Worlds of Honor 6: Beginnings Hardcover – 18 Jul 2013
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About the Author
With over seven and a half million copies of his books in print and seventeen titles on the New York Times bestseller list, David Weber is the science fiction publishing phenomenon of the new millennium. In the hugely popular Honor Harrington series, the spirit of C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower and Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander lives on-into the galactic future. Books in the Honor Harrington and Honoverse series have appeared on fourteen best seller lists, including those of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today. While Weber is best known for his spirited, modern-minded space operas, he is also the creator of the Oath of Swords fantasy series and the Dahak science fiction saga. Weber has also engaged in a steady stream of bestselling collaborations, including his Starfire series with Steve White, which produced the New York Times bestseller The Shiva Option among others. Weber's collaboration with alternate history master Eric Flint led to the bestselling 1634: The Baltic War, and his planetary adventure novels with military science fiction ace and multiple national best-seller John Ringo includes the blockbusters March to the Stars and We Few. Finally, Weber's teaming with Linda Evans produced the bestselling Multiverse series. David Weber makes his home in South Carolina with his wife and children.
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Most of the comments in this review apply equally to the Kindle and paper editions of the anthology, but the star rating is specific to the Kindle edition. An irritating flaw in the presentation took my view of the book below the threshold between five and four stars - I would probably have given a hardcopy edition of the book a five star rating.
As the title implies, all the stories in this volume represent the start of something important to the world of Admiral Honor Harrington some 2,000 years in the future.
1) "By the Book" by Charles Gannon is a space detective story set only 338 years in the future, in the early stages of the "Diaspora" of humans from Earth, and the most readily identifiable common element between Honor's universe and this story is the dating system. However, it is also a story about how the emigration of humans to many other planets became possible.
2) "A Call to Arms" by Timothy Zahn introduces the character of Travis Long, who in this novella is a lieutenant. Travis is about to get his own series, currently slated to be a trilogy: he is the central character in the "Manticore Ascendant" series in which the first book, "A Call to Duty (Manticore Ascendant)" by David Weber and Timothy Zahn is due for publication on 7th October 2014.
In this case the beginning is that of the military tradition of the Royal Manticoran Navy: "A Call to Arms" tells of Travis Long's part in the RMN's first major battle, defending against a force of mercenaries hired by the Axelrod corporation in 1543 PD (e.g 3646 AD).
3) "Beauty and the Beast" by David Weber tells the story of how Honor Harrington's parents met at medical school on Beowulf. It also introduces Honor's Uncle Jacques as a young man, and a certain brilliant student obstetrician who in future years will be head of the best natal clinic in the Manticore system, explaining why he will be a bit sensitive about anything relating to Honor Harrington's family.
As the cover illustration for the book suggests, this is not a typical "boy meets girl" romance and it's just as well for the "good guy" protagonists that Honor's dad was not always a harmless doctor.
The man and woman in the centre of the cover illustration are Honor's future father and mother. It might be a spoiler to list which aspects of the picture accurately reflect a scene from "Beauty and the Beast" and which are artistic licence, but it's hardly a spoiler, and certainly won't be a surprise to anyone who has read any of the other "Honorverse" anthologies, to say that this is an action story.
4) "The Best Laid Plans" by David Weber tells of the beginning of the relationship between the 13-year-old Honor Harrington and the treecat "Laughs Brightly" who she calls Nimitz and how a lot of best laid plans were disturbed when they met.
5) "Obligated Service" by Joelle Presby tells the story of the begining of the naval career of Claire Lecriox, one of the first Grayson women to serve as an officer in her planet's navy.
A rather irritating flaw in the way the kindle version of this book was constructed is that it does not have a table of contents with the links which would have enabled the reader to jump straight to a particular story. I did an awful lot of scrolling back and forward using the buttons on the side of the kindle when reading this. That was the main reason I did not give this kindle product five stars.
One or two of the stories in this book require some fairly large-scale suspension of disbelief, particlarly on the power of a psychic link between two of the characters. And to fully appreciate certain ironies and implications of some the stories you have to have read and retained in your memory some of the other books in the Honorverse. For example, in one of the stories in this book, a character gives a well argued assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the Mesan bad guys in the story, which appears totally reasonable based on the information he has, but is actually completely off-beam.
This provided the explanation for a remark in a conversation important enough to be repeated in two books set several decades later, when the truth about Mesa finally starts to come out: one of the crumbs of confort with which the head of the Mesan Alignment consoles himself about the security breach is how much he would have liked to see the expression on that character's face when he learned the truth.
Overall I enjoyed reading these stories greatly and can recommend them. One of the better "Honorverse" anthologies.
It probably goes without saying that this is not a jumping on point, but you will doubtless be a regular reader of the series if you are reading this, so that won't be a problem.
The book contains five stories. Two by regular series writer David Weber, and three by guest writers.
The common theme of the volume is beginnings. Thus all the stories are set a bit back in time in the series, and tell how certain things came to be.
First story, 'By the Book' by Charles E. Gannon, runs for one hundred and thirty five pages. It tells how an attempt to stop a hijacking in Earth's solar system leads to an investigation that uncovers a bigger plot. This has a good space action opening, but it's a big on the long side. Sags a little in the middle. And has some rather average characters. But the ending is good and give the reader food for thought.
Second story, 'A Call to Arms', is by Timothy Zahn. It features Travis, a character from a series he is currently co writing with David Weber, and tells of his struggle to prove himself as a naval member. Whilst his ship faces danger. This one is divided into chapters. It runs for ninety four pages. It does rather throw the reader in at the deep end to begin with so it takes a little getting used to. But once it does, a likeable lead and some very good space action make for a good read.
Third story, 'Beauty and the Beast', is by David Weber. This runs for one hundred and fifty two pages. It tells the story of how Honor's parents met and how their first meeting was anything but smooth. It requires some suspension of disbelief thanks to one major plot element, but has some good action and a very memorable ending.
The next one is 'Best Laid Plans', also by David Weber. This is fifty two pages long and tells how Honor and Nimitz first met. When she was eleven. It can't avoid being rather similar in some ways to the story 'a beautiful friendship,' which is from another volume and describes the first meeting between human and treecat. But it writes Honor well as an eleven year old. And the final page contains some fabulous writing which will stay with you for a very long time.
Last is 'Obligated service' by Joelle Presley. This is ninety pages long and tells the story of how Claire Lecroix, one of the first ladies from Grayson to serve in space, managed that. It does contain one bit of strong language. A narrative structure that takes a while to get used to. Only one very brief bit of action. But it's a good character drama with a likeable lead, so it gets you involved.
A solid anthology, and a good read overall for fans of the series.
Another great buck by David Weber and a must for anyone who has followed the series. . Any one chances on this book will find a wonderful
whole world in a star far from earth.. .
I would recomend reading before Riseing Thunder or Storm from the Shadows. Some parts of those novels will make more sense having read this set.
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