Off Armageddon Reef (The Safehold series) Paperback – 6 May 2011
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'The pacing is expert and the scope of Weber's vision ensures an irresistible read for fans of wide-screen adventure.' -- The Guardian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A science-fiction epic from the New York Times bestselling authorSee all Product description
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The sleeping colonists had volunteered to have false memories of a false life implanted. None of them expected the colony's chief administrator, Langhorne, and the colony's chief psychologist, Bédard, to also program them into believing that Operation Ark's command staff were gods. There were quite a few among the command staff who balked at the notion of people actually worshiping them, mere humans no matter how advanced in technology, but it was too late. The deed had been done. A short revolution ended with the deaths of all the command staff.
The colonists led simple lives on the planet they named Safeholden. Invention, progress, change, any advancement at all is strictly forbidden. In orbit, a surveillance system still sweeps the planet, automatically striking anything that emits tech spoors. The colonists believe these rare blasts to be lightning bolts from their god, Langhorne, to keep them in line. Even in death, Langhorne would have won had it not been for Pei Kau-yung and a few select others. Kau-yung's elite few hid a PICA (Personality-Integrated Cybernetic Avatar) deep beneath a mountain. It looked, thought, felt, and basically WAS the human female named Nimue Alban. The biological Nimue had been one of the more brilliant tactical officers the Terran Federation Navy had ever produced. She had been one of the many that sacrificed her life for Operator Ark to succeed. A PICA may not have a heart, but it is identical to a real human, fully functional. This Nimue can eat, sleep, bleed, feel emotions, and more. However, this Nimue can do so many things that a real human could never accomplish. Kau-yung also left Nimue several high-tech gadgets. But nothing that would attract the attention of the orbital surveillance system. This Nimue "slept" beneath the mountain until Kau-yung's recording "woke" her up...750 years later.
Nimue Alban's task is to undo the mess created by Langhorne and Bédard's extra programming to the colonists. She is to restore the rich, varied heritage to the humanity from whom it had been stolen. And since this Nimue is 98% as real as the biological Nimue, she takes her tasks very seriously indeed.
**** Author David Weber never writes a short novel. This is because he is so descriptive, especially when it comes to weaponry and tactical maneuvers. There is absolutely no way that I can write a clear, concise synopsis of the book without it being over triple the size of this one. However, I believe I managed to give enough so that potential readers can decide whether or not this book is one they wish to purchase. This is the first of a new series by Weber, who has taken the sci-fi community by storm since his first Honor Harrington novel was debuted. And it has created a solid foundation upon which the rest of this series will build upon. Very well done and highly recommended! ****
Now, despite the 5 stars, a word of warning to all those who are familiar with Weber's other works. It feels VERY familiar. It reads almost exactly like any of his Honor-verse books, or especially the Dahak-verse series.
Some of you may hate it for this very reason, I will admit, it struck a chord with me and for a fleeting moment, i felt a little shortchanged but ten chapter's into it and I felt like I was being visited by and old and welcome friend.
I really, really liked the overall premise and the concepts involved and once you get past the jarring familiarity that the names of the character's present (White Haven = Grey Harbour for example), its a damn fine read.
Worth the money and the wait.
However what prevented me from giving this the 5 stars I'd expect to rate a Harrington series book is that the plot itself seems to be recycling previous Weber scripts. The technologically advanced stranger picking a society suitable to be boot-strapped up the scientific ladder so he can accomplish his goals. Unfortunately although the story was still of a high calibre, I kept thinking to myself - I preferred the "original stories" with Prince Roger MacClintock improving the Mardukan ships so he could reach the starport or how Sean MacIntyre and colleagues used their superior genetics and science to raise arms against a corrupt church.
Don't get me wrong I'll be buying the next book when it comes out to see how the story progresses, because regardless of any other point Weber is an excellent storyteller and I came very close to finishing all 700 pages in one sitting.
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Like the best si-fi (think Tolkien) the wold is consistent and believable...Read more
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