Copyright Date: 2009
The amazon.com description is:
Now the battle for the soul of the planet Safehold has begun.
The Kingdom of Charis and the Kingdom of Chisholm have joined together, pledged to stand against the tyranny of a corrupt Church. The youthful Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm has wed King Cayleb of Charis, forging a single dynasty, a single empire, dedicated to the defense of human freedom. Crowned Empress of that empire, Sharleyan has found in Cayleb’s arms the love she never dared hope for in a “marriage of state.” In Cayleb’s cause, his defiance of the ruthless Group of Four who govern mother Church, she has found the task to which she can commit her mind and her courage. It is a cause for which she was born.
Yet there are things Sharleyan still does not know. Secrets Cayleb has not been permitted to share, even with her. Secrets like the true story of humanity on Safehold. Like the intricate web of lies, deception, and fabricated “religion” which have chained humanity for almost a thousand years. Like the existence of the genocidal alien Gbaba, waiting to complete mankind’s destruction should humans ever attract their attention once more. Like the existence of a young woman, Nimue Alban, nine hundred years dead, whose heart, mind, and memories live on within the android body of the warrior-monk she knows as Merlin.
And so Empress Sharleyan faces the the great challenge of her life unaware of all that task truly entails...or of how the secrets the man who loves her cannot share may threaten all they have achieved between them...and her own life.
By Heresies Distressed is David Weber's latest book and the sequel to the books Off Armageddon Reef and By Schism Rent Asunder. It picks up almost directly where By Schism Rent Asunder left off and keeps going from there.
David Weber is well up to his ususal standards in writing interesting characters and exciting events. Even the "bad" characters are three dimensional and complex in their motivations. The way Weber writes, he hints at future events (most of the time) but doesn't give things away, so the reader is always wondering what's going to happen until it actually does.
I commented in my review of By Schism Rent Asunder that I'd forgotten some of the details from the first book, and I found that that had happened this time as well. I've really got to re-read the first two books in the series. At the same time, my note of the second book being a "middle" book also holds true here as well. There has to be at least one more book in the works, given that there are plenty of things the author has left unresolved, including what's going on within the Church itself.
In this book we find out about some other people who have been charting the abuses of the Church in secret, but although there are some rumors of what's going to happen, we're left wondering (along with the suggestion that something's going to happen soon). In other words, there's plenty to build anticipation for the next book when it comes out.
Some people have commented on other blogs that they don't especially like the names Weber is using in this series. Personally, I like it. After all, the colonists were from Earth originally, so the names are Earth names. At the same time, over the centuries, the languages have changed, resulting in what we see in the Safehold series. I'm finding it fun to try and pick out what the original name (and therefore the name that the characters probably think it is) was. Most of the time it is obvious, but sometimes it takes a bit of thought. It's a detail that I like, and I haven't seen too many authors using it.
This is a series that's turning out to be just as good as David Weber's best known series about Honor Harrington, although it's very different. I've seen a few comparisons with the Dahak series as well.
Overall, I really recommend this book and the whole series that it's a part of.