My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The plot of this book was a political and military shell game. It was a necessary step in setting up the next book in the series, but it wasn’t my favourite, I won’t lie. Still, I enjoyed Weber’s political and military maneuvering from the POV of his characters. Honor Harrington fans will probably want to treat this like the prelude to the next book and read them sequentially as I have done; otherwise this will feel like a lot of setup with little action. For those of you who are following the series, the political and military situation entirely changes at this point, not necessarily with the results you expect.
A point of note, however; the character of Honor Harrington is fleshed out considerably in this book in a way that I like. Honor Harrington is an exceptionally competent Navy officer, a warrior, and an outstanding commander and not-bad diplomat; but she is also a *girl*. By this I mean that unlike many sci-fi tropes, she does not lose her femininity by being a military officer; nor her “militariness” by being feminine. It’s refreshing and I like the character very much. I also like the fact that I think that Weber basically flips a coin to decide whether a particular new character he is going to introduce in the Manticoran Navy is going to be male or female, rather than letting the position decide gender (for instance, Honor’s XOs are just as likely to be female as male, and so are her tactical officers, Marines, and so forth.)
Recommended to fans of military fiction, Navy fiction, and space opera everywhere.