Thursday, June 3, 2010

In Enemy Hands - David Weber

In Enemy Hands
David Weber
Baen Books
Copyright: 1997
ISBN: 0-671-87793-3

The cover blurb:
Honor Harrington's career has its ups and its downs. She's survived ship-to-ship battles, assassins, political vendettas, and duels. She's been shot at, shot down, and just plain shot, had starships blown out from under her, and made personal enemies who will stop at nothing to ruin her, and somehow she's survived it all.

But this time she's really in trouble.

The People's Republic of Haven has finally found an admiral who can win battles, and Honor's orders take her straight into an ambush. Outnumbered, outgunned, and unable to run, she has just two options: see the people under her command die in a hopeless, futile battle... or surrender them-and herself-to the Peeps.

There can be only one choice, and at least the People's Navy promises to treat their prisoners honorably. But the Navy is overruled by the political authorities, and Honor finds herself bound for a prison planet aptly named "Hell"... and her scheduled execution.

Put into solitary confinement, separated from her officers and her treecat Nimitz, and subjected to systematic humiliation by her gaolers, Honor's future has become both bleak and short. Yet bad as things look, they're about to get worse ...for the Peeps.

Yes, this is book seven of the Honor Harrington series and they are getting longer. Distinctly so. Last It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, I described In Enemy Hands as a bit of a train-wreck. One of those "can't stand to read, but can't put down either" books, which remained true until about the last hundred and fifty pages to two hundred pages. At which point I ended up racing through to the end last night before picking up Echoes of Honor, the next book in the series.

David Weber has done something a bit different with this book, which at the time I first read it, was truly frustrating, given that that was back when In Enemy Hands was the last book in the series. He left the story on a massive cliff-hanger. All of the other books in the series before that were entirely resolved stories, but this one really felt like it ended only half-way through. Waiting for Echoes Of Honor was a torment.

On the other hand, this could be said to be Horace Harkness's story. He really does have a large role to play in the book, which is good, seeing as he's one of my favorite secondary characters. I love the way the secondaries we got to know in On Basilisk Station keep reappearing throughout the series. Reappearing and growing, evolving. Some of those secondary characters can be quite amusing too. Carson Clinkscales, new to this book, comes to mind for one example. He truly has some legendary moments where Murphy's law comes into play.

It's really interesting to see how the Peeps react to the situations in this book, given how we've seen them before in previous books. Most of them have appeared in previous books, such as Honor Among Enemies. To see them in the situations in this book really shows what's happened to the People's Republic of Haven since the coup on the Legislaturalists.

By this point in the series, you really need to have been reading from the beginning in order to know the characters and the world David Weber has created. Not my favorite book in the series, but one that had to happen eventually. Harrington couldn't have remained undefeated forever, as much as we'd have liked for that to happen.
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