Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Mighty Fortress-David Weber

A Mighty Fortress
David Weber
Tor, Apr 2010, $27.99
ISBN: 9780765315052

Not yet thirty years old, many believe that Cayleb Ahrmahk is the greatest naval officer in history. His victories are legendary as he defeated handily the combined forces of five princedoms. On a personal level, his success at sea enabled him to meet, court, and marry Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm. On Safehold, the pair forge the Charisian Empire built on his naval prowess.

However, their most powerful adversary on Safehold, Church of God Awaiting, has declared the regime’s rulers heretics and must be destroyed. Their first endeavor failed as the Church faithful failed to use the technology of the Charisian Empire. The second assault is an armada unlike anything in the history of Safehold. However, their foes do not have warrior-monk named Merlin Athrawes on their side. Merlin is the cybernetic avatar of a long dead female Nimue Alban, who died while watching the Terran Federation on numerous planets destroyed; Safehold is the last human stronghold and inadvertently the Church is leading the final extinction.

The latest Safehold science fiction thriller (see By Heresies Distressed) is a great continuation of the struggle for First Amendment type rights and freedoms from a church controlling society. The world of Safehold is incredibly developed as readers obtain a deep look at a culture run by a religious dominated caste system that compares unfavorably to the freedom of the relatively small Charisian Empire. With a strong cast (though the hero feels like a Harrington clone) fans will relish David Weber’s powerful condemnation of church equals state; or for that matter any oligopoly controlling all aspects of society by oppressing freedom.

Harriet Klausner

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