Friday, March 20, 2009

Storm From The Shadows - David Weber

Storm From The Shadows
David Weber
Baen Books
Copyright: 2009
978-1416591474

From the Amazon.com website:

Rear Admiral Michelle Henke was commanding one of the ships in a force led by Honor Harrington in an all-out space battle. The odds were against the Star Kingdom forces, and they had to run. But Michelle’s ship was crippled, and had to be destroyed to prevent superior Manticoran technology from falling into Havenite hands, and she and her surviving crew were taken prisoner. Much to her surprise, she was repatriated to Manticore, carrying a request for a summit conference between the leaders of the two sides which might end the war. But a condition of her return was that she gave her parole not to fight against the forces of the Republic of Haven until she had been officially exchanged for a Havenite prisoner of war, so she was given a command far away from the war’s battle lines. What she didn’t realize was that she would find herself on a collision course, not with a hostile government, but with the interstellar syndicate of criminals known as Manpower. And Manpower had its own plans for eliminating Manticore as a possible threat to its lucrative slave trade, deadly plans which remain hidden in the shadows.


This is the sequel of sorts to The Shadow of Saganami. I say 'of sorts' because the story in this book starts before the ending of the previous one, and several of the scenes in the previous book are shown from a different viewpoint here.

Events that began in the previous book, or even in the one before that, At All Costs are finally starting to be made clear, and are beginning to come together into a coherent whole. It turns out that there is somebody else who is manipulating things from behind the scenes, including the war with Haven.

I enjoyed reading Storm of Shadows, but I've got to say, when I came to the end my reaction was "When's the next book coming out?". Weber has left the book screaming for a sequel, which according to the note in the front of the book is going to appear at some point in the future (hopefully sooner than five years from now like this one was from The Shadow of Saganami).

I certainly hope the next book does an overlap with the events of this one, as there are some major events going on in the background - including a major Havenite invasion of Manticore home space that was somehow defeated. I'd like to know how they managed that, although with Honor in charge of the fleet in question, such a victory is almost a forgone conclusion.

As with the previous book, I found the many different viewpoints and locations somewhat confusing. I wish Weber had included a tiny header note with each major viewpoint shift as some other authors have. There were times when I'd be a page or two into a new section and still be trying to figure out who and where the characters were.

Other than that, the characters have their human moments, some grow and gain experience, others die. By the end of the book it looks like Manticore is starting a war with the Solarian League, but there is definitely something else going on at the same time.

Overall, Weber has written to his usual standard: the technology and physical laws all hang together well and the scenes are vividly described, leading to a cliff-hanger of a conclusion.

However, this is not a book to start reading the series at. For a new reader, I'd say start at the beginning with On Basilisk Station (I'm rereading it now as well), or at least Crown of Slaves.
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