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A Mighty Fortress (safehold Book 4) [Kindle Edition]

David Weber
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Young Cayleb Ahrmahk has accomplished things few people could even dream of. Having smashed a hostile alliance of no less than five princedoms and won the hand of the beautiful young Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm, together they have created the Charisian Empire, the greatest naval power in the history of Safehold. Charis is transformed into a place of refuge for all who treasure freedom.

But their success may prove short-lived. The Group of Four, the clique that controls the Church of God Awaiting – and, through the church, most of Safehold – has decreed their destruction. Mother Church’s entire purpose is to prevent all to which Charis is committed, and she will not rest until it has been erased forever.

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 catastrophic battles against impossible odds, because he is in fact the cybernetic avatar of a young woman named Nimue Alban, who died a thousand years ago.

Mother Church’s juggernaut rumbles down on Charis, but Merlin Athrawes and a handful of extraordinary human beings stand in its path. The Group of Four is about to discover just how potent the power of human freedom truly is.


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Review

"Gripping...Shifting effortlessly between battles among warp-speed starships and among oar-powered galleys, Weber brings the political maneuvering, past and future technologies, and vigorous protagonists together for a cohesive, engrossing whole."" --Publishers Weekly", starred review, on "Off Armageddon Reef

""A superb cast of characters and plenty of action.... This fine book gives new luster to Weber's reputation and new pleasure to his fans." "--Booklist, "starred review, on "By Schism Rent Asunder"

Review

"Gripping...Shifting effortlessly between battles among warp-speed starships and among oar-powered galleys, Weber brings the political maneuvering, past and future technologies, and vigorous protagonists together for a cohesive, engrossing whole."" --Publishers Weekly", starred review, on "Off Armageddon Reef

""A superb cast of characters and plenty of action.... This fine book gives new luster to Weber's reputation and new pleasure to his fans." "--Booklist, "starred review, on "By Schism Rent Asunder"

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but dreadfully flawed 1 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are a great many things wrong with this book, starting with the cover art: it has a flying saucer zapping a sailing ship with a death ray, something that - thankfully - doesn't happen in the book. Then there's the length: over a thousand pages, making it thicker and heavier than my copy of the bible, although admittedly the typeface is larger. And it is at least a better story than the bible, making use of such advanced techniques as causes preceding effects, characters having believable motivations etc. Trouble is, it's still not that good. Much of that length is taken up by lengthy internal monologues which serve to set the scene but which digress to such an extent that, when they occur in the middle of a conversation (as they almost invariably do) it's hard to keep track and is terribly jarring when a character finally decides to say something. And there's nothing exciting and new at all when compared to the earlier books in the series. It's merely a small development of themes that we're already very familiar with from the first three volumes. Add to that a cast of so many characters that the appendix listing them all covers 32 pages, and that they all have idiotic names which are based on normal names but with all the vowels hideously butchered, and it's too easy to lose track of what's going on.

I quite enjoyed reading it, but it's dreadfully flawed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A series grinding to a halt. 25 Aug. 2011
Format:Paperback
This whole series seems to be getting slower and slower.

I took the first book away on vacation (on my kindle) and found the whole fleeing from Earth premise quite fun. I watched the hero of the piece start to introduce new technologies to the society where he wakes and I thought it might be good to read the rest, so I downloaded them.

What did I get? A cleverly tweaked replay of the history of the British Empire, a series of sea-battles and a bunch of unpronounceable names!

After the first burst of techno-intervention, our hero has been very careful not to unduly influence the rate of innovation and that has stuck the whole series in a time where there are only endless sea-battles to be described. I'm sure that I've learned a lot about topmasts etc. but if this society is ever to defeat the alien menace from the first book, I'm going to have to wade though hundreds of years of technological innovation seemingly carried out at only a slightly accelerated pace. Is this going to be a 100 novel series I have to wonder?

As for the names...well they've been mentioned in other reviews already. Take a normal name, replace the vowels with "y" and the G's and J's with "Zh" and you have it. It's a cheap gimmick and just wears thin after 4 books. Anyway, it's just occured to me that the hero Merlin should probably be called Myrlyn - so why isn't he?

All-in-all I'm too far into this series to give up now, I may carry on. My advice is to buy the first book, enjoy the idea and then run for the hills - unless you want to be an 18th century fighting ships expert.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Truly Awful 8 Feb. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I feel I have to add to other reviewers slating this book.

The series started spectacularly well - 'Off Armageddon Reef' was a really interesting book. We had space battles, a fleeing colony, a corrupt social system to overcome. All very interesting. However, books 2, 3 and 4 then stuck us in an 18th century world with very little sci fi.

I think Weber completely misjudged his readership. Anyone who read the first book and enjoyed it enjoyed their sci fi. Anyone that enjoys the later books obviously prefers their naval history and pondering storylines. These two groups are quite different.

Unless the next book picks up the development, has humanity starting to gear up to fight their nemesis etc., I'm going to give up on Weber's reading entirely. I've wasted enough money on a story not going anywhere.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much, too slow 23 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of David Weber. And I'm a big fan of the Safehold series. But this book...

I understand we're dealing with rebuilding a world and a society. I understand that a good story has a proper flow and lengh, and has to be properly told. But this book is simply too *slow*! There's simply too much going on, too many secondary characters poping up (we have a 37 page index of names, for Langhorne's sake!), too many locations, too many descriptions. The story grinds down for the sake of too many useless details. A certain tutor's journey to Zion, for example, could have been dealt with in just a few pages, rather than entire chapters. It's what happens in Zion that matters, not all the ity-bity stuff on the way (a full description of a hotel? Really?...).

I like where the book leads us in the end, but getting there almost becomes a chore, rather than a pleasure. I think that, even without loosing charaters, some editing of descriptions and journeys would have chopped 10-15% off the book... and nothing of the story would be lost.

Mr Weber, please: I can tell that you really loved to write all that but, for the sake of your fans (and of the story) cut down a bit on the extras.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Long-winded and anticlimactic 13 Aug. 2011
By Fulby
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of David Weber's work and this isn't up to his usual standard. It's far longer than necessary and it's not until half way through the two-inch thick book that things start to get interesting. The ending is also anticlimactic given how long the run-up to it is.

I bought the earlier books of this series in hardback but having been disappointed by the second and third books waited for the paperback for this one. Glad I did and will do the same for the next one - not worth the extra money for the hardback and I'm not gripped by the series enough to want the next one quickly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read
The story continues and develops. Charis is embattled by the Church and the evil group of four. Further innovations just manage to keep giving the Empire an edge but the difference... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars great book thoroughly
great book thoroughly enjoyed
Published 5 months ago by J S
4.0 out of 5 stars The fight for Safehold continues.
David Weber's highly readable series immerses us again into the fascinating and engaging realms of Safehold, where Merlin Athrawes and his Charisian allies continue to fight... Read more
Published 13 months ago by H. Nowlan
3.0 out of 5 stars Safehold 4
Beginning to feel storyline getting strained. Not as flowing as earlier novels, don't think I will buy the next one.
Published 22 months ago by jimbob
3.0 out of 5 stars A mediaevil slash-and-thrust with a veneer of science fiction
The author obviously loves sailing and the world of galleons and there's a lot of affection in the writing - and, I suspect, a great deal of accuracy. Read more
Published on 3 Mar. 2013 by Mr. Leonard F. Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars superb
a fantastic series, well written with excellent characters both hero and villain. You just can't put these down and resist escaping to David weber's world
Published on 31 Jan. 2013 by wayneg
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-imagined and enjoyable
I've just spent twelve days on the planet Safehold, and I am looking forward to returning there as soon as the fifth book in this well-imagined, enjoyable series becomes available... Read more
Published on 9 July 2012 by Mr. Allan P. Gay
5.0 out of 5 stars Show a bit of patience, you'll be rewarded...
What was it about the first 1800-odd pages of the Safehold Series that made so many people think it would be over by book 4? Read more
Published on 3 July 2012 by Mr. R. J. Pendleton
1.0 out of 5 stars A mighty waste of time!
I enjoyed the Dahak series by David Weber, even though I found some of the prose during "conversations" in Elizabethan English a bit self indulgent and hard to follow. Read more
Published on 17 Sept. 2011 by S. Allison
1.0 out of 5 stars David Weber please take note
I count myself as a bit of a David Weber fan and have read many of his books. Usually I love them.

Unfortunately I have to agree with all the negative comments. Read more
Published on 26 Aug. 2011 by Scifi fan
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