In the third book of the young adult Star Kingdom series, Treecat Wars, authors David Weber and Jane Lindskold continue the story begun in A Beautiful Friendship and continued in Fire Season. This series is a spinoff of the main Honorverse series, and is set in the far future of the 37th Century. The protagonist is 16-year-old Stephanie Harrington, an ancestor of Honor Harrington (the main character in the main series).
Stephanie, the first human to be adopted by (or bond with) a treecat, is given the opportunity to attend some advanced forestry training on the neighboring planet of Manticore, despite her young age. While she and Lionheart (Climbs Quickly) are gone from Sphinx, another nefarious group tries to prevent the treecats from being declared a sentient race. Jessica and Anders have to figure out how to handle the new threat without her being there to help out, and to make matters worse, one treecat clan is desperately trying to find a new home due to the fires (from the last book) without encroaching on other treecat clans or being too close to the humans.
This is a solid book. Weber and Lindskold continue developing Stephanie as a character, as well as bringing more depth to the supporting characters such as Jessica, Anders, and Valiant (Jessica’s treecat). The plot is well paced and the authors do a good job juggling the two main storylines without making the reader confused.
This book also gives significant additional insight into treecats in general, covering various societal topics and showing more interaction between various clans. I found it interesting to see how the issues brought up regarding one of the secondary treecats were handled by a society which can’t easily hide emotions and thoughts from each other (since the ‘cats are telepathic).
The only concern I had partway through the book was that I could see where a major plot point was going quite early in the book. Despite this, I was very satisfied with how the issue was resolved between Stephanie, Jessica, and Anders, and it didn’t seem contrived or wishy-washy at the end.
I think this is a great introductory series to the growing Honorverse, and it allows a younger crowd to become familiar with the setting without all of the technical details included in the main military science fiction series featuring Stephanie’s intrepid descendant, Honor. I really enjoyed Treecat Wars, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good science fiction series with a touch of romance and a lot of adventure.
Release Date: October 1, 2013 (USA)
Publisher: Baen Books
Language: 1 (a few minor expletives)
Sexuality: 1 (mentions of canoodling, nothing graphic or explicit)
Violence: 2 (treecat war, clinical descriptions of wounds, attempted kidnapping, minor gun fight)