Nimue, Merlin saw the entire Terran Federation go down in fire and slaughter at the hands of a foe it could not defeat. He knows that Safehold is the last human planet in existence, and that the stasis the Church was created to enforce will be the human race’s death sentence if it is allowed to stand.The juggernaut is rumbling down on Charis, but Merlin Athrawes and a handful of extraordinary human beings stand in its path. The Church is about to discover just how potent the power of human freedom truly is.
Listen to more in the Safehold series.
©2010 David Weber (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
Almost nothing at all happens in this book for very long times. It really looks like Weber has been deliberately stretching out the sentences and scenes only to make the book longer. Most of the very, very, elaborate descriptions of scenes and ponderings add almost nothing to the story as a whole.
I was slightly put off by the fact that this book was 2 credits instead of the regular one credit but decided to get it anyway because I previously enjoyed the authors work very much. I regret to have to write that this book wasn't worth the 2 credits I payed by a long shot.
I don't customarily write reviews, but I feel compelled to do so this time. This is far, far below Weber's normally outstanding work.
The characters spend way more time thinking, and far less time doing. The action scenes are pretty much non-existent. I'm not drawn in by the political side of Weber's works, but they are usually well balanced by scenes that move the plot forward or provide for some intense action. I can't remember more than about an hour of action within the entire 35+ hours.
In the end, this book is NOT worth the 2 credits. My recommendation is to hold off on picking this book up until/if the next book in the series arrives and you can see if that one improves. If the next book is better, you might just want to find an abridged version of this one or read a plot summary.
I really, really wanted to like this book, as I have been enjoying the series so far, and I like David Weber's work.
This book felt cobbled together from bursts of writing to an outline. Very repetitive descriptions, multiple times, of events from previous books (a simple prologue would be cleaner). A tiresome amount of weepy sentimentality over casualties in the warfare segment. Way too many characters with dialogue for exposition rather than action. When the action finally, finally happens... in the last 30 minutes... it is sketched over hastily with the emphasis on how tragic it all is.
Also, irritating amounts of errors in the sea battles where the Charisian ships are referred to as Doloran.
Really, it felt like the editors were in Tahiti on this one. A third of a book stretched out to 3 books length.
First, I want to say that I'm a Weber fan, having read this series, the most of the Honor Harrington series, the Prince Roger series, and even some of his more obscure stuff. I know Weber has a tendency to ramble on, but the action scenes have always made it up for me.
Unfortunately, Mighty Fortress was very disappointing and finally pushed me over the edge. What do I mean? There are several things that always annoy me about Weber's books and Mighty Fortress has them in spades.
1. There is at least 20:1 ratio of meaningless conversation to exciting action scene. During the conversations, the story progresses at a snails pace, if at all.
2. Those meaningless conversations are made that much more painful by the NON-STOP use of the phases "to be honest", "truth to tell", etc. Once you notice this, it will drive you CRAZY.
3. You will note that there are really only two, maybe three characters in Weber's books: 1) rational good guy; 2) rational bad guy, who would be a good guy if their honor, patriotism, faith did not force them to the wrong side; and 3) irrational bad guy. How do you differentiate them? The first two character types are really the same, using the phase "to be honest" often, they're just on different sides. The third type, the irrational bad guy will not use the "to be honest" phrase and will often be irrational to an unbelievable degree.
If you've read the rest of the series, let's face it, you'll probably read this one also. If you decide to boycott the book, great! If enough people do so, maybe Weber will "be honest with himself" and realize that he owes us a better sequel.
I got this becasue I thought it was worth continuing the series, just to see what happens. But not much happens.
If the parts of the earlier books that really interested you were:
1) The bad guys talking
2) The fact that the bad guys can't see the snarks
3) Recieving reports of the bad guys talking
4) What each individual good character thought of the bad guys talking
5) What the good guys say to each other about what they already thought about what the bad guys said
6) What they all think about what each other said
7) Discussing the most obvious response
8) Finally doing what they already discussed ad nausium
9) "To be honest"
10) What adversaries are standing around thinking just before the moment they die
11) The details of artillery
12) The details of sails, riggings and hulls
13) The 6-8 hour naval battles
... Well, if those are the parts you like, you'll like this. If you like the other parts of the actual story, you'll find bits and pieces scattered around occasionally.
Sorry I can't reccomend it more highly. It was tough to get through, yet, I suppose it was interesting as a whole.
I have read all the books in this series. Lately, I was remembering some of my favorite scenes from the first book, so I started listening to the series again from the beginning. When I reread the books in this series, I skip all the long, boring, depressing scenes with the vile leaders of the church in the Temple Lands. In fact, I've started keeping a document indicating the hour and minute that a scene starts that I want to skip, and the hour and minute of where to fast forward to to begin listening again.
So anyway, I relistened to the first three books in this series, and then I started this one. I was probably an hour in and absolutely nothing interesting had happened. At that point I remembered that when I listened to this book the first time through, somehow two of the parts got put on my iPod in the wrong order, and I listened to about four hours of the wrong part before I finally figured out that I had skipped 6 or 7 hours of this book without noticing a thing. That's how vague and meandering this book was.
So I thought, even though this book isn't the greatest, there must be a few scenes I'd like to listen to, but I couldn't remember any. I went to the Safehold Wiki to read through the plot synopsis there to remind me so I could search for any scenes I might want to listen to, and guess what....there weren't any. Not one scene in the whole 35-hour book I wanted to read again.
So, what do I tell you? I really like most of the first three books. I highly recommend the first one even if you don't plan to read the whole series. This book seems (so far) to be the nadir. The two books that come after this one are better (though I do have my problems with both of them). So I would recommend the first book in the series highly. If you like it, go on the second and third books. Then consider at that point what you want to do. If you REALLY liked the earlier books, maybe you want to get this one just so you will know what is happening. OR you may want to read a good synopsis of it on Safehold Wiki or somewhere else and move on to "How Firm a Foundation".
Even in as passive a format as an audiobook, this one is difficult to take. Weber's rapidly expanding list of characters waste your time in an endless series of meetings and discussions, during which they often take breaks for personal reflections. In previous novels Weber would liberally intercut similar scenes with action, often featuring his protagonist Merlin/Nimue (who incidentally, is re-introduced to us again in the fourth volume, at length).
This time around, we mostly just get the talking, much of which attempts to gracefully boost Weber's own political and religious views. For those fans who weren't aware, he's a fiscal conservative, a strong 2nd amendment supporter (and I'm generally on board with him, there) as well as a lay minister in a more liberal Protestant denomination. In the last of these he lays out the common plea of liberal religionists, that both skepticism of religious belief and fierce adherence to dogma are both destructive of human happiness in their suspension of the mystery of spirituality. Just so happens that no character engages the former cause and only the bad guys engage the latter. Subtle, huh?
But even that would have been forgivable if the action of the book didn't plod along at such a glacial pace. Readers familiar with the series may recall the first novel, filled with battles, assassination attempts, tragic deaths and self-sacrifice--that's in short supply here, and it's why I won't return to Safehold. I'm sad that it had to be this way.
Maybe it was the anticipation and knowing there will be a long wait for the next installment, but this one failed to meet the high standard of the first three books in the Safehold Series. There might be 5 hours of essential interesting content in this 35 hour epic.
I've listened to the other three books twice and started to do the same with this one but I simply can't get through it all again. Aside from Merlin's first unilateral move without consulting his friends Caleb, Charlyan, & the head of the Church of Charis and the escape from the Temple Lands by the families of the circle - there isn't much action that adds to the effort.
I hope Weber lives long enough to complete the series but at this rate it will take many years and I'm not sure I'll be around long enough to enjoy the finale.
On the strength of some of his other work, I purchased this audio book and all I can say is that the narrator Jason Culp is to be commended for reading page after page of drivel non-stop. To say that this book lacks a cohesive story is an understatement. I thought Ben Bova obscure when he would take a half paragraph describe the protagonist's blazer buttons, but this book is just brutal in its inane details. This book must be over 1000 pages and it has little enough actual story to fill a Sci-Fi comic book.
Do not waste your money or worse, your time on this one.
One of my favorite authors. But this book is a sleeper perhaps two hours of decent listening in the whole epic yawn. Add in the fact that the Narrator is horrible. He makes prince Narmin sound like a scotish version of Forest Gump. Sorry Mr Weber but this one is a flop.
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