The People's Republic of Haven have a few problems. First, they've got Imperial Politics syndrome in a big way--the politics of the capital dominate the politics of the star nation. And the basic fact of political life in Haven's capital is that the majority of the population is on the dole, and have been for generations--and the Dolists get nasty if their standard of living isn't maintained. On the other hand, the Treasury is nearly empty. What Haven needs, decide its rulers, is a short, victorious war. They need to go conquer some hapless (but wealthy) star nation and use the proceeds to fund their social programs.
Honor Harrington has faced Havenite forces twice before. In On Basilisk Station she faced a Havenite "Q-ship" (a warship disguised as a freighter); in The Honor of the Queen she saved Grayson from a Masadan attack--an attack funded and led by Havenite "advisors". But this is the first book in which Haven declares outright war on the Star Kingdom of Manticore. It's also the first in which we see a major fleet action; Honor is assigned to be Admiral Mark Sarnow's flag captain in the Hancock system. This is also the book in which she meets the first love of her life, Paul Tankersley, who's one of the officers at the shipyard in Hancock.
So you've got some serious politics, fleet maneuvers, and a little romance, all culminating (as usual) in a slap-bang battle in which Honor has to make the hard decisions yet still come up roses while making herself some series enemies. It's a familiar pattern, but it works.Posted by Will Duquette at July 2, 2005 08:13 AM