So I finally picked up the latest Honor Harrington book from David Weber, “Uncompromising Honor,” and finally got around to reading it yesterday and today. I couldn’t put it down until I finished it, and I’d like to talk about it, but there’ll probably be some spoilers, so I’ll put in a break before I start talking about them.
I first read “On Basilisk Station” somewhere around 2000 or so, which means I’ve been following this particular universe for 18 years or so, but the young starship commander that first went into a hellride to protect her people and star-nation appeared on bookshelves 25 years ago. It’s been mentioned before, but she was initially conceived as a Horatio Hornblower analogue, and was originally planned to die, but thanks to one of David Weber’s planned storylines getting moved up the timeline due to some unplanned events, she earned a reprieve.
I’ll admit, I started reading it more for the starship battles than the politics. I honestly hadn’t been as invested in the last book or two, and the last book before this one I’d skipped because everything I’d heard had basically said it was the ltierary equivalent of one of those “anime series compilation movies,” mostly just reiterating the events of the last two sideline novels. This book though, hooked me in hard, and honestly from reading this one I didn’t feel like I’d missed anything of importance, having read said sideline novels already. I can say though that it was probably needed for anyone who hadn’t read those books, considering what it leads to in this one.
This book is the culmination of that 25 years of story, and it feels like a very good conclusion to all those years of story, and particularly to Honor’s story itself. Nearly 30 years of in-story war has finally ended, and while the Alignment’s plan is still running they’re basically being rooted out of everywhere, and it remains to be seen how Honor’s solution to the Solarian League “problem” fits into their plans. Per the afterword though, this is basically the ending point of both story arcs.
The “spy” storyline with the Torch stuff I’m fairly sure is going to continue, as there was plenty of setup, but I’m less sure about the Saganami storyline. Or for that matter, if we’re going to timejump, as when Honor was planned to die, her kids were supposed to be handling the two storylines with one on the navy side and one on the intrigue side. And for all that, her kids are going to have one hell of a reputation to live up to.
There were a few neat twists in all this too. Like, for example, that the Harrington line actually was one of the genetic lines that the Alignment had lost track of, which makes for a delicious bit of irony. Or the wall ships that stopped the missile attack on Beowulf. The mentions were there, but I didn’t put the pieces together until they actually deployed, or what the Solly drone missile capabilities were
I’m also wondering what else he had in mind, as the afterword also mentioned that now he felt like he could explore other aspects of the Honorverse. Maybe a Star Trek-like story with an exploring ship? Or perhaps he’ll get to explore the idea of other aliens and contact with? I mean besides the Treecats that have been there the whole time, or the Medusans, who we’ve not heard anything about really since OBS. If there even are other spacefaring races.
He’s also done some “historical” stuff, so it could be more along those lines too. The whole “Harrington line being a Mesan Alignment product” actually does help explain also how a supposed “yeoman” family could be at the center of several major events for the Star Kingdom.
Ultimately though, it was a very engaging story and chain of events, with a satisfactory ending not just to the book, but to Honor’s story. Even if she returns later, this is a point where even if there were no more Honorverse books, I’d still feel satisfied with the conclusion.
Now, if he pulls himself away from the other series he’s been writing on, let’s see what the next 25 years of Honorverse stories will bring!