Field of Dishonor by David Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Field of Dishonor by David Weber
This is one of my favorites and in a way it's for the reasons that ten percent of the readers dislike this one. It might be the fact that David Weber had three sure books assigned to write that led to this one or it might be that he wanted the springboard for the next couple of novels. Whichever way it might be; this one shows up almost as an experiment to see how well Honor stands without the great battle scenes at the end.
The book starts out with a long setup toward the court-martial of Pavel Young, which is a rehash of everything that happened pretty much in the last half of the half of the book prior to this: "A Short Victorious War", which is the part concerning Honor. This is all a setup for all of the political posturing that's going to occur soon.
So as with all his books, which seem like 50% Honor story 33% political posturing 17% war and instruments of war. This one cuts it 50 50 with Honor and politics. There is no great battle between ships at the end and not much talk of the armament.
What there is is an in-depth look at the characters as they are stuck in the mired political landscape. This time we get a clearer picture of the devotion all the people around Honor have for their captain.
This book can be frustrating especially to anyone skimming the pages of the previous three because there have been some political and cultural references to the story building that are peppered through those like some inane meaningless drivel that are now going to be pivotal to things that happen in this book in the world of Honor. Things the reader might have missed.
Questions of motivation and proper decorum within the universe are possibly raised here that might seem to upend everything, but it's not like you haven't been warned; if you've been able to stay awake through those passages.
That aside what hooks me with this novel is the fact that it's the one of all four so far that has moved me to feel something. Halfway through the book when politics interferes with justice and inevitable tragedy is visited on Honor there are several key scenes that struck me with some emotional impact not only garnering feelings for Honor but also those around her who want to protect her. As I've mentioned before it seems that the character building that David Weber does is more invested in the picture we receive from other characters and how they see Honor and I think that holds true for many of the main characters. I believe that might be one thing that throws people off if they are looking for the actions and narrative around the character to give them the full description. The character development is there, but the reader has to work a bit to squeeze it out of the story.
As I've mentioned, what is missing from this one is all that techno-babel that drives the other three and that's because the battle to be won is not a ship board battle. There is a lot of legalize and probably more of Honor than we see in the other books. And this is the build up for the next few novels setting the stage for where Honor will be and why.
This is again good for the SFF fan but not so much the military science fiction as it is the political. Anyone picking this one up as the first read of an Honor Harrington novel who likes space battles, is going to be disappointed. Start with On Baslisk Station.
View all my reviews