This is the second book of Honor Harrington series.
Definitely better than the first novel: On Basilisk Station. Some of my expectations from the first novel are actually answered. The second novel actually brings more stories from the enemy’s side. I certainly are looking forward to seeing Captain Yu and Theisman, two commander from Haven side.
After Basilisk, Captain Harrington is assigned to a new post in a diplomatic mission to Grayson. It looks like an easy task, but something is lurking behind. Grayson’s nemesis, its sister state: Masada, is planning a coup just in time. Harrington will be trapped in the escalation of coup d’etat.
The political situation is also very interesting. Grayson is an extremely patriarchal nation. Woman is seen as nothing but property. Seeing Honor Harrington as a senior officer of a heavy cruiser is like a slap in the face for them. Honor Harrington is indeed challenged by the local political situation. Will she succumb to this unfortunate situation or will she triumph one more time? The political behavior of a fundamentalist state also deserve an attention. It works really well with the plot of the story.
The fighting is indeed more gruesome than the first. Despite they are no land battle, the naval (space) battle is much more brutal. I have not read such a tense description of a battle, as depicted in this novel, for a long time. It is most satisfying as well as emotionally gripping.
Despite the hard science fact is not the main issue in this novel (like most space opera), Weber is consistent with the technological frameworks that he set in the beginning. It works well with all the naval tactics in the battle. This alone shows that he is indeed a good sci-fi writer, unlike most space opera which care about the plot only while abandoning the tech stuff.
The classification of space ship starting to look interesting. We have in this series battle between heavy cruiser, destroyer, battle cruiser and LAC (Light Attack Craft, a small intra system space ship with no hyper capabilities). We can see the difference of capability between those ship. I can only expect a larger campaign, space battle between two opposing fleet in the next book. You got me hook, Mr. Weber.
But unfortunately, somehow this book is still not enough to be listed in my 5 STARS class. It is still missing something “philosophical” for brain crunching, which is my criteria for a 5 STARS. So 4 STARS.
One thing I don’t really like is the depiction of the Haven Republic. It looks like Weber created Haven as conglomeration of everything that he hates. By using the name of People’s Republic of Haven, it resembles the name of a communist country: People’s Republic of China. But from the story in this book, the Haven Republic looks like more like a fascist, militaristic, and expansionist country, like Nazi German, than a communist. And the naming of the space ship class: Saladin, A Sultan class battle cruiser; is using name from Turkish Sultanate, the Ottoman Empire. So, it shows that he hates communist, fascist, and Islam. I am not a big fan of those either, but I think it’s not wise to do that.