A Rising Thunder by David Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A Rising Thunder by David Weber (Honor Harrington novel#13)
This novel is a major turning point in the series and I would only recommend this to someone who has read all of the other 12 before this. There is a lot that is absorbed in the other novels that is taken into play in this one and it can be a bit confusing or even drag the reader down if they are not up to speed. I tried reading this before I'd remembered that there were two novels in-between which I'd not yet gotten hold of. I found it bogged me down a bit trying to get into the novel for a number of reasons.
It takes quite a while before you see Honor. There are a lot of changes in players in those two preceding novels. There are several subplots that are concentrated into those two missing novels. There is a lot of world building that has happened throughout and this is one of the few of the more recent books where David Weber has spent less time rehashing old world building. Some of this is good, but I found I needed to at least go back and read the two novels I had missed and that's how I ended up reading the whole series over.
A Rising Thunder reminds me more of a Tom Clancy or even a Robert Ludlum thriller more than it does your typical Science Fiction. This is something that has been building in the series as it has been growing. We move from a heavy military SF to a military political thriller SF to Something that becomes almost a blend of Soft and Hard SF which includes all sorts of political social psychological economical and military elements blended with the Science.
Is it really possible that Haven and Manticore can bury the hatchet and face this new bio-tech threat while wagging a new war against the Solarian League. More important though is; can they recover quick enough to unveil the greater Mesan threat. How much more strain can Manticore take before they lose the edge of being the possible cosmic glue that will bring all of the star kingdoms together?
A Rising Thunder is focused on the world building of the Solar League. We see a pattern developing here and we'll have to wait and see how many more novels it takes to confirm the pattern. Manticore manages to have a war against a another kingdom and they seem to decide victory and defeat almost by which side is the most incompetent. While we also see the balance being adjusted for military leaders who are competent facing each other in battle because of the political incompetence. There's always a fudge factor of a few bad men in the military. And this is what we begin to see in the Solar League in this novel.
As a sub plot we have the building power of Mesa and the growing threat they are to everyone. The question is how will David Weber move all the elements around by the time the Mesa begin to make their move and what kind of terrible battle with that bring.
A Rising Thunder is a bridge novel between the Haven conflict and the Solar League cold war and is in many ways a bit tame compared to the last two novels, yet it is packed with enough Suspense Thrills and Intrigues to keep the reader interested. It's possible that anyone who likes the more political and diplomatic end of conflict might be able to read this without much lead-in but to really appreciate it I think the reader has to know all the players and understand the past conflicts and present political climate to fully appreciate the whole.
David Weber is definitely setting the bar for this type of Military/Political Procedural Science Fiction.
I recommend this for all SFF fans, but again with the recommendation of reading the previous twelve books.
After battling through the 12 I somehow subjectively found this novel somewhat superior in its relative simplicity.
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