Uncompromising Honor: The Best Honor Harrington Book? (No Spoilers)

Parson

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Uncompromising Honor: The Best Honor Harrington Book?

David Weber’s Uncompromising Honor is the best Honor Harrington book in twenty years. It is possibly the best Honor Harrington book of all. Personally, I would still favor the original four, Honor Harrington on Basilisk Station, For the Honor of the Queen, The Short Victorious War and Field of Dishonor (my personal favorite). But as I read all of those books in less than a two-week period and I was still getting to know the universe, it might not be a fair comparison. Over all, Uncompromising Honor at least belongs in this discussion. It is certainly the best installment at the end of a long, series that I know. (Nineteen books depending on how you count what belongs and what doesn’t belong in this series.)

There is much to like in this book.

First, this book focuses on the main characters of the series and there is no one more central to the story than Honor Harrington. In many of the later books in this series the focus on Honor was more as the key background figure, but not the one most focused upon.

Second, this book does not suffer from what I consider to be David Weber’s most serious flaws. It is not bloated, although it does come in at a healthy 773 pages of fairly large print in the hard cover addition. Also, this book does not suffer from information overload. Many of David Weber’s books spend more time than is necessary to explain the science or the background of a political movement.

Third, and very importantly, there is a very real, very believable, and very satisfying ending to this book. It might mark the end of the series. David does leave the door open for something down the road, but I get the sense that it won’t be soon and that David Weber will have to live quite a long time before it gets written and published.

Fourth, there are new developments in the background of the story. There are new revelations about treecats and even about Honor herself that will leave Weber’s fans shaking their heads and muttering: “I didn’t see that coming!”

Fifth, in this novel Weber once again gives me one of the things I find most appealing in any book. He writes about characters who are fully aware of what their honor and duty will cost them, and willing pay that price anyway. In this book, like Weber’s others, this trait is recognized and respected by many people.

Since there is no such thing as a perfect novel, there a few things that might detract from your pleasure in reading this book, especially if you have been reading this series for years.

First, Weber is justifiably famous for his long, driving, gut wrenching battle scenes at the end of his best novels. This novel does not have this kind of scene at the end and might therefore seem a little lacking. It does have a wonderful battle in an ancillary story in the middle stages of the book.

Second, the “sollies” seem even more thoroughly out classed by the Manticore Navy in this book than in the previous books. This does not come because of some new developments but rather using their better tech to maximum advantage. This left me wondering why the series hadn’t ended in an earlier volume.

The first-time reader of this book who has not read the rest of the series should know that although this book stands very well on its own, knowing what goes on before is very helpful to getting the full satisfaction that this well written story delivers. I would guess that a reader to this book alone will be shocked and confused by some of the relationships and technology in this book that seem to come out of left field if you haven’t read the earlier volumes.

Highly Recommended. Five Stars

Uncompromising Honor.jpg
 

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tobl

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#3
i'm reading… and i have to say… good book? yes. the better in 20 years? not so far. Maybe when i end it
 

Ursa major

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Two questions....
  1. I know it isan't April, but I need to be sure that this isn't a joke. So here's my question (which only requires one of three answers (so no spoilers): Yes, No or Near Enough): Is the main story arc of the central series of books brought to a satisfactory end in this book.
  2. Which are the books in the "Nineteen books" you mention. Obviously the fourteen (including Uncompromising Honor) in the Honor Harrington series are in the list, but what do you consider to be the other five books?

Please note that I didn't read any further than the second paragraph (in order not to see anything I wouldn't want to see), so apologies if you've covered this later in your post.
 

Al Jackson

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Have never read any of these, too much to read. From the outside looks like David Weber is a big fan of Horatio Hornblower , Patrick O'Brian and Dominic Flandry.
 

pyan

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Two questions....
Is the main story arc of the central series of books brought to a satisfactory end in this book?.
Parson may disagree, but in my opinion: Yes. Oh yes. (y)

Which are the books in the "Nineteen books" you mention? Obviously the fourteen (including Uncompromising Honor) in the Honor Harrington series are in the list, but what do you consider to be the other five books?
I make it seven, not five: the Crown of Slaves trilogy (Crown of Slaves, Torch of Freedom and Cauldron of Ghosts), and the Saganami Island quartet (The Shadow of Saganami, Storm from the Shadows, Shadow of Freedom and Shadow of Victory). I'm not sure which of these Parson isn't counting...

Al Jackson said:
Have never read any of these, too much to read.
Nonsense, man - it's only about 5m words! You could knock most of them off in a week or so, if you didn't bother with non-essentials like sleeping, etc... :giggle:
 

Ursa major

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#7
Excellent! :)
I make it seven, not five: the Crown of Slaves trilogy (Crown of Slaves, Torch of Freedom and Cauldron of Ghosts), and the Saganami Island quartet (The Shadow of Saganami, Storm from the Shadows, Shadow of Freedom and Shadow of Victory). I'm not sure which of these Parson isn't counting...
Thanks. :)

Given this, in what order should I read these other books?

Note: If I recall correctly (o_O), I haven't yet read A Rising Thunder**, but have read all the earlier core novels.


** - I seem to recollect reading a scene that I was sure I'd read before, so thought, given that the main story arc was not going to be completed in that book, that I'd stop reading. (In my defence, I'd read all the books one after the other over a relatively short period -- about 3 days per book, I think -- so in any case needed a rest.)
 

pyan

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Excellent! :)
Thanks. :)
Given this, in what order should I read these other books?
Yes, well...

The thing is that these two arcs don't really advance the mainstream story much at all - they're an expansion of things that are referred to, sometimes quite briefly, in the main HH storyline, and usually run concurrently with the main sequence novels. Characters who only pop in and out of the HH novels have their stories told at length, and the main sequence characters often appear for a few pages in the two side-arc sequences and then disappear to blow entire fleets into dust-bunnies, or get married or something.
Because of this, I'd be reluctant to advise on reading order - I read both the side-arcs (without an HH book in between or during) after being as up-to-date as I could be in the main story, and honestly, it made no real difference. The only thing that did annoy me was the inclusion of entire chapters of the main books inserted into the side-arcs - I can only think that DW decided that there was no improvement to be made on that portion of the story, so just cut-and-pasted that chapter. To be fair, he does apologise for this somewhere in an introduction...

If you really want to stay chronologically accurate, you can use this:

HH stories in chronological order

But to do it strictly, you not only need the main HH stories, the Saganami Island books and the Crown of Slaves trilogy, but also the six novella/short story anthologies (More Than Honor, Worlds of Honor, Changer of Worlds, The Service of the Sword, In Fire Forged and Beginnings). I'd also recommend House of Steel: The Honorverse Companion, if only to help keep things straight...
 

Parson

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#9
Two questions....
  1. I know it isan't April, but I need to be sure that this isn't a joke. So here's my question (which only requires one of three answers (so no spoilers): Yes, No or Near Enough): Is the main story arc of the central series of books brought to a satisfactory end in this book.
I want to yes. I can't quite say it as unequivocally as Pyan, but "Near Enough."

Which are the books in the "Nineteen books" you mention. Obviously the fourteen (including Uncompromising Honor) in the Honor Harrington series are in the list, but what do you consider to be the other five books?
I am going by the list given inside cover of the book. I will put an asterisk behind those which I think are NOT the core story, but even the Honorverse books edited by David Weber make some significant additions to the story line and Weber does not count these as Central.

On Basilisk Station, The Honor of the Queen, The Short Victorious War, Field of Dishonor, Flag in Exile, Honor Among Enemies, In Enemy Hands, Echoes of Honor, Ashes of Victory, War of Honor, Crown of Slaves*, The Shadow of Saganami*, At All Costs, Storm from the Shadows*, Torch of Freedom*, Mission of Honor, A Rising Thunder, Shadow of Freedom*, Cauldron of Ghosts*, Shadow of Victory* and Uncompromising Honor.
Have never read any of these, too much to read. From the outside looks like David Weber is a big fan of Horatio Hornblower , Patrick O'Brian and Dominic Flandry.
Weber has made no secret about shaping these stories in the style of the Horatio Hornbower series. In fact in the "Afterword" he states that Honor Harrington's initials are because of Hornblower.
 
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tobl

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#10
does it end the story arc?
sort of
the best book in 20 years?
i don't think so. good, yes but the best? no
hope for some continuation
 

Al Jackson

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I want to yes. I can't quite say it as unequivocally as Pyan, but "Near Enough."


Weber has made no secret about shaping these stories in the style of the Horatio Hornbower series. In fact in the "Afterword" he states that Honor Harrington's initials are because of Hornblower.
You know the BBC started a Hornblower TV series but it lasted only one season , I am surprised , it was very good and the whole series of novels is a good story.
The O'Brian Aubrey–Maturin series is even better than the Forrester novels, Peter Weir made the best 19 century 'sailing ship' movie I have ever seen out of one of O'Brian's novels , Master and Commander, great!, alas it did not do super box office , so no more of that.
As far as I know no one has ever considered Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry super classy space opera series for film or TV.
 

Parson

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As I live in the "colonies" I do not see BBC TV. I had no idea that there was a Hornblower TV series. I did see "Master and Commander" but I felt it was one of those movies whose fans had painted such a wonderful picture of the movie, that the movie did not live up to my expectations.

Surprisingly, I do not know of Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry series. I will go have a look at them.

Thanks
 

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I shall be picking this up at some time and I must say it is encouraging to hear it seems to be a return to form for Weber.

Have never read any of these, too much to read. From the outside looks like David Weber is a big fan of Horatio Hornblower , Patrick O'Brian and Dominic Flandry.
As I recall the first Honor book is dedicated to C S Forester. Not sure I'd compare it to Flandry though. @Parson, I'd warn that personally I have found the Flandry books to be in the lower echelons of the pulp SF period. A very long way from Anderson's best. However I know others here would disagree with that view.
 

Parson

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@Vertigo --- I had a look and I thought that they were rated poorly; usually about 3.5 out of 5 and that usually means that something is seriously lacking in the book.
 

Al Jackson

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As I live in the "colonies" I do not see BBC TV. I had no idea that there was a Hornblower TV series. I did see "Master and Commander" but I felt it was one of those movies whose fans had painted such a wonderful picture of the movie, that the movie did not live up to my expectations.

Surprisingly, I do not know of Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry series. I will go have a look at them.

Thanks
I thought that PBS had run it but no it was A&E . It was a mini-series of 8 films produced by ITV. They only got through 3 of the Forrester novels. It ran from 1998 to 2003 doing like two movies a year but there were breaks.
Production values were HBO level, it was a good series. Alas cost benefit ratio was not in its favor so it was canceled.
I like the idea of following a man's career , Sharpe is a story that they sort of completed. So I liked the Hornblower series.
I like the Aubrey–Maturin series Patrick O'Brian series better , it's pitched at a more sophisticated level.

Now Poul Anderson wrote better science fiction but for flat out refined space opera (that step beyond Star Trek) I know of no better than Dominic Flandry.
Similar military SF is in the Childe Cycle by Gordon Dickenson and Card's Ender series.
Have always wondered what kind of story could have been made out of Juan Rico's career from Star Ship Troopers.
 

Parson

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Similar military SF is in the Childe Cycle by Gordon Dickenson and Card's Ender series.
Have always wondered what kind of story could have been made out of Juan Rico's career from Star Ship Troopers.
Well now Childe Cycle and the Ender series are pretty high comparisons. I thought the first 3 of the Ender series are about as good as it gets in series. After that, not so much. I'll think about giving them a try despite their less than stellar (pun intended) reviews.
 

Al Jackson

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Well now Childe Cycle and the Ender series are pretty high comparisons. I thought the first 3 of the Ender series are about as good as it gets in series. After that, not so much. I'll think about giving them a try despite their less than stellar (pun intended) reviews.
I like Ender's Game, tho I think as military science fiction Star Ship Troopers and The Forever War are better.
 

Al Jackson

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#18
@Vertigo --- I had a look and I thought that they were rated poorly; usually about 3.5 out of 5 and that usually means that something is seriously lacking in the book.
I don't remember Dominic Flandry or any of the 'Technic' series being badly rated, they are high space opera , like I said pitched beyond Star Trek level. Never heard that before.
 

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