After reading David Weber’s Off Armageddon Reef and By Schism Rent Asunder, I realize that I was both unfair and misguided to ascribe the flaws of those Weber/White collaborations to Weber. It’s clear in retrospect that Steve White must be the guy who wrote 90% of those books. Because, right, Weber writes unrealistic characters, but they are at least interesting; and he maybe isn’t a brilliant stylist, but his writing is far, far better than the hacktacular hackathon that was those books.

But for all that, he’s still Dave Weber, which means that these books start off with a giant spaceship battle between humans and implacable aliens. Interestingly, though, that’s just a framing device, and without giving too much away, the actual action happens in a low-tech planet isolated from galactic goings-on. So, whereas the ’onor ’arrington novels feature Napoleonic ship combat in space, this one features… Napoleonic ship combat at sea.

Yes, really. One of the nations in this book is explicitly described as being at a tech level similar to that of England in the 18th century. Which just goes to prove that no matter where you are in the galaxy or what year it is, it’s always time for some good ol’-fashioned Napoleonic combat. The three inevitable things in David Weber’s universes are death, taxes, and broadsides.

At any rate, though, if you’d enjoy reading a SFnal treatment of the Age of Fighting Sail, one focused on the development and deployment of military technologies and featuring a superhuman omnicompetent protagonist, well, these are your books. (As a warning, they are part of an ongoing series that is not completed, but they’re reasonably satisfying to read standalone; about on par with the ‘arrington books that way.)


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