Shadow of Victory by David Weber – novel review

"Shadow of Victory" by David Weber.
“Shadow of Victory” by David Weber.
I’ve been waiting for this book for a while. David Weber has been building up to some of the events in Shadow of Victory over the last few books, and the last several books in the main timeline (which consists of three separate series) have happened pretty much simultaneously. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when you have nine books spread over 12 years, it gets hard to follow and remember everything that is happening (and where it is happening).

The Mesan Alignment has begun implementing a plan to get various Verge star systems to think the Star Kingdom of Manticore is supporting them in order to eventually destroy Manticore’s reputation in the Madras Sector. This is accomplished via a single agent who travels under a variety of different aliases to several different star systems. As those in the chosen systems have had little to no interaction with anyone from Manticore, they don’t have any reason to doubt the friendly and personable agent.

This book requires reading of the previous books in the main timeline of the meta-series. It is pretty much impossible to have any idea what is going on in Shadow of Victory unless you have already read the other books. Even if you have read them (which I have), it gets confusing trying to remember something from a book released two or four or eight or ten or twelve years prior.

And therein lies the problem. The story in the book is generally interesting, and I generally enjoyed it. However, I have now read nine books which cover the exact same time period. The first two-thirds of this book is rehashing many of those scenes and incidents from a different point of view, interspersed with the Mesan agent visiting various star systems in his efforts to smear the reputation of Manticore.

If these books ever get made into a TV series or movie series (or both), Weber has now done all kinds of work which will make the job of the script writers much easier. These last nine books present the same scenes from so many different points of view, they can simply pick whichever works best for them. However, that approach really, really doesn’t work as well in book form (especially not over 12 years).

Now, I really, really, really like the Honor Harrington series and universe. It is full of interesting characters doing interesting things. Adventure! Battles! Twists! Political intrique! More twists! It has all kinds of cool and interesting technology (which Weber often likes to explain in great detail). It is widely considered to be one of the best military science fiction series out there. However, the last few books have tried the collective patience of Honorverse fans (including me). Shadow of Victory is no exception.

I won’t stop reading this series, though. Even with the problems I mention above for Shadow of Victory (and the last few in the series), there is an interesting story weaving throughout all of this. Almost all the characters are interesting for various reasons. I think Weber has simply allowed his cast to get so large that too many of them are demanding page time. If he wants to write books about specific characters, that will work as long as he can keep things focused.

If you are a fan of the Honorverse, you will want to read Shadow of Victory. There is enough new information in it to fill in a lot of spaces in the overall story. However, it is getting frustrating to keep shelling out for a new hardcover book every year or so and have two-thirds of it be something that was in another book (even if it’s from a different perspective). Please move the story along more quickly, Mr. Weber. Give us an entire book’s-worth of new content. Please.

Release Date: November 1, 2016 (USA)
ISBNs: 1476781826 (9781476781822)
Publisher: Baen Books
Language: English

MySF Rating: Three point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 95%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (brief, social drinking and smoking)
Language: 2 (occasional, mostly mild, some stronger and deity)
Sexuality: 1 (brief innuendo)
Violence: 2 (some brutal violence, murders, assassinations, mass death, space battles)

6 thoughts on “Shadow of Victory by David Weber – novel review

  1. Pretty much the same I am at chapter 23 and still have no idea where David is taking me. I don’t care to know the minor issues on all of the verge planets perhaps all of the first 20 chapters could have been summed up in one chapter and then gotten on with the story. I really, really like David’s writing even though he gets a bit wordy and of course The Honor Harrington series is a great read I have loved them all someday I might even get to the honor con. till then I will support the series in the only way I can by buying the books and giving them away.. It’s the least I can do for all of the great folks at Baen.com

  2. Up to this point I couldn’t wait for the next Honor Harrington book to come out but I haven’t made it to page 150 yet and I got the book the day it was released. Incredibly boring. Plus I am having a hard time with all the polish names. Worst Honor book ever. Wish he would get back to the old swashbuckling story and kill the nuances of every backwater world with character names I cant pronounce.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes, the Polish (and some other) names were hard to read through. I didn’t mind that so much as the entire book was a rehash of events that had happened in multiple other books, but from a few additional points of view. I can see what he was trying to do, but I didn’t think it worked very well. Hopefully, the next book will move things along into uncharted territory.

  3. Very much agree- extremely frustrating as the main story seems to stall. The last couple of books have been a bunch of different characters sitting around tables telling each other what readers already know- and while the different perspectives are interesting there is only so much that thread can be pulled.
    We have also been denied so many great character moments- such as Alfredo Yu and Warner Caslet meeting with Thomas Theisman.
    The good news is Lester Tourville’s joining the cast of this thread.
    Any idea when the next book is out?

    1. Thanks for your comment! I don’t know when the next book is due for release, but I am definitely looking forward to the story moving along.

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