The Shadow of Saganami (Honorverse: Saganami Island, #1)by Published 26 Oct 2004
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The Star Kingdom has a new generation of officers! And this elite group hand-picked and trained by Honor Harrington herself is going to be needed immediately, as their first assignment turns out to be more dangerous than anyone expected. What was supposed to be a quiet outpost, far from the blazing conflict between the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the People's Republic of Haven has actually been targeted by an unholy alliance between the slaveholders of Manpower, the rival star kingdoms of Mesa and Monica, and the bureaucrats of the Solarian League. The alliance stands to benefit if the Havenites defeat Manticore, and are preparing for a surprise attack from the rear to divide Manticore's forces, which are already strained nearly to their limits. With their captain, the young Manticoran officers will risk their careers, if not their lives, on an unauthorized mission to expose and counter the threat to their Star Kingdom. Follow their journey as they show what they're made of as New York Times best-selling author David Weber begins a new series that will be a must for the hundreds of thousands of Honor Harrington fans.
"The Shadow of Saganami (Honorverse: Saganami Island, #1)" Reviews
BTW, if anybody cares that I have not been posting, it's because I've been rereading all of David Weber's "Honorverse" series. My reason for doing so is that I read them out of order before, and I wanted to re read them in order to get a sense of the continuity of the story. For the most part, I appreciated them more the second time around, although my objections to some of the ones toward the end of the series wasn't fundamentally changed. I do have to say that this doesn't apply to 'Storm From the Shadows,' which I disliked. I also have to add that Parker, my second son, tells me that I'm flat out wrong.
All that being said, I had missed 'Shadow of Saganami.' I had skipped this and 'Storm' in my first reading of the series because I thought it wasn't part of the arc of the series. . . Its cover does say it's a 'New Series.' The premise is that the 'Saganami' series follows the adventures of a group of cadets who've been classmates at Saganami Island, sort of the Manticorian equivalent to the US Naval Academy, from their school days out into their fleet. However, this series does introduce major incidents that are part of the "main" series and its characters appear in the main series. So, after having reread ALL of the Honor books twice, I realized I really had to read the Saganami books to understand the whole series.
Lots of lead up to say that I REALLY liked this book; it's, perhaps, a cut below the very best of the honor series (which I would consider to be On Basilisk Station, The Honor of the Queen, and Mission of Honor), but maybe not. It's excellent; the idea of following the fate of a group of cadets works very well as a dramatic device. The book also introduces another captain, Aivers Terekok, who is as good a strategist as Honor Harrington but who is also an interesting, complex, somewhat damaged person. There are GREAT action scenes, some really intense battles, and interesting character arcs. Very, very well done.
Plus, since Honor has become the equivalent of a four or five star Admiral, she's lost the ability to command a solo ship on her own (Admirals don't do such things). While this is believable because competent admirals do "move up," Honors believable growth as a character has hampered the series (ironic, but true). The introduction of Terekov allows Weber to reintroduce some good butt kicking space opera to one of his major characters. Good stuff.
This novel is another spin-of from the Honor Harrington series. It is telling the story of the new cadets of the Royal Manticoran Navy in their first cruise. All of them are expected to follow the example of Edward Saganami, the name inscribed in their academy.
The story has the same feel as the original series, even without seeing Honor Harrington in the center of the action. Maybe it is not so surprising because it is indeed written by David Weber himself (unlike the Torch series which is the collaboration between David Weber and Eric Flint, which gives a different taste).
As you can expect from a decent Honor Harrington series, the novel included lots of political intrigue; this time it is about international diplomacy. The entire events is initiated by the discovery of Lynx terminus, linking the Manticoran system with the Talbot Cluster.
The main character is Captain Terekhov, the captain of a new heavy cruiser HMS Hexapuma. In his assignment to Talbot Cluster, he has to "babysit" several midshipmen/women just graduated from Saganami Island. What supposed to be an easy assignment unexpectedly turned into a major interstellar incident. All of these will test whether he and his entire crew is actually following the shadow of Edward Saganami or not.
The naval battle, as always, is as brutal as it can be. The enemy is cunning, ruthless, and unpredictable. The homefront is also not as helpful as it can be, being crippled by the previous idiot Highridge government. It is going to be an ultimate test of skill, technology and especially the human spirit.
It is a thoroughly exciting reading, from the beginning to the end, especially when you are already a fan of Honor Harrington series. If your are not, it does not hurt also, because this book is the first book a new series. Knowing the Honorverse is of course helpful, especially to catch up with the basic vocabulary, but even if you don't, you can always check on the glossary in the Internet.
Verdict, solid FOUR STAR.
2018 re-read. Quite good!
Loved it. I can see this spinoff of the main series really going somewhere. Well worth reading.
Must be in a bad mood tonight because this is the second book I've given a mere two stars, and it too isn't Actually poorly written, nor does it suffer major plot holes, awkward dialog, or any of the other major deficiencies of most books I rate so harshly.
In fact, I'm actually glad I read it because it does flesh out what actually happened out in the Talbot Cluster during At All Costs. (IMHO "Saganami" should be read first: it does not contain spoilers for "All Costs," while the reverse is not true. Also,
Crown of Slaves should apparently be read before either one: Weber was actually compelled to give a plot synopsis of it via a character in "Saganami!")
Anyway, my harsh rating is because it was TOO LONG and there were TOO MANY CHARACTERS. I am probably in serious Weber overdose, 'cause this is hardly a new problem of his, but this one really took Work to get into: hundreds of pages before the plot started happening instead of just getting carefully, painstakingly, Boringly set up.
Yeah, it paid off in the end with one of his signature battle scenes: in the face of terrible odds, terrific bravery, honor, and better tech wins the day.
And as much as I can get bored, I do actually enjoy his little essays on comparative governments - it's amusing and even a little convicting to read between the lines when he's describing a system that obviously shares roots with our own.
So, devotees to the series must read this one, and I am sure I'll read the next few myself. I'm not willing to give up on the Honorverse the way I did with Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" some decades ago: at least Weber's stories are on the whole positive and redemptive!