After being on my read-eventually list for years, I finally got around to reading David Weber‘s Honor Harrington books. I have now read five of the first six books (haven’t read #5 yet) and am about 100 pages into the seventh book. They are exceedingly well written and I am hooked. Weber has a complex social and technological background for his books, and three-dimensional characters.
Honor Harrington, the heroine of the “Honorverse,” is a naval officer for the Star Kingdom of Manticore. She is human, but a “genie,” i.e., descended from genetically engineered ancestors to better survive living on a planet with slighter higher gravity than Manticore or Old Earth. Honor is a feature of her character as well as her name: she is intelligent, brave, loyal, patriotic, with a strong sense of duty and justice.
As a child, Honor was adopted by a treecat, a six-legged creature from her home planet, Sphinx. She shares an empathic bond with her ‘cat, Nimitz. Honor believes (correctly) that treecats are far more intelligent than most people give them credit for. Treecat adoptions are respected in the Star Kingdom of Manticore. Seven of the last nine monarchs, including the current Queen Elizabeth III, have been adopted by ‘cats. Therefore, Nimitz accompanies her on her vessels and even attended the academy with her.
David Weber limits the profanity in these books. Although there is some swearing, including occasional use of a certain four-letter word that rhymes with duck, it is limited to situations and characters where such vocabulary is actually in character. Unlike the late Tom Clancy, he doesn’t feel the need to drop F-bombs like confetti.
My only complaint with the books thus far is that the Honorverse has certain similarities with the Albion Empire of my own “Captain’s Claim.” This is not unusual, not even unpredictable. Weber and I both read the Horatio Hornblower books when we were younger — he even dedicates the first book of the series to C. S. Forester and has Honor reading one of the Hornblower books as pleasure reading in one of the later books. Both of us watched the Star Wars series of movies, as well as old movies like The Sea Hawk and goodness knows how many other books, TV shows, and movies with space empires. Elizabeth Moon and Lois McMaster Bujold have also written SF books where the hero serves in the starfleet of a space empire with a very formal society. I’m just not looking forward to being accused of copycatting from Mr. Weber, when I’ve been working on Captain’s Claim, off and on, since 1996.
So far I’ve read the first four books in the series, the sixth book, and I’ve started on the seventh. I’ve been ignoring both housework and ghostwriting in favor of reading these books; they’re hard to put down. If you like military SF, give David Weber’s Honor Harrington books a try.
If you like strong women in a western setting, try Juliette Douglas’ Freckled Venom series.
And if you want to buy my western e-book, Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid, I won’t complain.
[Feature Image Galaxy M101: Image Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; IR & UV: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Optical: NASA/STScI]