House of Steel: The Honorverse Companion is the most recent Honor Harrington series book from author David Weber. It contains the short novel, I Will Build My House of Steel by Weber, and The Honorverse Companion, compiled by the members of BuNine, a group of überfans who help Weber keep everything straight in the ever-expanding “Honorverse”.
I really enjoyed the 183-page short novel, I Will Build My House of Steel. It focused on Roger Winton III, the father of Elizabeth III, the current (as of the most recent novels) empress of the Star Empire of Manticore. Roger had previously been mentioned only in passing, so it was good to learn more about him and how various experiences shaped his life and outlook, and in turn shaped those of his daughter.
I think Weber used the space well and made the story just the right length. I highly recommend first reading the 13 current novels in the main series, as well as the five books in the two spinoff series, as there are references which will make more sense with that additional knowledge.
The bulk of this volume is taken up with The Honorverse Companion, a well done look at (mostly) the Star Empire of Manticore and its ally, the Protectorate of Grayson. This section was a collaborative effort between Weber and BuNine, but was written and edited to give it a single voice which flows well throughout the work.
The text delves into almost all of the ship types, weaponry, and tactics used by these two groups, and compares them to other groups in the Honorverse as well as to current naval practices in our own time. It becomes very obvious that enormous amounts of time and research were put into this volume, and you can see how it’s been used in the various books in the series, as well.
One of the nicest features of the Companion is the 16-page section of full color illustrations showing the flags, insignia, ribbons, uniforms, and ships of the Royal Manticoran Navy and Grayson Space Navy. The images look like they were done in vector format, so they are extremely crisp and clear in their details. If anyone wanted to create a costume, this contains just about everything you would need to make a great one (some sewing skills are obviously required).
The book ends with a question and answer section where Weber answers various questions about the Honorverse. Weber is even coy with some of his answers, perhaps hinting at some future directions the series could take.
I really enjoyed reading House of Steel: The Honorverse Companion, and I strongly recommend it for anyone who is a fan of the Honor Harrington books. This is an excellent addition to an already excellent series.
Release Date: May 7, 2013 (USA)
ISBNs: 1451638752 (9781451638752)
Publisher: Baen Books
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (social drinking)
Language: 1 (small number of occasional expletives)
Violence: 2 (science fiction space warfare, murder)