David Weber’s Safehold series has been, like his other long series, uneven. It starts off really fun, with lots of great history-of-technology stuff, Napoleonic-era battles, and fast-moving plots. But then it falls into the failure modes that Weber is prone to—characters who sit around congratulating themselves for being awesome, and lots of planning and talking and very little actual doing.

The good news is, the three most recent books—How Firm a Foundation, Midst Toil and Tribulation, and Like a Mighty Army—are back on the right side of the quality ledger. Technology is still being developed furiously (by the last of these books, they’re up to Spanish-American War technology), there are plenty of battles that are actually shown rather than just being discussed onscreen at length, and in general the books read like the pulpy fun they should be.

I’m still not clear about how this series gets to a sensible endpoint—I mean, the initial premise is that ultra-high-tech humanity was destroyed by these super-powerful aliens, and now they’re rebuilding from a near-medieval tech base, so even if they’ve gotten up to the late 19th century, it seems like it’d take them another 20-30 books at this rate to get up to magic futuretech.

But as long as Weber keeps the books as good as these, I’m along for the ride. (Oh, let’s be honest: Even if he doesn’t. I’m in the tank here.)


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