Copyright: October, 2011
The amazon.com product description:
Stephanie Harrington always expected to be a forest ranger on her homeworld of Meyerdahl . . . until her parents relocated to the frontier planet of Sphinx in the far distant Star Kingdom of Manticore. It should have been the perfect new home --- a virgin wilderness full of new species of every sort, just waiting to be discovered. But Sphinx is a far more dangerous place than ultra-civilized Meyerdahl, and Stephanie’s explorations come to a sudden halt when her parents lay down the law: no trips into the bush without adult supervision!Written as a teen book, A Beautiful Friendship is the start of a new series set in the same world as David Weber's Honor Harrington series (On Basilisk Station, etc). Stephanie Harrington, Honor's ancestor, was both the discoverer of and the first person to be adopted by the treecats, Sphinx's native sentient species. That event is also described in the short story of the same title in the anthology More Than Honor. But, that's not the only short story referenced in this novel. Linda Evan's story The Stray from the anthology Worlds of Honor is also used as background, and the characters involved are main characters here.
Yet Stephanie is a young woman determined to make discoveries, and the biggest one of all awaits her: an intelligent alien species.
The forest-dwelling treecats are small, cute, smart, and have a pronounced taste for celery. And they are also very, very deadly when they or their friends are threatened . . . as Stephanie discovers when she comes face-to-face with Sphinx’s most lethal predator after a hang-gliding accident.
But her discoveries are only beginning, for the treecats are also telepathic and able to bond with certain humans, and Stephanie’s find --- and her first-of-its kind bond with the treecat Climbs Quickly --- land both of them in a fresh torrent of danger. Galactic-sized wealth is at stake, and Stephanie and the treecats are squarely in the path of highly-placed enemies determined to make sure the planet Sphinx remains entirely in human hands, even if that means the extermination of another thinking species.
Unfortunately for those enemies, the treecats have saved Stephanie Harrington’s life. She owes them . . . and Stephanie is a young woman who stands by her friends.
Which means things are about to get very interesting on Sphinx.
For teen cross-over novels, (stories set in the same universe as an author's existing series), this is the best one I've seen to date. Nothing seems to contradict the existing Honor Harrington books, and the story doesn't feel particularly as though it's aimed at a younger audience. There's less of the political manoeuvring though than there is in some of the adult books.
If you like David Weber's writing, don't shy away from picking up this addition. It's a great read, and I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye out for the next books in the series. Stephanie's most certainly an interesting character, and I can see where Honor might have gotten some of her inspiration and character from, if she used this ancestor as something of a role model.
Highly recommended for both teen and adult audiences.