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
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