Top positive review
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Imaginative and captivating (SPOILERS for book 1 AND 2)
on 1 January 2010
I didn't discover David Weber's books until last year, but now, having read the first four Honor Harington books and the first two Safehold books, he is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.
By Schism Rent Asunder is a slower-paced novel than Off Armageddon Reef, as this book looks at the aftermath of Charis' overwhelming victory over the combined fleets of several other nations, and the problems this victory causes for both the Church AND Charis. It looks at the political machinations of the world of Safehold, and the precipice that the entire world finds itself on the edge of, with a huge war looming. Both sides are looking to establish their positions ahead of what they know is a showdown that will not only lead to victory in military terms but in terms of society and influence- in many senses, this book is about the build-up toward the Battle for Safehold's soul.
The central (and perhaps most important) character of this book is King Cayleb, who is bullish, determined and prepared to take risks, so long as the gains are worthwhile. Merlin takes a back-seat for the most part, with many of the ideas and daring tactics being developed by the Charisians themselves.
In terms of a good read, I really liked this book, as we have now moved away from the business of establishing character traits and the characters can now develop and move forward. We see more of Cayleb's youthful enthusiasm. We see more of Clythan's ruthlessness and hyprocrisy. We see a world that is boiling over with tension and fear as the inevitable clash approaches. It is very much a build-up story, one which up's the stakes ahead of what must be a confrontration in book 3, which I cannot wait to read!
My only slight niggle is that sometimes Weber goes into a lot of detail about the technology- a lot more detail than is necessary. It's fine if you have a love of classic naval warfare, but if you don't, you might find yourself glossing over those scenes a bit. Still, it's a good book and one I would recommend!