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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

David Weber's Shadow of Freedom and a June detailed interview with him in Poland (with comments by Liviu Suciu)


Now that Shadow of Freedom has been released in earc form to the public and I have already read it three times and gone through earlier Honorverse novels and novellas that connect to it, the usual conundrum about when to talk about it in detail here asserted itself (now when I am really excited about the book or next year in late February when the final book is out and for me it is old news as I am looking forward to the new installments including the first companion volume, House of Steel, and the projected 6th anthology in addition to the new novels). 

So in a compromise, I will present my short thoughts now and a more complete review next year. No real spoilers for Shadow of Freedom, but of course spoilers galore for the series to date...

"Moreover, Mesa couldn’t manipulate the League into such actions if the League weren’t already primed for them and corrupt enough to find them a comfortable fit.”

This quote from Shadow of Freedom ties in with the thoughts of David Weber about how the Honorverse would have looked like without the Alignment manipulations as expressed in the interview below (Part IV) and is one of the really cool tidbits you will find there,

Early thoughts:  Shadow of Freedom
 
- length, yes very short; I discount David Weber's books to about 2/3 size due to repetitions and the info dumps (here there is a Detweiler chapter c/p from earlier work with a few crucial words added but also some other stuff that is c/p and is less interesting like the full chapter 6 which really could have been skipped), so the book at about 420 pages felt like an under 300 page one, but those ~300 pages were really, really good, better than 4-500 pages from almost anyone else.

- lots of new beginnings and new characters which I actually like; gives one the idea of both how big the Solarian League and its "protectorates" are and why the series will last another 10 novels or more and this is again a huge positive for me.

- lots of great moments both funny and sad; the desperate resistance movements and the "now we have stopped trying to get you to see reason and it's five minutes to abandon your ships or die" were highlights, but the most I enjoyed the last part with the two "rats" and their escape attempt(s) and the:

 "Of course, at the moment I haven’t found anything that wasn’t your fault, but I’m sure if we keep looking long enough we’ll find someone else who screwed up almost as egregiously as you guys" 

which is another Weberian quote for the ages.

Another great quote was when they were asking Helen about the Mesan allegation that her father blew up Green Pines with a nuke (can read it all as this stuff is chapter 3 which is available in the sample) and after giving the usual reasons why she does not believe it, she ends with the unforgettable:

 "if he was in a city-killing mode..., trust me, the hole would’ve been a hell of a lot deeper!”

 Overall Shadow of Freedom is an excellent series installment, it will be a top 25 of mine for 2013 and the book will become even better when the next few books are released and we will be able to appreciate the subtler touches even better.

For example it pays going back and reading the first few chapters of The Shadow of Saganami and reflecting on the fates (to date of course) of the eight participants at the (in)famous meeting from chapter 5 ( just as a refresher they were: Commissioner Verrochio, the Solarian sector governor of Madras, a multi-system, Verge protectorate of the SL, vice-commissioner Hongbo, Aldona Anisimovna and Isabel Bardassano, high powered - though of course how high we had no clue at the time - agents of Mesa, Brigadier General Francisca Yurcel, the chief enforcer of Verocchio, Valery Ottweiler, the Mesan government representative, trillionaire magnate Kalokainos of Earth and major weapons dealer Levakonic of the Solarian League's major multistellar Technodyne Inc) or to the (very ironic in retrospect) paragraphs from just before that part, at the end of chapter 4 form the same book!

"Maybe you're right, Terence," he sighed. "We've got to prioritize somehow, and Earl White Haven's been as clear about that as anyone could ask. First, the front and our main combat formations. Second, the integration of our share of Silesia into the Star Kingdom. Third, commerce protection. And Talbott comes fourth. Not because it's unimportant, but because it's less important—or at least less vital—than the others . . . and so much less likely to turn around and bite us on the ass. At least everyone there got to vote on their future!"

And, Terence Shaw added silently, whether the Government wants to admit it publicly or not, Talbott isn't going to be a matter of life or death for the Star Kingdom, whatever happens there. I hope. 
Cortez sat drumming on his desk with his fingers for a moment, then shrugged.

"All right. I'm still not entirely happy about it, but someone has to draw the Talbott duty, and Lord knows they need at least a few modern ships on the station, whatever happens. And Khumalo does need someone with diplomatic experience who can also help him think unconventionally. And maybe you're right. Maybe Terekhov really does need—or deserve, at least—the opportunity to get back up on the horse on a fairly quiet station."


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Here are the interview videos with a quick summary for each from my recollections - all worth watching of course

Part I (general stuff, thoughts on the new publishing landscape, tidbits about Safehold and the Honorverse - including the usual stuff about the original ending of At All Costs and the gradual revelations of the Alignment versus how the books turned out and what this means for the future, while regarding Safehold, noting how the original plan was book 1, Haarahld and galleons, book 2, Cayleb and battleships, book 3, Queen Naimu and aircraft carriers, and why this would not have worked)



 Part II (details about Safehold - 2,3  more books about current war, 3-4 books about the revelations from Charis and then dealing with Gbaba - details about the Honorverse)



Part III (details about Bazhell, current and future - one more book in the current arc, five book series to follow and conclude)



Part IV (details about the movie and the future of his other series - he hopes to solve the conundrum about Multiverse and collaborator's Linda Evans health issues that slowed the series down and have volume 3 out in the next 2-3 years, plans for more Path of the fury and Dahak books...; also the state of Prince Roger's series and how DW and John Ringo met and plotted the trilogy that will bring a good closure to the series with of course more to come if wanted/needed.

 More tidbits including his view of how the Honorverse would have evolved without the Alignment manipulations, view that is shown clearly in the quote above from Shadow of Freedom and more interesting stuff - some will be familiar if you follow DW's posts as "runsforcelery" on the DW forums, but new stuff too at least for me)




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