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23 October 2007 @ 10:14 pm
 
Finished "War of Honor" late last week or over the weekend i think, now i'm on page 325 of 850 of "At All Costs." Time for more wild speculation and such that no one aside from steuard will care about! :)

So for just about everything i guessed at for "War of Honor" i was about half right. Even when i got a little further into the book and thought my first guess about something was wrong it wasn't, it was still half right, and since i thought it was wrong i made a new guess... which turned out to be half right :)

Speaking of which, clearly Manticore is supposed to represent Britain and Haven is supposed to be France, and the Anderman Empire is clearly supposed to be associated with Prussia/Germany. Obviously things have been mixed up a bit though to keep everything from being a direct one to one correspondence, and nowhere is this more obvious then when you have "Germany" and _"England"_ dividing "Poland," aka Silesia, between them. Unless there was similar deal between England and Prussia during the Napoleonic wars that i'm not aware of?

Anyways, so far there's two things i'm not especially pleased with in the new book. The clues about Honor getting pregnant were a little blatant, and it seemed a little soap opera-y. And initially at least i'm not liking the sudden introduction of evil corporation conspiracies. Up till now it's been all about nation-states and politics and military. This new thing seems a bit out of left field.

I do like that the Havenites have figured out what happened with the treaty process but aren't able to do anything about it because of political circumstances. It's probably just as frustrating as evil politicians manipulating others into doing their whims and/or the good guys being idiots, but i'm a lot more sympathetic towards them under these circumstances. I do wonder why the evil secret corporation was willing to use their nano machines to bring that about. We were told outright that they were used to kill of evil secretary's accomplice, which seems to indicate that his hacker friend is involved with the evil corporation, either that or they've got amazingly similar aims. However it wasn't clear if the same things were used to kill off the evil secretary himself or if that was an accident. It wasn't made clear and this seems to have furthered the evil corporations goals. However if they were going to do that why not just have him killed off in the first place? Using the nano machines twice seems like an unwarranted risk given how worried they were about exposing the method to possible scrutiny.

It seems like both sides agree that Manticore is rather hosed at the moment. The Havenites' LACs apparently aren't up to snuff anymore given the new Manty tactics, but they've still got a big lead on the super missile carriers, and they've got more tech coming down the pipeline soon. So the question is how _doesn't_ Manticore actually end up getting screwed? It's possibly that Honor's ongoing raids actually will force Haven to redistribute their forces and go off the offensive, but that doesn't seem quite dramatic enough. Other than that the only thing i can think of that would make a huge difference is if Honor somehow stumbled upon Bolthole and managed to destroy it. However that would be a _really_ big coincidence unless it was set up very well, and given Haven just did almost the exact same thing at Grendelbane it would be rather shocking if they hadn't bothered with some good defenses of their own at Bolthole.

I do wonder why, when the Havenites realized how well their "defense in depth" worked, they didn't gather up a few extra forces and attack Trevor's Star again. They clearly wouldn't have the element of surprise anymore, but the whole point of Thunderbolt was to see to it that the Manties didn't have enough units left to cover what they had, much less reinforce anywhere.

As for Honor's pregnancy and the surrounding issues the answer is pretty clear, and they've certainly hinted at it enough times. Honor and Hamish and Emily just need to jump over to Grayson and get married there. The Graysons wouldn't have any problem at all with Honor after that, and although their relationship would still be very gossip worthy on Manticore i don't think anyone could make it a political issue anymore given Grayson's place as Manticore's #1 ally and the nation that pulled Manticore's ass out of the fire at Trevor's Star less than a year earlier.

If they don't take such a simple and obvious way out of the dilemma then i'm going to be somewhat annoyed =P
 
 
Current Mood: geekygeeky
 
 
 
Steuardsteuard on October 24th, 2007 06:39 am (UTC)
Speaking of which, clearly Manticore is supposed to represent Britain and Haven is supposed to be France, and the Anderman Empire is clearly supposed to be associated with Prussia/Germany.
That's something that kinda bugged me for at least the first half of the series: it's uncomfortable to have such transparent historical parallels, especially in a universe where people are shown as still studying the historical period in question. (Side note: the person who introduced me to this series commented at the time that Honor practically is a duplication of the character "Horatio Hornblower" from C. S. Forester's novels written between 1937 and 1967.)
The clues about Honor getting pregnant were a little blatant, and it seemed a little soap opera-y.
Agreed; that's probably the main aspect of the book that I was impatient with as well. And jumping ahead a bit, I was boggling at the thought that they didn't all just hop over to Grayson right away myself.
And initially at least i'm not liking the sudden introduction of evil corporation conspiracies. Up till now it's been all about nation-states and politics and military. This new thing seems a bit out of left field.
Ah, I can see that you'd have that impression. In my reading (and this probably isn't a spoiler anymore now that you've reached this point), I'd already been getting hints of it or more for at least a short story and two novels (that you haven't read yet). I won't say a word about how things go in the rest of this book, but you've already observed that we're reaching a point where "good guys" are more or less in charge of both Manticore and Haven. So "story externally", you've got to figure that either one side or the other is in for enormously more upheaval and misery (to keep the war going for as many more books as Weber wants to write, but making them increasingly repetitive) or some new enemy needs to appear on the scene. The Andermani Empire doesn't seem likely to fill that role just now, and the Solarian League has been presented as totally overwhelming (and thus not good story material)... but only when taken as a whole.
I do like that the Havenites have figured out what happened with the treaty process but aren't able to do anything about it because of political circumstances. It's probably just as frustrating as evil politicians manipulating others into doing their whims and/or the good guys being idiots, but i'm a lot more sympathetic towards them under these circumstances.
That's actually something I really liked in this book, too: there's just as much tension and frustration as in the last one, but this time I can actually sympathize with both sides, and I could honestly hope that it would all work out.

Ok, enough commentary. Time for bed. :)
DonAithnendonaithnen on October 24th, 2007 01:34 pm (UTC)
"(Side note: the person who introduced me to this series commented at the time that Honor practically is a duplication of the character "Horatio Hornblower" from C. S. Forester's novels written between 1937 and 1967.)"

Yeah, i'd heard occasional comparisons between Honor and Horatio on the S.M. Stirling mailing list for at last the past year, usually in the context of "this is totally obvious to anyone with half a brain." Which of course about two or three books into the series drove me to read up about Horatio on wikipedia just to see how close the comparisons were. Which in turn made me not that surprised about the whole fake execution subplot, and not surprised at all when Honor and Hamish fell in love. Although i was kind of expecting Emily to die so that Honor and Hamish could then get married, especially since she already had health issues.

Speaking of S.M. Stirling i never responded earlier about "Island in the Sea of Time" did i? It's a book by (duh) S.M. Stirling that came out a few years before 1632 with a very similar basic premise, but much better written in my opinion. In this case the island of Nantucket ends up in the bronze age. (And stays in the same location, Grantsville popping over from the US to Germany or whatever always seemed a bit weird to me for some reason.)

And unlike the multi-author dozen book sprawl 1632 has turned into, the Nantucket series is limited to a single trilogy of books all by Stirling (which of course has its own downside.)

It also seemed to me to be a more serious attempt at the subject than 1632, although i _did_ like the aside at the beginning of 1632 about how a couple centuries later the humans go and track down the aliens that caused the event and kick their asses :)
DonAithnendonaithnen on October 25th, 2007 04:36 am (UTC)
Okay, i gotta say, this signing thing is starting to drive me a little nuts. I can't visualize what the hand gestures are actually supposed to be and even if i could i wouldn't know what they meant anyways, and overall the whole thing seems like a bunch of gibberish that he's wading through for no good effect. He just spent 19 lines describing Nimitz signing 6 letters and one number with a few other gestures which somehow translates into a complete sentence.

If he wasn't a professional author with a couple decades of experience under his belt i'd think that he _just_ learned sign language himself and was excited to share with the rest of us =P
DonAithnendonaithnen on October 25th, 2007 04:45 am (UTC)
And why do the Mesans want to assassinate Honor? At least i presume that's what the Lieutenant getting "accidentally" sprayed in the face with "air freshener" is going to turn out to be =P (I was wondering why such a random character seemed to be popping up out of the blue like that, it seemed a bit weird, but i guess he's not going to be around for very long.)
Steuardsteuard on October 25th, 2007 06:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, I do get the impression that any time Weber introduces a character in detail, they're either about to become a major recurring character or they'll be dead within a hundred pages. :) I'm glad to see that we agree on at least some of Weber's more frustrating traits as an author, anyway.

As for Mesa's motives, I thought we'd seen some of that already (and as it related to Honor in particular). But it's been a while since I read the book; I suppose it's possible that I was drawing in part on content and clues from the other side series novels. Or are you just concerned that their motives don't seem to have been sufficiently developed or explained?
DonAithnendonaithnen on October 25th, 2007 06:58 am (UTC)
I've seen one meeting of the Mesan council or whatever it is. It explained the general goal for their genetically superior selves to take over the galaxy or whatever. As a sub-part of that they have a strong interested in genetic slavery and therefore are in conflict with Manticore and Haven who are strongly opposed to it.

As such they want Manticore and Haven fighting each other rather than making peace and ganging up against them. They did agree to come up with a list of potential targets to use the nano-stuff on if necessary, but i don't think they said anything about who would be on the list.

Killing evil Havenite Secretary dude's accomplice makes sense if they were hyper-competent and new that he was planning on revealing the treaty manipulation if threatened. Killing evil Havenite Secretary dude himself makes sense if they were super-hyper-competent and realized he was about to be exposed by the government. Killing the accomplice and then the secretary seems rather stupid and wasteful since it seems doubtful the accomplice would expose himself when he wasn't being threatened. He might very well have deleted the documents the day after the Senator died since he wouldn't likely get much of a deal for turning state's evidence against a corpse. I guess it could be just wanting to tie up loose ends, on the assumption that the security guy the Senator was working with was a Mesan agent.

In any case i can't see any advantage to them killing Honor, one of Manticore's best military officers. Manticore is currently hurting in the war and they need all the help they can get if they're not going to get steamrolled, and a quick end to the war is exactly what Mesa doesn't want. It could be some Byzantine plot to stir up sentiments in Manticore against Haven even more by "framing" Haven for the assassination, but given Manticore's current feelings towards Haven already that seems like it would be just a drop in the pond.

If there was any reason for them to be against her specifically i must be forgetting it.