A Call to Arms, by David Weber, Timothy Zahn, and Thomas Pope, picks up where A Call to Duty left off. The relationship between Travis Long and Lisa Donnelly starts toward a possible romance, and Long is still a stickler for the rules, which may cost him some friendships.
The short story of the same title (found in Beginnings) is incorporated into this novel as the last third or so of the book. That part is just as exciting as it was in the short story. The beginning of the book, though, may not be enjoyed by everyone as much as the last third.
In some ways, the first part of the book was too slow. It involved Travis agreeing to watch Lisa’s dog for her while she was deployed. This part was somewhat stilted and felt rather unnatural. Not that I’m not interested in Travis finding someone, but I thought the interactions felt very scripted instead of natural. This improved quite a but as the book progressed, and their relationship at the very end of the book felt much more realistic.
The politics in the book were pretty similar to those Weber employs in other books in the Honorverse. Plots within plots, people who think they are doing the right thing only to have it all blow up in their faces, and people who want to do the right thing but who have their hands tied for one reason or another. Of course, there are those who are actually bad people, and a couple of them were some of the more interesting characters in the book.
Leading an invasion of a sovereign nation is not generally on the list of “good things” in any universe of which I am aware. Despite this being his job, Gensonne was a very interesting character who held to his own warped code of honor, which included not wasting his ships (and men and women) needlessly. I thought the authors did a great job of giving Gensonne a good, solid part of the story.
Fenton Locatelli was initially a one-dimensional foil for Travis. Travis wrote him up for not completing his work properly, which earned him the ire of Fenton’s uncle, Admiral Carlton Locatelli. I really liked how Fenton became much more than just a throw-away character by the end of the book. I also liked how he started changing for the better, though perhaps a little too late to help out Travis.
Overall, the book was interesting and kept me reading. I am also looking forward to the next book in the series, so that says good things about it. If you like the Honorverse books, and if you liked A Call to Duty, you will enjoy this book (despite the slow beginning). I recommend it.
Release Date: October 6, 2015 (USA)
ISBNs: 1476780854 (9781476780856)
Publisher: Baen Books
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (very brief, social)
Language: 2 (occasional, mostly mild)
Violence: 3 (space battles, brief graphic descriptions of aftermaths, death)