Thursday, October 15, 2020

Audiobook: The Shadow of Saganami by David Weber

The Shadow of Saganami
Author: David Weber
Series: Honor Harrington - Saganami Island Book 1
Narrator: Jay Snyder
Publication: Audible Studios (April 2, 2009)
Length: 30 hours and 55 minutes

Description: STUDENTS OF HONOR . . .

The Star Kingdom of Manticore is once again at war with the Republic of Haven after a stunning sneak attack. The graduating class from Saganami Island, the Royal Manticoran Navy's academy, are going straight from the classroom to the blazing reality of all-out war.

Except for the midshipmen assigned to the heavy cruiser HMS Hexapuma, that is. They're being assigned to the Talbott Cluster, an out of the way backwater, far from the battle front. The most they can look forward to is the capture of the occasional pirate cruiser and the boring duty of supporting the Cluster's peaceful integration with the Star Kingdom at the freely expressed will of eighty percent of the Cluster's citizens. With a captain who may have seen too much of war and a station commander who isn't precisely noted for his brilliant and insightful command style, it isn't exactly what the students of Honor Harrington, the "Salamander," expected.

But things aren't as simple — or tranquil — as they appear. The "pirates" they encounter aren't what they seem, and the "peaceful integration" they expected turns into something very different. A powerful alliance of corrupt Solarian League bureaucrats and ruthless interstellar corporations is determined to prevent the Cluster's annexation by the Star Kingdom . . . by any means necessary. Pirates, terrorists, genetic slavers, smuggled weapons, long-standing personal hatreds, and a vicious alliance of corporate greed, bureaucratic arrogance, and a corrupt local star nation with a powerful fleet, are all coming together, and only Hexapuma, her war-weary captain, and Honor Harrington's students stand in the path.

They have only one thing to support and guide them: the tradition of Saganami. The tradition that sometimes a Queen's officer's duty is to face impossible odds . . . and die fighting.

My Thoughts: This story follows snottie Helen Zilwicki and four of her fellow snotties as they go on their first ship duties. Even though things are heating up with Haven, Helen is sent on a new ship - the Hexapuma - to the Talbot Cluster. It should be a quiet area but it was only recently within reach of Manticore as a recently discovered node of Manticore's wormhole. Hexapuma is being captained by Aivars Terekhov who has just recovered from injuries suffered in a previous battle which decimated his command. There is some question that he is able to make the tough decisions that a captain in wartime might have to make and some of the questions come from Terekhov himself. 

Many in the Talbot Cluster are afraid that their star systems will be gobbled up by Frontier Security and the Solarian League and have voted to be annexed by Manticore instead. There is a constitutional convention going on filled with its own political infighting. And some of the people who weren't in favor of the annexation are developing their own homegrown terrorist organizations to oppose the vote. We get a look at two of the terrorist organizations. Stephen Westman is on the planet of Montana and Agnes Nordbrandt is on Kornati. They are taking two radically different approaches to their protests. Nordbrandt is favoring killing lots and lots of people whereas Westman has been scrupulously careful not to kill anyone though he isn't opposed to destroying a lot of the property owned by those he considers interlopers. What these two protest organizations have in common is under-the-conter support from an agitator called Firebrand who, unknown to either of them, is an agent of Frontier Security.

I enjoyed getting to know Helen and her fellow snotties and watch them grow as potential Queen's officers. I liked seeing a new part of Weber's world which was away from Manticore. I liked reconnecting with characters from earlier in the series including Commander Ginger Lewis who is the ship's engineer which is quite a change from when we met her as a noncom engineering mate in an earlier book. And also Abigail Hearns whom we met as a young girl on Grayson who wanted to break the stereotypes of her planet and follow her idol Honor Harrington into military service. Now she's a tactical lieutenant. Many other characters from earlier books in the series also make appearances here. 

I thought this episode was a nice blend of the political infighting, the military battles and the personal stories of many of the characters. 

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

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