Hell’s Foundations Quiver is the eighth book in the Safehold series from David Weber. I strongly recommend that you read the first seven books before reading this one. You will be completely lost, otherwise.
In my review of Like a Mighty Army, the seventh book in the series, I mentioned that “when epic series get into the middle somewhere, they tend to slow down and meander a bit.” While Hell’s Foundations Quiver doesn’t do it a lot, it does slow down the pace of events a bit. It goes from March to October of Year of God 897 (about 8 months or so), but perhaps does so with more detail than necessary to tell the story effectively.
I am a huge fan of David Weber. I have pretty much everything he’s ever written, and I have read almost all of it (the Bahzell series is—I believe—the only series I haven’t read completely). I love all the details about ships, weaponry, politics, and everything else he loves to include in his books (especially in the Honor Harrington books, and in this series). He sometimes gets a little carried away with it, and includes too much even for my forgiving tastes. This happened a fair amount in this book.
However, even with all that, the story in Hell’s Foundations Quiver moves along at a good clip. The anticipation is palpable while building up to battle scenes, and Weber excels at putting the reader right in the thick of the action. He has a great command of descriptive language, and employs it well in those scenes. He is also great at creating fully fleshed-out protagonist characters, and making you care what happens to them. Even the bad guys.
Weber likes to have large casts of characters, and that requires a lot of pages to tell the story from all the various perspectives. And he is really good at it, too. Even relatively minor characters can be brought forward and become important. I think he does it to show that even normal, everyday people can make a difference in the bigger story. He does it a lot, and it really helps make the story more real.
Hell’s Foundations Quiver is a solid book (very solid, at almost 900 pages!), and fans of the series should enjoy the story unfolding and moving closer to the climactic direct engagement with the vicars. The technology being introduced is improving and advancing much more quickly, so it will only be a matter of time before we see if the Rakurai orbital bombardment platform is still functional and watching for higher tech. I am looking forward to the next book. It will hopefully trim the fat a little and get into the meat of the story a little more.
Release Date: October 13, 2015 (USA)
ISBNs: 0765321874 (9780765321879)
Publisher: Tor Books
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (very occasional social drinking and smoking)
Language: 2 (mostly mild, occasional f-bombs and s-bombs)
Violence: 3 (war violence, death, mostly non-graphic)