David Weber and Steve White’s Crusade isn’t actually set in the Honor Harrington universe, but it might as well be. There are superdreadnoughts whose heavy weaponry can smash battlecruisers; new fighter carriers that are changing the face of space battle; advanced new ECMs that can give a decided edge in battle to ships possessing them; warp points that are defended by heavily armed fortresses; and ship’s shields that have a weak point in the rear. Oh, and there are dastardly liberal politicians who venally weaken defenses, an honorable enemy commander who is competent and decent unlike the rest of his fanatical comrades, the spunky get-it-done officer acting above her pay grade to save a system, and lots and lots of battles

Okay, sure, there’s also a race of Kilrathi/Klingon/Kzin aliens (the Orions), and a more Earth-centric history, but that’s just dressing. No, the real difference between this and an Honor book is that there’s no Honor here. This is actually a bigger deal than you’d think, because Honor is practically the only detailed character in the Honor books, and they don’t promote anyone up to protagonist status in her absence. So what we have is a book peopled by thinly-drawn characters whose personality is largely limited to a single adjective, often backed by an accent (there’s Russian guy, Scottish guy, old guy, cat guy, female guy, and that’s really about it).

Fortunately, the book realizes that we’re reading not for the characters but for the spaceships, and the entire book — with maybe a paragraph here and there as an exception — is all about the battles. It is relentlessly focused, far more so than the Honor books ever were. The result is a book that is far trashier than the already pretty trashy Honor books, and objectively not really as good as the Honor books; and yet, if you’ve got an urge for big space battles, Dave Weber is your guy, and this’ll do just fine.


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