David Weber's New York Times bestselling Safehold series of military Science Fiction adventure, which began with Off Armageddon Reef, continues with Midst Toil and Tribulation
WAR AND FAMINE
Once the Church of God Awaiting dominated all the kingdoms of Safehold. Then, after centuries of stasis, the island kingdom of Charis began to defy the edicts of Mother Church-egged on, some say, by the mysterious warrior-monk Merlin Athrawes, who enjoys the Charisian royal family's absolute trust.
What vanishingly few people know is that Merlin is the cybernetic avatar of a young woman a thousand years dead, felled in the war in which aliens destroyed Earth...and that since awakening, his task has been to restart the history of the long-hidden human race.
Now, reeling from the wars and intrigues that have cascaded from Charis's declaration of independence, the Republic of Siddermark slides into chaos. The Church has engineered a rebellion, and Siddermark's all-important harvest is at risk. King Cayleb and Queen Sharleyan struggle to stabilize their ally, which will mean sending troops-but, even more importantly, preventing famine. For mass starvation in Safehold's breadbasket is a threat even more ominous than civil war...
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Customer ReviewsSee All
I'm just sorry he can't write as quickly as I read; I hate having to wait so long to get caught up with old friends. Mr. Weber's good characters are always very, very good, and his bad ones are very, very bad. Notwithstanding, he develops some complex personalities and deals with complex relationships and political and religious issues with great insight. The series operates on a scale that is tough for me to follow, and I often concentrate on the characters for that reason. (With so many of them, doing so is enough of a challenge.) Since I was reading the electronic version, the maps were of less use than in a paper version. Having said that, I can't wait for the next installment!
This is the sixth book in the safehold series, which began with Off Armageddon Reef. That first book was excellent; a book I enjoyed very much. This book, however, is incredibly disappointing. I have a number of complaints:
1. It is unbelievably boring. If you like reading a chapter where two minor characters spend 15 pages talking about how to make a new slight improvement in firearms or other military technology, then perhaps you'll like this book. Seriously, where are the editors? At least half of these pages could be completely eliminated. The content of those pages could be briefly summarized, thus allowing the story to flow more smoothly and be less boring. The level of detail is not necessary and often annoying throughout the book. There are entire chapters where 2 or 3 people just talk about cannons, rifles, or steam engines. Yes, I get it: they're learning how to reinvent stuff made on Earth long ago. Now let's move on and get to some battle scenes, the one place where the story is less boring. Although even the battle scenes are weak compared to Off Armageddon Reef.
2. There is way too much description of every single thought going through the minds of the characters in a given chapter. One character will ask a question, and the other character will think about it for several paragraphs before finally answering the question. By that time I've almost forgotten what the question was. One rule on writing: Show, don't tell.
3. The spelling of the characters' names is really irritating. It was a little odd in the first book, but by now I'm really annoyed at how every name is filled with z, w, or y. Just write Peter instead of Paytwr, for example. I mean, it can't be much fun for Weber himself to have to type these crazy names out all day when he's writing the book.
4. Minor spoiler at this point: there is almost no real plot advancement in the whole novel despite being 600 pages. This is the sixth book in the series, and at this point there will be at least 50 books by the time we even see characters in space ships fighting the Gbaba. I can't imagine Weber ever really finishing this series. And for these reasons this will be the last safehold book I buy.
5. Another issue is how there are hundreds of characters, the vast majority of whom are really minor. And with the horrible spelling of all the names it just makes it so hard to keep track of who is who. There is an index in the back to read about them, but it's just sad that such an index is even necessary. Furthermore, most characters are practically identical. They all have the habit of speaking ironically when talking to friends or colleagues. They all speak "dryly" to quote Weber, a word he uses several hundred times in the book. They joke around with ironic speech and then get all serious, and oftentimes use the same exact phrases as each other. It seems like lazy writing and a way to have really shallow characters.
In summary, I would not recommend this book. It's sad, because I have enjoyed many of Weber's other novels and this particular series started with promise, but this latest book is so bogged down with massive detail that the plot is going nowhere.
Weber weak sauce
The books keep getting longer and the story is told less and less. Pages and pages and pages of nothing. No plot advancement And only a thin grease of character of development. Yet another in the great lines of RR Martin style milk it for all it’s worth tripe. This is the last of my money and you will never get David. Telling a story for the sake of a good story should be the number one goal of an author. You used to know that. Shame on you.