It’s been quite a while since I’ve gotten back to the Honor Harrington series. It’s been more than long enough for me to forget a number of details, and anything more than the bare outlines of the plot of previous book. Thankfully, Weber provided a fair number of nudges to help with that, though there certainly were a number of places where I was a bit lost.

Overall, we’ve got a number of different major threads running here. The dominant one of course is Honor Harrington’s life, which here is complicated by the fact that she was supposed to be dead, and there’s already been a grand funeral, monuments, and a new ship named after her. Even being alive, there’s been a fair amount of abuse to her body, and that gets taken care of with the latest round of super-science, and she is largely out of action for the book. The requisite action scene in exactly in place at the end, and Harrington stars in that, but it’s also a somewhat unusual one, though still filled with Clancy-esque detailed fictional engineering.

In between, Honor nearly disappears in the middle of the book, even though she may be doing one of the most important things of her life. Since she’s out of front-line duty, she ends up teaching tactical classes at Saganami Island for a semester, helping shape some of the brightest of the new cadets the expanding Mantacoran Navy needs (and cadets from allied navies). Unless a story is really ready to focus on this, it would get dull fast, so wisely, not much is shown. But we do get enough to see some of the teaching methods, and get a very good feel for the proceedings.

Meanwhile, the war with the PRH continues. The previous book put the Mantacoran alliance on the back foot, and the opening parts of the book nicely re-establish the current strategic situation, as both sides work up their plans. This kicks off the introduction of political infighting between Saint Just and the Haven Navy after climatic battle of the previous book, which becomes one of the major backbones of the novel.

The last major plot thread starts with the opposition on Grayson, and surveillance on one of the major movers in that. Much of it feels like it’d belong in a Tom Clancy novel again, and I worried that it would be an inconvenient throw-away plot, like in some of Clancy’s more bloated writing, but it’s there to show how we got to the point of the ending action scene.

Overall, another good book in the series, with decent pacing considering the strain of being its own story, and setting things up for further books. The bad part is, the fact that Weber is working towards ways to keep this entire thing going as long as it sells is too evident. I’d much prefer a series that had some form of initial structure in place. It might be planned to be a long series, as long as it has a defined end to move towards, instead of this struggle between making sure things move forward, and wrecking the good guys just enough to make sure there’s room for a few more books after that success.