- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 13 hours and 2 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 18 Feb. 2014
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00HUKFEEK
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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To Honor You Call Us: Man of War, Book 1 Audiobook – Unabridged
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It is a highly and entertaining readable piece of Military space opera, with lots of hidden (and not so hidden) references to other similar works (Star Trek, but also Weber and Elisabeth Moon come to mind, among others) and to books on the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. The two main characters are largely inspired by Patrick O’Brian’s duo (Captain Aubrey/Doctor Maturin) who himself drew quite a bit of inspiration from C.S. Forrester (Captain Hornblower).
The context is largely unoriginal. Humankind has been fighting a losing war for thirty years against ruthless and fanatical aliens – humanoid rats – who are bent on exterminating it and will stop at nothing to do so. Our young hero, one young and dashing Lieutenant Commander Max Robichaux with Cajun ancestry, is given command of a state-of-the-art but problematic destroyer and sent of a mission which is, of course, crucial, and consists of disrupting the Krag’s (the name of the “humanoid rats” war effort. Naturally, our hero is tall, square shouldered, square jawed, wily as a fox, can do no wrong and just about walks on water, so the story if somewhat predictable, to put mildly.
It is also, predictably, action-packed – quite literally since just about everything takes place within a single month. Needless to say, not only is the expedition a roaring success but its results exceed by far what was the mission’s initial brief. It ends with Robichaux, his eccentric scientific doctor/friend Dr Sahin and his ship and crew gloriously saving a whole race from genocide from the awful Krags and accordingly gaining their undying gratitude and collaboration.
I wondered, at times, as to whether the author really intended this book to come across as the amusing and entertaining parody that I found it to be, if only because there are many elements in it that are simply unbelievable. One of them is the use of cutlasses and battle axes on 24th century warships – a huge “nod and wink” to the “saltwater navy” books that I have mentioned already. At one point, the author makes half-hearted effort to explain this by the extreme danger involved in shooting when on a ship in outer space with pulse rifles and other automatic weapons just before mentioning holes in the deck specially made to install heavy machine guns to repel boarders. Another is the – improbable in itself – destruction of an enemy first class battle cruiser through a supposedly very innovative tactic, except that it is totally unbelievable if only because the atomic missiles fitted onto a little cutter would likely be so heavy as to prevent the cutter from taking off in the first place.
I was also quite amused by some of the moralistic undertones. One was the contrast between the heroic, noble and self-sacrificing humans and the awful “rat-faces.” Another amusing touch was the description of two other alien species. One is the pacific and artistic “Pfelungs”, an initially aquatic race and something of a cross between dolphins (when they are young and immature) and sea-lions (when they are mature). The other one are the technologically very advanced and ultra-aggressive Vaagh, who were initially predators that lived in trees a few million years ago. They are shown as four meter tall koala bears and one of their warlords condescends in letting the “primate fruit-eaters” (that is Robichaux and his crew) live, for this time.
By now, readers of this review will certainly have got my point. If you take this book very seriously and like your military space operas to be entirely “believable”, then this is perhaps not a book for you. You will probably dislike it and maybe even be rather annoyed by it. If, however, you take it with a “pinch of salt” and not too seriously, then you might enjoy it. You are likely to find it entertaining. It might even make you laugh at few times. I did, and this is why I found this book entertaining and enjoying. It is because of this that it is worth four stars for me, regardless of whether the author really intended it to be an amusing parody.
But unfortunately there are a number of things that makes you laugh out but for a different reason. It is just some very silly facts that are brought into the story that makes you wonder.
Lets start with our "hero", the new space destroyer captain. He is a 28 years old officer who went out into space at the age of ten and now is not only a combat veteran but also a tactical and technical genius. Who would put a 28 year old officer in charge of a destroyer in the Navies of today? Being a military man myself I can only smile at this idea. Or maybe a space destroyer is so much easier to command than a destroyer of today?
It is the year 2315 and for some reason computer technology must have stopped developing around 2015 because there is almost nothing in the book done by computers that can not be done today. Instead of having a spaceship run by computers, it is run by people.
It is the year 2315 and space soldiers still use pistols M1911! A four hundred year old personnel weapon! Not only that, they use 7,62/51 mm ammunition in their rifles as well. Not to mention that they also use swords...But in order to make this a space variant of old sailing ship combat I can accept the swords.
In 2315 people still use reading glasses and their "telephones" are made by Nokia!
Whenever they discuss anything they always refer to what happened during the second world war or in the culture during the 20th century. Apparently nothing has happened during the coming three centuries so everybody still refers to good old 20th century. The Earth Union Space Navy celebrates General Patton's birthday!
Ok, the story was fun to read and you just skip over these odd things. But there is one thing that is harder to understand. The Author has for some reason decided to take out all women in the story. Space war is conducted only by men. They spend decades in space fighting the evil enemy and there is nothing that indicates that they ever see a woman. Our "hero" has in over 400 pages never a thought on women or any memory of them. Just load thousands of men into spaceships and send them away to fight and die during a war that has been going on for many years. Just guess what will happen on those ships, or is there anything in the food?
But again, it is a fun and nostalgic read and with a little support from some friends the author, Paul Honsinger, will be able to clean up the story and develop it into something worthy of four or even five stars.
I read this in one sitting and just could not put it down. It ranks equally with the best from Weber, Stross and other brilliant authors in the genre.
Buy Buy Buy! - you won't be disappointed!!..well done guys and I can't wait for the 2nd novel (and more) in the series.
the tale is told from a slightly naïve view point of the world mostly suited for an ya audience, that is until the totally awesome admiral horn Myer turns up effing and jeffing left right and centre! totally out of character to the rest of the book but too good to leave out, my favourite char by far!
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King would recommend this book to anyone.