Shadow of Freedom is the third volume in the Saganami Island subseries in the greater Honor Harrington series by David Weber. It follows Honor’s friends and colleagues Admiral Michelle “Mike” Henke and Lt. Helen Zilwicki as they work in and around the Talbott Cluster and the Madras Sector.
This book definitely requires reading the books which come before it, especially as the last several books in the overall series have been so interconnected (they all happen at about the same time, just in different areas of the known galaxy). You can find a list of the books over here.
I enjoyed the additional insight into some of the peripheral characters in this book. We learn a bit more about Admiral Henke, Helen Zilwicki, and the Detweilers, and we get to see some of those working with the Mesan Alignment get what’s coming to them. That said, this book (as with several of the recent books) feels too short in many ways and doesn’t have a satisfying conclusion in itself. There are a few things that are concluded, but they are so obviously stepping stones for the overall plot arch of the last few books that it’s difficult to fully enjoy this book by itself.
Most of the other books in the Honorverse series have self-contained stories which, while still part of the overall story, give you the satisfaction of having a conclusion to each of the books. The last few books, however, feel more like serial installments in a weekly television series as they end with an unsaid, “To be continued…”
I think I understand what Weber is trying to do with these more recent books, and I know he’s been releasing books in multiple other series more than in the past, but that leaves me feeling a little gypped in this series because the books are so short and each one doesn’t have its own satisfying (I keep using that word!) conclusion. I know I’m not the only one with this frustration, too, as I’ve seen similar comments about the most recent books in various forums and heard them from other fans of the series. It is for this reason I’m giving this book a lower rating.
That said, I still enjoyed Shadow of Freedom, and I recommend it to fans of the series. I think what was there in the book was well paced and expanded my knowledge of what is happening in the series right now. I only wish Weber would give a little more in each installment instead of giving me the “Tune in next year for more!” schtick.
Release Date: March 5, 2013 (USA)
ISBN: 1451638698 (9781451638691)
Publisher: Baen Books
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (occasional wine or alcohol with meals, smoking)
Language: 3 (periodic expletives, some deity, typical (though toned down) military language)
Violence: 2 (space battles, some hand-to-hand and military fighting)