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on 16 October 2005
Although set in the same universe as David Weber's Honor Harrington books, this book tells the story of Berry Zilwicki, formerly a street child from Old Earth, and her friend Ruth Winton as they are introduced to the political scene in the interregnum between the cease-fire and resumption of hostilities between Manticore and Haven. Ruth is sent as the Crown's personal representative to the funeral of a prominent member for political reform within the Solarian League and Berry goes along with her for company and a bit of camouflage. Berry's father, the star kingdom's premiere intelligence agent, is sent along to keep them out of trouble (hah!). With Anton out of the way, the two girls are drawn into a whirlpool of events that appear to be spiralling out of control!
As this has all the hallmarks of being written mainly by Eric Flint, the political background and interactions between the various parties have a greater depth than is usually present in the Honorverse. However, the military actions are also generally at a lower key than Weber's, though no less intense. The authors have brought in elements from earlier novels to build up a new generation's story while still keeping familiar elements from earlier stories.
I only hope that any further books in this series keep up the standard of this book.
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on 3 September 2003
“Crown of Slaves” is a wonderful embellishment of the ‘smaller’ but no less infamous characters of the Honorverse and I for one loved it. The truly convincing characterisation and witty bantering humour that marks Weber as an exceptional writer of the Sci-Fi genre are present as always, and lighten the otherwise grim but spectacular space-warfare and devious intrigue flavoured by Eric Flint. Take one Captain Anton Zilwicki, ex-spook, the spy wannabe (Ruth) who also happens to be the daughter of the Queen's sister-in-law Judith Winton and Ruth’s partner in crime (pun intended) the body double in the form of Berry Zilwicki. Add Cathy Montaigne’s foul language and political savvy. Political minefields in the systems Erewhon and the Solarian League. Snippets into Virginia (Ginny) and Kevin Usher’s own sly agendas, with their notorious friend, the ruthless Victor Cachat on the ball. Add the slave extremists, the Audubon Ballroom, the assassin, Jeremy X into the mix and you get one hell of a book. I’m not going to tell you more because that would spoil the fun of it – but it’s definitely NOT one to miss!!!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 October 2006
Set in the same Universe and timeframe as David Weber's "Honor Harrington" novels, sometimes nicknamed the "Honorverse." The events take place at approximately the same time as the early chapters of "War of Honor."

If you have not read any of the other books in the series: this novel is set in the far future and is the story of how men and women from planets who are normally bitter enemies - indeed, technically at war with one another - collaborate against an unholy alliance of terrorist religious extremists, and corrupt corporations profiteering from a vile form of slavery and who are rich enough to buy governments.

If you are familiar with the rest of the series, be aware that this books has several differences from them.

With the most recent group of short stories and novels in the "Honorverse" Weber and his collaborators seem to be establishing three groups of characters and storylines, which they are all linked in a reasonably consistent manner into one history.

There is the main sequence featuring Honor Harrington herself, in which the first novel, and the best one to start with, is "On Basilisk Station." The most recent novels in the main sequence are "War of Honor" and "At All Costs." There is a "next generation" sequence featuring some younger officers in the Haven and Manticoran navies such as Helen Zilwicki and Abigail Hearns. And there is a series of spy stories, in which "Crown of Slaves" is the first full length novel. Honor Harrington does get a cameo part in the book, but the central figures are Anton Zilwicki, his adopted daughter Berry, Princess Ruth Winton, and the Havenite agent Victor Cachat.

The first main difference between "Crown of Slaves" and most of the other books in the Honorverse is that the main enemy is the genetic slavers, the companies who traffic in slaves (particularly Manpower) and the governments they have bought. Agents from Manticore and Grayson are practically allied with agents from Haven against the slavers, despite the fact that their countries are involved in a very bitter war. Hence Manticorans such as Anton Zilwicki can and do make common cause with Victor Cachat, the star agent of Haven's Federal Intelligence Service.

The second main difference is that the book is about espionage, politics, counter-terrorism and revolt rather than space battles. The only Manticoran naval officer who gets to fight a space battle is Captain Oversteegen, who despite being a cousin of the Manticoran Prime Minister, Baron High Ridge, has a mind of his own.

This is a well-written story, with a lot of excitement, a rather convoluted but clever plot, and interesting heroes and heroines, although the "bad guys" are sometimes so cartoonishly evil that they are a little hard to believe.

If you read the other "Honorverse" books purely for the space battles, leave this one alone. If you like the intrigue and the characters, you'll probably like this book.

If you have not read any of the Honorverse books, but like stories of
intrigue and revolt in the far future - think Aeon Flux but slightly more cerebral and plausible - you may well enjoy it.
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on 7 February 2005
Huge lumps of exposition and a large cast marr this slowing it down to the extent that you notice how unlikely this adventure tale really is. The over fussiness with which Flint and Webber characterise the various political groupings presumably so they dont tread on each others personal politics does not help much. Its a Space opera for goodness sakes.
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David Weber has made quite a name for himself in recent years with his 'honorverse' novels. Set in the future far out in space, these are basically horatio hornblower in space, as heroic space navy captains fight dastardly enemies.

The universe is a pretty intriguing creation, and has gotten large enough now that supporting characters can go off and have tales of their own. And that's what we have here, as several head off to a space station on diplomatic missions, and come into contact with a nasty band of slave traders.

There are some fascinating characters here, not least victor, an ultra loyal spy who is very good at his work, and thandi, a tough earth marine who is looking for love. But the book takes over one hundred pages to get going, being bogged down in all the minutae that diplomatic stuff requires.

And at seven hundred pages, it's just a bit too long. There are some good action moments in the middle, and some of the character relationships are quite appealing, but there's also an annoying sense of boy's own adventure about it. 'Let's all band together and have a go at those nasty slavers'. And that's what pretty much happens.

Quite a decent read, but would have been better if it was shorter.
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on 7 January 2016
Good Read not up to the same level of enjoyment as a straight forward Honor book.
There is a lot of characters to get in your head. I have to be honest I wonder what the proportion of the book was David and how much the other.
Please dont get me wrong it is a good read a bit more raw and brutal than usual and a pleasure to encounter some of the old characters from the honor verse
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on 2 November 2006
This is a fabulous story, with great characters and a wonderful story line. Mr Weber manages to combine some well known characters - more developed and moving forward - with some truly delightful new ones. We all need a litle bit of Thandi in our lives!!! The plot is full of humour and zest - reminicsent of the "Honor" series at the beginning. he complications come thick and fast, and the characters are ones it is easy to feel for. The humour too is easy on the ear - and with those flashes of exasperation that we all feel when one of our friends of family decline to "follow the plan" SO believable. I look forward to seeing how it all goes. Please Please let us have some more!!!!
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on 26 April 2015
Difficult to imagine how such a convoluted set of circumstances could be directed to free a planet dedicated to cloning slaves. Nonetheless the major participants play their parts remarkably well, all excellently accounted for in the author's familiar style - a really good read!!
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on 27 November 2011
The start of the "Torch" series in the Honorverse, this novel concentrates on the previously unexplored (in story) Erewhonese Sector and especially the Mesan-owned planet of Verdant Vista. In particular, it features Victor Cachat, the Havenite super agent and his Manticoran equivilent, Anton Zilwicki. But despite the fact they're on opposite sides, they actually are more concerned with opposing Mesa so they come to ultimately work to the same ends in setting up a new Kingdom of Torch.

There's a lot more to it than just the politics though and actually Anton disppears for about half the book (it mainly focuses on his daughter, Berry). Unlike the main series, it isn't focused on the military (in fact I was wondering if they were ever going to get round to liberating "Torch" as I'd read books which occurred later where we know Berry Zilwicki is Queen of Torch). On the other hand, as Verdant Vista/Torch is a slave world, it isn't that hard to see how a guerilla attack on the capital could overthrow the slave masters - they're already massively outnumbered. We also get a first look at a Solarian Good Guy, Admiral Rozsak who heroically faces down the Mesan Navy when they attempt to retake Torch, pointing out that under the Solarian Constitution, slavery is illegal and so therefore he's honour bound to protect Torch from a bunch of slaveholders (a fact which most other Sollies are quite happy to ignore).

Overall, a decent start to a new series.
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on 20 July 2008
I have read a lot of Weber and Flint books and for the most part found them very enjoyable. I expected the same here and was unfortunately very disappointed.

I expected the normal space opera, lots of action, based on my previous experience of weber's honourverse books.

There is very little action at all in this book and this took until chapter 22 (circa page 300+) to finally happen. And out of some 500 pages this was is way too long into the book for me.

The book (imho) is way too padded and wordy, with the plot contrived and unrealistic.

Thankfully I only borrowed this book and didnt waste my money.
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