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David Weber



Title: In Fire Forged,
     Worlds Of Honor #5
Science Fiction
Sub-genre: Military

Type: Collection
Page Count: 318
Size:  Hardcover
      9.2 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
Cover: Color, Art/CGI
      Appendix: B/W Schematics

Publisher: Baen Books
ISBN: 978-1-4391-3414-6
Other Books In Series: Refer To:


David Weber's In Fire Forged, Worlds Of Honor #5

Interview with David Weber on Honor Harrington

Contributing Authors:

Jane Lindskold

Timothy Zahn

David Weber Reviewer, "Danielle Ackley-McPhail"

04-21-2011 (uc500421)
Reviewed for by,
"Danielle Ackley-McPhail"

If this book is any example, (which I am sure it is) there is a very good reason the Honor Harrington series is so enduring. It is a world so saturated with complex social, political, and military dynamics, and yet the reader is privy to the characters’ personal dynamics to a degree that it is impossible not to care deeply about them. Yes there is action, and yes—goodness, yes—there is plenty of tech, but that is not what drives the series. Here is a rich world with characters you can understand. People you care about.

You can feel the grit and the grime of a well-worn universe carrying through each of the stories in this collection, despite them being penned by different authors.

Ruthless, by Jane Lindskold

Starting off the collection, this story is more intimate in nature, dealing more with the personal motivations of Lieutenant, Senior Grade, Michael Winton…Crown Prince of the Star Kingdom of Manticore. Michael must balance honor and duty when a friend’s child is kidnapped.

This story was a nice kickoff to the collection, introducing the reader to the political climate, some of the players, and the maneuvering to be expected throughout the book; a good thing for readers where this might be their first introduction to the series. Ruthless receives an 8 out of 10.

An Act of War, by Timothy Zahn

In sharp contrast to Lindskold’s story, An Act of War plunges the reader head first into the complexities of espionage and intrigue. Plots within plots, where the reader isn’t quite sure who is on whose side, but is left without any doubt that things are going to get interesting fast.

It was a little hard for me to get into this one in the beginning. It was excellently written, but quite overwhelming to the uninitiated. At times I found it hard to keep track of what was going on and who to rally behind. This was less of a problem as the story went along. An Act of War receives an 8 out of 10.

Let’s Dance!, by David Weber

Beyond measure, this is my favorite story in the collection. The balance of protocol, action, and characterization gently immersed me in the universe from the beginning and carried me through to the end effortlessly. I felt the moral dilemmas and hard choices in a very real sense, and appreciated the way that the characters and their inner motivations were not lost amidst the action. The sense of accountability stressed throughout was both refreshing and well done. Tightly woven and immensely enjoyable.

As a personal aside, being a person who appreciates animals as both companions and characters, I was particularly pleased with the interaction between Honor and Nimitz, and the manner in which the treecat was a fully active presence in the story, rather than a prop.

Here is where I shamefully admit that this was my first encounter with the Honorverse (though by all means I was previously aware of it). I can assure you, it will not be the last time I enter that space. Let’s Dance! receives a 10 out of 10.

In addition to the three stories above, the collection includes two other aspects to thrill and delight the tech-heads among the Honorverse following. The first is a scholarly extract: An Introduction to Modern Starship Armor Design. So well-done it gave me flashbacks from my years of doing production work on symposium volumes. The second is a companion Appendix of Armor Design schematics. These each receive a 10 out of 10 for thoroughness and attention to detail.

This collection was action packed without sacrificing a character-driven plot that keeps the reader connected. The military and political aspects were well-portrayed and the tech was clearly extensively thought out. It was easy to lose myself in the rich backdrop of the Honorverse, without losing sight of the characters I quickly came to care about. This collection receives a 9 out of 10 overall.



FTC 16 CFR Part 255 Discloser:
Solicited by, with no compensation beyond a review copy of the book.

Copyright ©2011 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved.


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