Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Audiobook: A Call to Vengeance by David Weber, Timothy Zahn & Thomas Pope

A Call to Vengeance
Author: David Weber, Timothy Zahn, Thomas Pope
Narrator: Eric Michael Summerer
Publication: Audible Studios (March 6, 2018)
Length: 16 hours and 46 minutes

Description: Book three in the nationally best-selling Manticore Ascendant series, a prequel series to David Weber's multiple New York Times best-selling Honor Harrington series. Sequel to A Call to Duty and A Call to Arms.

After the disastrous attack on the Manticoran home system by forces unknown, the Royal Manticoran Navy stands on the brink of collapse. A shadowy enemy with the resources to hurl warships across hundreds of light years seeks to conquer the Star Kingdom for reasons unknown, while forces from within Manticore’s own government seek to discredit and weaken the Navy for reasons very much known: their own political gain.

It’s up to officers like Travis Long and Lisa Donnelly to defend the Star Kingdom and the Royal Manticoran Navy from these threats, but the challenge is greater than any they have faced before. Weakened but not defeated, the mercenary forces and their mysterious employer could return at any time, and the anti-Navy faction within Parliament is growing. The situation becomes even more dire when fresh tragedy strikes the Star Kingdom.

While the House of Winton faces their enemies at home, Travis, Lisa, and the other officers of the Royal Manticoran Navy must reunite with old friends and join new allies to hunt down and eliminate the forces arrayed against them in a galaxy-spanning conspiracy.

Manticore has learned that the universe is not a safe place, but the Star Kingdom’s enemies are about to learn it's dangerous to mess with the Manticore!

My Thoughts: The events in this third entry into the Manticore Ascendant series follow closely on the events of book 2. The Royal Manticoran Navy is trying to pick up the pieces remaining after the battle with pirates was won and the politicians, especially Lord Breakwater, are trying to further reduce the power and influence of the Navy. When a second wave of attack comes just weeks after the first, it is up to the RMN to defend Manticore with a very damaged Navy. Luckily, a bluff suggested by Travis Long manages to send them running for safety.

We, the readers, know why this unknown force wants Manticore, but no one on Manticore does. Since one of the viewpoint characters is Mr. Llyn who is the puppetmaster pulling all these strings to get Manticore for his employers. 

Travis is recruited into a new intelligence force that is led by a former cabinet member and is working without the oversight of the Office of Naval Intelligence. His mission is to track down the pirates who attempted to invade Manticore. To do this he is assigned as an officer on the most up-to-date ship in the RMN which has the mission of doing a tour to try to drum up business for a new Manticore shipbuilding operation. One of the first stop connects them with an Andermani "freighter" where they learn that they aren't the only ones on the trail of the pirate. Apparently the Andermani Emperor wants him found and destroyed.

Meanwhile, Travis's girlfriend and fellow RMN officer Lisa Donnelly is part of another mission to Haven to try to track down some parts found in the wreckage after the battle also in hopes of locating the pirate. There Lisa reconnects with a woman who was RMN bur moved to Haven and is now a shining light in their military. Together they are also trying to destroy piracy that affects Haven.

Meanwhile, Mr. Llyn has decided that his hired pirates have outlived their usefulness and know to much about his secret employer and need to be taken off the board. I started to almost feel sorry for Admiral Cutler Gensonne and his mercenary band given that Manticore, Haven, the Andermani and his own employer Llyn were all, individually, working to defeat him.

Back on Manticore, the monarchy changes hands when King Edward and Crown Princess Sophie die in a boating accident and Edward's widowed sister Elizabeth becomes the new queen. Lord Breakwater looks on this as an opportunity to increase his power and prestige as he tries to find a way to influence or control her. The death of the long-standing Prime Minister also helps destabilize things. But Elizabeth isn't a pushover. She is very able to deal with the political maneuvering fomented by Breakwater.

This was another intriguing science fiction space opera about the early days of the Star Kingdom of Manticore. I hope that there are more books planned for this prequel series to the Honor Harrington books. It feels like there are so many stories still to be told. Which service claims Travis? What is Mr. Llyn's next plan?

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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