As guilty pleasures go, the sequel to The Armageddon Inheritance probably isn’t the equal of a cholesterol-laden hot fudge sundae?but it’s close. In this installment, Humanity’s Emperor Colin has to deal with subjects who want to overthrow him and a superbomb so powerful it makes an atomic weapon look like just another Fourth of July sparkler. Meanwhile, the heirs to the throne are marooned on a distant planet, where, in addition to worrying about how to get home, they somehow have to remedy a religious conflict they’ve managed to set off. Weber combines science fiction, fantasy and a sly sense of humor into a novel that may be a tad silly but is definitely a whole lot of fun.
Colin MacIntyre had an orderly but exciting life as a NASA astronaut. But then he is kidnapped by an ancient, self-aware starship; drafted as its captain to suppress a 5,000-year-old mutiny; and forced to declare himself Governor of Earth in order to mobilize the planet against alien attack. And that’s the easy part Original.
Mutiny for Lt. Commander Colin MacIntyre, it began as a routine training flight over the Moon. For Dahak, a self-aware Imperial battleship, it began millennia ago when that powerful artificial intelligence underwent a mutiny in the face of the enemy. The mutiny was never resolved—Dahak was forced to maroon not just the mutineers but the entire crew on prehistoric Earth.
Dahak has been helplessly waiting as the descendants of the loyal crew regressed while the mutineers maintained control of technology that kept them alive as the millennia passed. But now Dahak’s sensors indicate that the enemy that devastated the Imperium so long ago has returned—and Earth is in their path. For the sake of the planet, Dahak must mobilize its defenses. And that it cannot do until the mutineers are put down. So Dahak has picked Colin MacIntyre to be its new captain. Now MacIntyre must mobilize humanity to destroy the mutineers once and for all—or Earth will become a cinder in the path of galactic conquest.
This appendix sketches in some of the salient points of the galaxy into which Honor was born… and which she, willingly or not, was to play a major part in changing forever.
Ranks of Bronze
On a farm in the Sabine hills of a planet call Earth, a poet takes a stylus from the fingers of a nude slave girl and writes, very quickly, And Crassus wretched soldier takes a barbarian wife from his captors and grows old waging war for them.
The poet looked at the line with a pleased expression. «It needs polish, of course,» he muttered. Then, more directly to the slave, he says, «You know, Leuconoe, there’s more than inspiration to poetry, a thousand times more; but this came to me out of the air.
Horace gestures with his stylus toward the glittering night sky. The girl smiles back at him.
THE FIRST CAMPAIGN
Caius Vibulenus wore a white horsehair crest to mark him as a tribune. Fear turned the dew dribbling from that insignia into drops of acid on the back of his neck. Dawn was beginning to raise a bitterflavored mist from the valley before them, and the occasional serpentine trees seeme…
The ticking of the conference room’s antique clock was deafening as the Hereditary President of the People’s Republic of Haven stared at his military cabinet. The secretary of the economy looked away uncomfortably, but the secretary of war and her uniformed subordinates were almost defiant.
«Are you serious?» President Harris demanded.
«I’m afraid so,» Secretary Frankel said unhappily. He shuffled through his memo chips and made himself meet the president’s eyes. «The last three quarters all confirm the projection, Sid.» He glowered sideways at his military colleague. «It’s the naval budget. We can’t keep adding ships this way without—»
«If we don’t keep adding them,» Elaine Dumarest broke in sharply, «the wheels come off. We’re riding a neotiger, Mr. President. At least a third of the occupied planets still have crackpot `liberation’ groups, and even if they didn’t, everyone on our borders is arming to the teeth. It’s only a matter of time un…
“Bolos. For a millennium and a half, they have been humanity’s warriors. They have fought Man’s battles, died in Man’s wars, battled to save Man’s children, even from his own kind. They have guarded Man’s worlds … and avenged Man’s defeats.” “Tireless, infinitely patient, infinitely deadly, Bolos are the most fearsome fighting machines ever developed. The most lethal artificial intelligences in history. Yet they are more than that. They are not merely the weapons of their Human commanders, but their comrades. Brothers and sisters in arms, who all too often die together.” But Bolos and their commanders do not die easily. Mankind’s enemies have learned the price of a Bolo’s death. And if Bolos and their commanders do not always die in victory, this much has always been true. They do not surrender. And they never-ever-quit.
Starships Blown to Smithereens!
The Solarian League Navy has been the premier navy of the galaxy for centuries. Indeed, no one can remember a time when it hasn’t been acknowledged as the most powerful fleet in existence.
Until now, that is.
A conference to end the terrible war between the Peeps of Haven and the Manticorean Star Kingdom is slated. Peace is finally within reach.
Not with the slaver conspiracy that calls itself Manpower, Inc. pulling intergalactic strings. The plan? To plunge the Star Kingdom into a two-front war with Peeps and Sollies—a process calculated to blast Honor Harrington’s home system to smoking ruin!
Assassination’s afoot. And out on the galactic frontier known as the Verge, big trouble boils over as Solarian League arrogance butts up against the steely resolve of Harrington protégé Michelle Henke, aka Admiral Gold Peak.
Too bad for the Sollies. For Harrington’s officers have a habit of coming through in the clutch and finding a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. But most of all—whatever the odds—they never, ever give up the fight!