• On Basilisk Station

  • Honor Harrington, Book 1
  • By: David Weber
  • Narrated by: Allyson Johnson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (5,785 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Having made a superior look a fool, Honor Harrington has been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and set up for ruin.

Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship's humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station.

The aborigines of the system's only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens.

Parliament isn't sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling; the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called "Republic" of Haven is up to something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser with an armament that doesn't work to police the entire star system.

But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They've made her mad.

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.

©2002 David Weber (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about On Basilisk Station

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    5 out of 5 stars

Thanks for the memories

I recently reviewed the latest entry into this series, and I blasted it pretty hard. Then, when my anger cooled, I wished that I could edit my review a bit, but Audible does not offer us a way to do that. So this review is, in part, my apology to Mr. Weber.

“On Basilisk Station” is the first book in a very large series. The series has given me a great deal of pleasure over the years. The main character in this series is Honor Harrington. Please note that her initials are HH. Weber has said that his inspiration for this series is the Horatio Hornblower series. (I recommend that series as well. Thanks to Audible for finally getting it. The Hornblower series was also the inspiration for the original Star Trek TV series, according to Gene Roddenberry.)

In this book we see Honor Harrington as a young(ish) star ship captain. Her country is small, consisting of the people of three planets all in the same star system. They are being threatened by a very large and corrupt star nation consisting of many star systems. Many of the events--at least in the early part of the series--parallel broad events in the conflict between England and France in the early 1800s. (Napoleonic wars) The Hornblower series was about English sailing ships helping their country to fend off Napoleon. This series is about Manticoran star ships protecting their country.

I hope what I have said so far doesn’t make Weber sound like a cheap hack copying a better writer. Hornblower was the “inspiration” for Honor, but the plots, characters and story arcs are all Weber’s.

We have various levels of peril in these tales - peril to Honor’s family and career, to her life and the lives of those she commands, and very real peril to her country. We have a large company of characters; people (on both sides of the conflict) that are honorable and whom we grow to love, as well as people (on both sides of the conflict) who are venal, evil. Many writers become so fond of their characters that they can never kill off the good guys. Weber does--on a regular basis. It takes some getting used to.

AND Weber writes amazingly good action scenes.

There are now more than 20 books in this series, I think (the main series has 13 books, but there are also a couple of spinoff series and at least five anthologies of short stories in the Honorverse). Many people say that the first three books in the series are the best. I would agree that the first three are among the best, but I do have some favorites that occur later in the series. There are also five or six compilations of short stories in this series. I have reviewed a number of them. Many of them provide tidbits of information that will help you understand events in the next full-length novel. There is no question, however, that later books in the series are too wordy and have too few action scenes.

So here is the bottom line: I recommend this series. It is one of my favorites. But each person will have to decide whether they will read the next book in the series. My son stopped reading them at about book 9 or 10. I quit once, then started again, and I think I may have quit completely now. But don’t let poor books late in the series stop you from starting the series. You would miss out on some great stuff.

109 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Two issues to address: narration and story

I have never read any of the Honor Harrington series, so I did not have any fan axes to grind about pronunciation, etc. I was a little put off by other reviews complaining about the pronunciation of 'Manticorian' even when the author himself had posted a note explaining that any mistakes were ENTIRELY his fault and not the narrator's.

However, I must say that the narration IS something of an issue in the beginning of the book and during any non-dialog, exposition type scenes. The descriptions 'robotic' or 'newscaster-ish' are both completely true, IMO, for at least the first few chapters.

BUT- I do feel that the narrator really nailed the main character's voice and I found her voices for other characters to be easy to differentiate from one another and I had no issues with her accents. So for voices, I say she is fine, just rather bland in non-dialog scenes.

Somewhere around the fifth or sixth chapter, the narrator seems to get much more comfortable with the material and sounds less wooden. When the story improves and gives her more of interest to narrate, her voice warms up considerably.My instinct feels that her narration for the series will only improve as she continues on with these characters in later books.

I would have regretted putting this audiobook down early because of my frustration with it in the beginning chapters.

And not all of the things I didn't like can be laid at the narrator's feet either. I know this is a beloved series, and being a huge Vorkosigan fan, having been told this was similar space opera, I thought I would try it.

Although the character of Honor is likable enough, she is sort of a huge sci-fi chick cliche in some ways. She is about 40 standard- but looks 20 something. She is not classically beautiful, but the 'planes of her face' and 'deep chocolately brown eyes' and 'light soprano' all make her much more attractive than she seems to realize. She doesn't wear makeup or bother with doing her hair, but always looks crisp and attractive- you know the type of female we're talking about.

In fact, one of the things I found most irritating to listen to in the first several chapters is the ENDLESS way that her light soprano, ivory planes of her features and especially her deep chocolate brown eyes get inserted needlessly into paragraphs over and over again.

I get it that the author likes Honor and wants us to like her- but I also got what color her eyes were, how her voice sounded and the basic description the first five times you told us. It gets almost romance novel-ish the way it goes on- and not in a good romance-novel way.

Also, she has a magical (read sci-fi telepathic) six legged kitty cat! Which, ok, cool, I would love one, but it does seem a bit twee for a science fiction series. But I'm willing to suspend judgement here, because it seems like the tree cat might be more important to the series later on and it sort of reminded me of Pip and Flinx, which I loved as a kid.

But again- I kept listening and ignored these annoying little tendencies, and hurrah! I have been rewarded with a very entertaining sci-fi yarn with an engaging heroine, a relatively complex plot and well-written space battle and political scenarios.

The basic plot of new commander having to win over the ship's crew to her and fighting against the odds is nothing new, but Weber gives it an interesting enough spin and things liven up considerably once the Fearless is assigned to Basilisk Station.


Since this is the first in the series, I am willing to forgive it a few snags in the startup, and will be getting the next book. I can't say for sure that Honor and her kittycat and crew will become my new favorite space series, but this book turned out well enough that I am willing to ship out with them for another voyage.

40 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator is fine - decide for yourself

I was really bummed by the other reviewers who really blasted the reader of the book. They complained about her pronunciation of a few words and claimed she read in a monotone like a newscaster. I have to remember to sample for myself in the future. I think they all have expectations that are way too high!
I've been waiting for these audio books for a long time. I've read all of the Honor books multiple times and I am pleased with the interpretation. Is it the best book reading I've heard in my 5 or 6 years using Audible? No. But it is far from the worst, very far. The story is excellent, the characters and their development over the book and indeed the series are amazing, and the books are on audio unabridged at last! I say listen and enjoy one of the great Sci-Fi authors and stories of our day.

36 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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First half a 3, last half a 5

Story - Since this is the first of the series, it begins with a lot of background information, character building and somewhat confusing politics, but after that's out of the way (hopefully), there is a lot going on. There is interesting crew dynamics, a mystery to solve, battle strategies to plan and plenty of actual combat. Honor is a smart, strong and dedicated starship captain who is determined to fulfill her duties regardless of risk, and I think her duties will provide for an excellent sci-fi series!

The book is not exactly what I'd call an "easy listen," but neither is it mentally or emotionally taxing. It comes to a satisfying conclusion, so it can stand alone as a story.

Narration - This narrator does a great job. I love it when men sound like men and women sound like women, and she does both sexes well. Not only that, she does some pretty decent Irish, French and Spanish accents.

Overall - This book is not a must-hear, but it provides some good background information which may be helpful if you continue the series.

31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Great book! Bad narrator.

I was excited to see that the Honor Harrington series had finally been recorded - it's fantastic pulp fiction - and I was looking for something just like this to keep me occupied on the morning commute.

Imagine my disappointment when a newscaster started reading the book to me. I suppose I've gotten spoiled by narrators who actually tell a story, create characters, and place dramatic emphasis in the appropriate places. I've even been impressed with authors who read their own material and stress the importance of certain concepts. Unfortunately, this reader has the same vocal pattern for each of her sentences, be it exposition, action, or dialogue. And it sounds as if she's reading the news.

I'm very disappointed that she's apparently been contracted to record the entire series. I'll be greatly torn between wanting to listen to the rest of the books, and the amount of annoyance I'm willing to sit through to occasionally accidentally get lost in the story.

I give the book a 5 for being a great story.
I give the narrator a 1 for complete lack of understanding of the art of narration.

30 people found this helpful

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On Basilisk Station

This is the first book in the Honor Harrington series, and there are 12 more at this time, plus several collections of short stories in the Honorverse. I have read them, and own many, but was reluctant to listen to them because of my main complaint with these books - too many meetings and conversations to explain plot points. I found though, that the narrator did a great job of making even those tedious parts interesting! I am purchasing more, and hoping they continue be this good. I appreciate DW's explanation about the pronunciation of Manticoran. Otherwise, I would have been really irritated! Mispronunciations are a pet peeve of mine!

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Finally!

I've been a fan of David Weber's Honor Harrington series for years. It's great to finally have unabridged audio versions of them. My only caveat is that the narrator is difficult to understand at times. Her voice is a good choice for Honor, but her interpretation is very different than my own has been (in my head) during my many re-readings of this book.

28 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Honor Harrington Universe Book 1

It's been Fifteen years since I discovered David Weber and Honor Harrington Universe.
It was my first encounter with military science fiction, and since that day I was engulfed in magnificent books of Honor Harrington Universe (HHU).

Despite all of it's drawbacks, years of waiting for the next book, frustration because of plot and some characters, I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World.
Honor Harrington received a new life with the voice of Allyson Johnson and it was perfect fit, and now you can go through HHU with a guide.

The story is set in a far future in the age of FTL flight. Humanity occupies many star systems across thousand of parsecs, humanity also utilized wormholes which offer instantaneous travel.
The Star Kingdom of Manticore one of the wealthiest trade nations in this region of space, considered to be Neobarbarians by the Solarium League(more than 8000 star systems, Earth in the core, capital in old Chicago)

We follow Commander Honor Harrington, she received her CO assignment on Her Majesty’s light cruiser Fearless Located in Basilisk system. Though Basilisk has become a dumping ground for misfits and rejects from her home colony of Manticore, Honor is determined to discharge her duty regardless of the circumstances.

Please Listen to it You won't regret it, I promise!!!!!!!!!!!!!

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good enough that I will be picking up the sequels

OK, so I think that in the fantasy/SF audio book community we've been spoiled a bit. We're surrounded by several really good narrators: Stefan Rudnicki, Scott Brick, Reading/Kramer, and many more. Now all of a sudden along comes On Basilisk Station, read by a "merely" competent narrator, and we react in horror.

Honestly, I listened to this book in relatively few sittings (I had a couple of lengthy flights to sit through) and I found the story to be acceptably presented. Not excellent, not terrible, but acceptable. Acceptable enough that I will be grabbing the sequels as quickly as my credits renew.

(I have indeed read the novels previously, a few years ago.)

P.S. This is Mike - Heather is my wife, and her name is on the account here at Audible. :P

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Mixed feelings

I have everything David Weber has written either as a real book (he's classed as "Buy In Hardbound", which few authors in my library have achieved) or eBook. The book is great. It's an extremely good series about Honor's rise to prominence over her career. That's the good part.
The bad part: the narrator. For the love of all that's holy, is it impossible for these readers to know their subject material? How this one reconciles the pronunciation between Manticore and Manticoran is beyond me. There are other similar issues, but this one is like a knife to the ears every time. Some of here characterizations are crazy. In a universe set hundreds of light years from Earth, where do all these French and Cockney accents come from?
I've already resigned myself to having to live with this, since I'm determined to own the series. Please, producer, remember that there's a difference between being able to read and doing so competently. This one falls far short. My rating is for the story. The reader should be given one star. Or maybe even go into negative territory.

20 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jernau Gurgeh
  • 05-15-09

A very good production of a good Space Opera

If you're a scifi fan and haven't read any of the Honor Harrington novels then give this a try. The heroine is a captain in the Manticoran Space Navy and this book follows her adventures with a new ship and a difficult posting. It has politics, combat and intrigue along with a broad range of characters from Admirals and Ships Captains to Missile Technician Horace Harkness and Ensign Scotty Tremaine.

The author David Weber has freely admitted his admiration for the Hornblower novels of CS Forester and his own books are similar in many ways. The long range space combats bear an obvious resemblance to the maeuvering and broadside duels of Nelson's day and there is plenty of character driven narrative as characters ponder on duty, personal difficulties and honour. Most of all they are entertaining dramas with life aboard ship set against both a local/tactical situation and a galactic strategic/political situation. Even more impressive is that the quasi-science behind ships and weapons takes a backseat to the story and action. It exists without dominating the novel.

For fans of the series do not despair. This is a good production of the book. The reader does an admirable job of conveying different characters so that one knows who is who without a flurry of different distracting accents. She even manages Nimitz's occasional 'bleeks' without descending into farce. Once or twice her pronunciation differs from that I have always used in my head but not so much that it detracted from the story. In many ways the best compliment that I can pay an actor reading one of my favourite books is that I enjoyed it as much as when I read the book myself.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 06-19-10

An good intro to the audio versions of 'Honor'

I have read all the HH books both as paperbacks and e-books. I tend to re-read when a new book appears so have read the early ones several times. This time I decided to try an audio book. It was a good choice. I think this is the most enjoyable of ways to 'read'. The early HH books are far, far, better than the later ones which tend to get tied up in explanation of political shenanigans here and there. HH's progress is logical and well deserved and the situations believable. Of course Weber owes much to Hornblower and Napoleonic history but isnt that the sign of a competent author that he can relate both to a futuristic situation. HH is a believable heroine. The reading is pleasant, the female voice relaxing, and the characterisation of various voices is well done without being too much. All in all, a very enjoyable experience - one that makes me want to listen to the whole series but with some reservations about the later ones.
Recommended

11 people found this helpful

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  • Vlad
  • 01-21-20

One of the worst sci-fi books I have ever read

This book is mainly composed of two things: endless, boring, out of place exposition, and praises to our central character - Honor Harrington.
Honor Harrington is youngest Captain in the fleet, tactical and strategic genius, super athlete, mastermind politician, unrivalled leader of men (everyone she meets loves and respects her instantly, if not, they are either villains or really jealous of her perfection), incorruptible and honourable, impossibly selfless, beautiful but not-really-but-actually-she-is, bad at math but actually-not-she-is-the-best-at-math-she-just-thinks-she-is-bad-at-math-it's-her-only-flaw, first and best in everything she does, and she does everything, because she is the best.
She is always right, and always one step ahead of her opposition, because she read the first draft. She will always win, and everybody will praise her, and anyone who disagreed with Honor, or didn't like her, will be disproportionately punished by the author in the end of the book.
She also has a magical, telepathic space cat. It's very rare, and these cats choose their human, which means that Honor is a very special person.
She is, without a doubt, greatest person in the galaxy, and everybody knows that, and so should you.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • AmazonYoda
  • 10-22-12

Great if you like 'Military' detail

Thought I'd give this a go. Saw it described as 'Military Science Fiction' and wondered what that'd be like. Unfortunately, it wasn't for me really. I did however listen to the end. It was actually a very good yarn but I found all the detailed descriptions of battle tactics and hardware very heavy going. Suppose I'm just a 'make the jump to hyperspace and get on with story' sort of reader. I don't need detailed descriptions of how that might technically be possible. It was sort of the same story with the detailed politics bits. Others will love it so if that's you you'll love this.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dave
  • 06-11-11

Onward and Upward

Had been recommended this series by a number of friends and having just listened to the first book, I am pleased to recommend this book to other listeners. A fresh piece of writing presented by a snappy narrator - though for some reason I'm not sure if accents would still be a relevant part in the future as is made out - not a complaint, just a view

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Shane
  • 07-06-18

Forcing myself to listen

Really struggling to get into this book. It hasn't captured my attention so far. I find the reader's voice quite monotonous - to be honest it sounds like I am listening to an instruction manual rather than a book. I will persevere and hopefully I will stumble across what everyone is raving about.

if I have a change if opinion, I'll be straight back to correct this review.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • MR
  • 02-12-12

Good book, terrible narrator

The book is great, this narrator sounds like space barbie though which is more than a little distracting, unfortunately it looks as though shes reading the whole series but hopefully she'll get better

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joerg
  • 12-25-09

Great!

I love this audiobook. Allyson Johnson does a wonderful job.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • An Avid Reader in the UK
  • 03-12-19

A fun mix of politics & space fleet combat

This is my first venture into Weber's writing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Good narration and Honor is a great heroine. It's fun to see how she deals with her opponents both internal and external and how she wins her sceptical crew over to her methods.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • John P Warr
  • 12-06-18

Space Hornblower...

A Sci-Fi re-working of the classic Hornblower novels, and non the worse for that. Honor Harrington is both likeable and believable within the framework of the Honorverse. The characters are quite well drawn and Nimitz is a good device as well as an engaging character. If Weber occasionally gets too involved with the technicalities it is important to understand how and why some of the tactical decisions are made and it makes the story line more credible within it's framework. Well worth a listen (or a read), and if it appeals there are many more in the series, and if it does not it is still a ripping yarn in and of it's self. The only thing I would do is tell the reader that the planet's name is "Mantocore". Not Mant'kr. That is endlessly annoying.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Carol Krishnan
  • 11-09-16

Good book, poor pronunciations.

I listened to this audio book having read the paper book multiple times. The pronunciations in this book were distracting. Frequently voice tones were off. A young ensign with a gravelly baritone that sound like an old man.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kristin
  • 11-09-16

Decent sci-fi adventure

A good, enjoyable sci-fi adventure. The space battles and setting were enthralling and it was easy to visualise the technology described. Weber clearly tries to envision a future where race and sex are no barriers to progress, and he mostly succeeds.

The two odd things I noted was having a colonial sub plot but not having a pov character of the native, pre space flight alien people. The other is having an amazing, tough female protagonist, but have her suffer from low self esteem, which is frankly just boring

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr Alan M Kohn
  • 09-22-21

If you love this book don't listen to this version

I have read this book at least 50 times so when I saw it on audible I jumped at the chance but I was so sadly disappointed. With in a few minutes I was annoyed and just had to stop every time the narrator got to the word 'Manticoran' it was like figure nails on a chalkboard I don't know who told her it was pronounced 'Man Tick Er An' but they need the ears cleaned out I have never heard it pounced that way and hope never to hear it again I hope one day audible will replace this version

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