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More than Honor by David Weber (ed.)
Published by Baen Books
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
In this volume, David Weber presents three novellas set in the universe of Honor Harrington. However, none of them deal directly with Honor herself. Instead they deal with backstory of the universe.
David Weber's own contribution, "A Beautiful Friendship," deals with an indicent that Honor alluded to -- the discovery of the treecats by one of her distant ancestors, Stephanie Harrington. However, we don't get only the humanocentric side of the story. We also get to see it from the viewpoint of the treecats, and in particular of Climbs Quckly, the treecat who adopted her.
David Drake's contribution, "The Grand Tour," is based loosely upon the archeology of the Near East during the time of the Napoleonic Wars. The protagonist, Sir Hakon Nessler, is a Manticorian nobleman and a dilettante archaeologist. He has come to a world called Hope, at the edge of nowhere, to view a ruin known as the Six Crystal Pillars. It is one of the mysterious artefacts left behind by a vanished race of starfarers known to humanity as the Alphans, because they are believed to have been the galaxy's first space-based civilization. However, warfare and human greed threaten to destroy the ruins and whatever secrets they may contain.
"A Whiff of Grapeshot" by S. M. Stirling deals with the Leveller Uprising on Haven, and how it was brutally put down at the cost of untold millions of lives. This is one of the most dark and uncompromising stories in the collection, dealing as it does almost entirely with the villains of the series. As such, it has no really sympathetic characters, only ones who are less distasteful.
In addition, there is a lengthy essay by David Weber on the background of the Honor Harrington universe, and in particular the technological and political infrastructure of the societies in the novels. Here for the first time we see the full story of how the colonists of Manticore transformed their society into a constitutional monarchy, loosely modeled upon that of the United Kingdom, but with certain elements clearly drawn from American precedents (for instance, there are no sacerdotal overtones to kingship, and there is even a provision for the impeachment of a king turned criminal).
Table of Contents
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Review posted December 28, 2000
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