Surly Curmudgeon

   The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
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    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Honor Harrington Spinoffs

    OK, I've officially read (I think) everything currently in print.

    Crown of Slaves: The wife thinks it's the best in the bunch (she hasn't read Shadow of Saganami or At All Costs yet). I certainly believe it's a good one, and possibly the best of the ones that highlight personal combat as opposed to naval combat. Though the ones with Honor's two major duels, Field of Dishonor and Flag in Exile, are pretty strong contenders.

    Anyway, Crown of Slaves picks up the story of Anton Zilwicki and adopted daughter Berry (short story "From the Highlands"), and fills in some of the background on Erewhon's split from the Manticoran Alliance. There is a bewildering array of characters, including Victor Cachat and new character Thandi Palane, who is sure to be a crowd favorite. Honor is a genetically enhanced human. Scrags are probably one step beyond Honor. Thandi Palane is probably 2 steps past the Scrags. This chick kicks butt.

    Anyway, this book is the first major blow in what is becoming a buildup to a war between Manticore (and possibly Haven) and the Mesa/Manpower genetic slavery cartel. There is plenty of "wet work" going on, and the freed genetic slaves of the Audubon Ballroom figure heavily into it.

    Shadow of Saganami picks up with Zilwicki's natural daughter Helen as she leaves the naval academy at Saganami Island and takes her middy cruise in the newly discovered Talbott Cluster (see War of Honor). It has the overall feel of On Basilisk Station in terms of plot development, with a conspiracy operating against Manticoran interests waiting to be discovered by the protagonists, and a slow buildup to an explosive resolution. It is chronologically after Crown of Slaves, and several references are made to the events of that book.

    Both books are excellent, and set the stage for some of the subplots of At All Costs, to a degree that it's a mistake not to read both of these before that one. In terms of how to read the end of the series, one should probably follow this order:

    Ashes of Victory
    "From the Highlands" short story from Changer of Worlds
    "Fanatic" short story from The Service of the Sword
    "Service of the Sword" short story from The Service of the Sword
    War of Honor
    Crown of Slaves
    Shadow of Saganami
    At All Costs

    I'd like to note that these last 4 books tell us that Weber has a ton more storytelling to do, if he ever gets around to doing it. The Mesa/Manpower problem is far from resolved, and it's looking as though the Sollies will probably begin figuring heavily into future plots as well.

    Posted by Tom, 9/14/2006 6:46:04 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...