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Midst Toil and Tribulation (Safehold) by…

Midst Toil and Tribulation (Safehold) (edition 2013)

by David Weber

Series: Safehold (6)

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345647,216 (3.69)8
Title:Midst Toil and Tribulation (Safehold)
Authors:David Weber
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2013), Mass Market Paperback, 816 pages
Collections:Your library

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Midst Toil and Tribulation by David Weber



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The 6th installment in the Safehold series continues the ongoing war between the Kingdom of Charis, ruled by the heroes of the story, Cayleb and Sharleyan; and the Church and their supporters. Charis has the edge in naval skill and technology, the Church controls mighty armies and is building a new navy.
I mostly enjoy this series for its underlying backstory - that this last is the last human refuge, hiding from aliens who wiped out all other humans. Technology is kept at a pre-electronics level deliberately to avoid detection - but is that the right strategy and what to do about the Church that has become corrupt and evil?
Unfortunately this series is very long and drawn out, it would be better if it was much shorter. ( )
  Karlstar | Nov 20, 2017 |
This is one of the series I've been reading that I'm probably going to stop following.

I love the premise, with its combination of sf and alternative history. The clash between the corrupt but ruling Church and more progressive- or Protestant- beliefs is well-handled, and in light of many current politics, the struggle between fundamentalism and tolerance is timely.

A problem is that while this is the world in which things are happening, each individual novel seems to get longer and more tedious, with less actual progress to any resolutions of the basic plot arcs.

An additional problem is the writing itself.

The novel before this one spent excruciating amounts of time and pages detailing the intricate minutiae of sailing tall ships. There was not a glossary, or any help at all for those of us who know practically nothing about such matters and don't care; I was skipping 20 pages at a time, often.

This one does a similar thing with military tactics and armaments. I cannot keep them straight, and reading every last detail of a n engagement is boring.

And- the writing makes it especially boring. One chapter will contain the POVs of both sides of the combat- and it is practically impossible to figure out who is on which side. This is due to the cast of thousands- though there is a glossary in the back to help one keep trqack of all the various characters, it is not much help when their names are misspelled in one place or the other.

And, my gods, the name misspellings! While most of the characters have names that, sounded out, are normal northern European names... they are not spelled thus. "y" takes the place of almost any vowel, except where it would make the name easier to read, in which case Weber uses "ai" or such. "zh" reliably subs for "j", among others. And ALWAYS add a few gratuitous "h"s, just in case someone is not as confused! I suppose Weber found this very clever, especially since he was thus able to name a ruler "Norman Bates"! The reality is, these weirdo name spellings make it pretty much impossible to keep many of the characters straight- especially since he will refer to them randomly using their first name, their surname, and/or their title and/or military position!

It does not help at all that every single person with any dialog here sounds exactly the same- the cadence, the cliches, the word choices- all are identical between one and another.

It is also ridiculous that the Good Guys seem to have utterly NO discord in their ranks. All agree on the common good and enthusiastically support it! NO infighting, slightly different agendas, or anything else gritty to be seen! Having the Bad Guys engage in torture and rape does not really make up for this (although to be fair, these are mostly not intricately described).

This was over 500 pages of narrative. I think the gist could and should have been covered in maybe 200. All the military minutia, like the tall ships minutia in the preceding novel, remind me of the claim that Melville was paid by the word and so stuck a whaling treatise in the middle of Moby Dick.

I do not recommend the series, but if you are keen despite this, do not start with this book- it will make no sense. ( )
  cissa | Mar 7, 2016 |
Okay, I'm seriously pissed at the author, David Weber. I feel like he screwed me and every other reader over in a big way. What an ass!

In the last book of this Safehold series, the Church of God Awakening had led a rebellion in neighboring Siddarmark, resulting in the deaths of millions and a brutal civil war. Armies all over the world were poised to invade that country and the Church's own army was going to invade, complete with its Inquisitors, who would torture and kill any "heretics" they found. Siddarmark was in deep, deep trouble. However, the Charisian Empire was about to come to its aid. Its army of some 80,000 troops was preparing to go to Siddarmark with superior weapons to stabilize the country and defend it against the invading armies.

Okay, that was the end of the last book. This book, Midst Toil and Tribulation, finds armies all over the world invading Siddarmark with zillions of casualties and countless atrocities. My paperback copy of the book is over 800 pages long. At the beginning of the book, the Charisian general is preparing, again, to take his army to Siddarmark to save it. And while I'm reading this book, I keep waiting for it to happen. And waiting and waiting. Meanwhile, the Temple Loyalists have an army of over 55,000 men, the Desnarians have a large army, the Dohlarians have a huge army of probably 100,000 troops, the Harchong Empire will be sending an army with over a MILLION troops, and the Church's own army has about 120,000 troops. Siddarmark has some tens of thousands of troops left. Charis sends 7,500 troops to defend part of the country. 7,500. And they send 13,000 more for another defense. That's it. So, all of what's left of loyal Siddarmark people and their government are waiting for the main Charisian army to come to their aid. Of course, 80,000 troops don't seem like much against the odds they're facing, but they do have superior weapons and artillery, so who knows? The last 150 pages are pretty action packed and were real page turners, but as I got to about 100 pages left, I suddenly knew. I KNEW! In this book, the Charisian army NEVER SHOWS THE FUCK UP!!! That's ALL that's supposed to happen from the last book, dammit! That's all that's supposed to happen through the whole of this book. And it never fucking happens. Dammit! Weber is such a fucking asshole! Excuse my language, but I am SO SICK of him writing 800 page books only to be left with cliff hangers leading readers to have to wait for sequels, in this case, TWO sequels. Damn him! Will the fucking army even appear in the next fucking book? WTF??? Why is he such an asshole? He's just making shitloads of money hand over fist from his readers who resent him, but who are addicted to the story, like me. I'm so pissed.

This was actually a five star book. Excellent book. But since the entire premise of the book never even occurred, that dropped the rating to about a two in my eyes. So I'm lavishly giving it four stars. Grudgingly.

In this book, we see the young prince of Corisonde and his older sister struggle with their spiritual life and be given generous terms by Charis. We also see the betrothal of Iyrs, the sister, to Emperor Cayleb's adopted son, Hektor. However, that story line, which is interesting, is dropped halfway through the book, which also ticked me off.

We also see continued advances in technology and weapons, particularly with the invention of the steam engine. This results in the invention of something along the lines of an ironclad ship, which is used by the Charisians to devastating effect against the Temple Loyalists and the Church's army. There's a lot of action in this book, but a lot of it is redundant and becomes boring. How often can you see invading armies line up in force against Siddarmarkian pikemen who get butchered before you want to move on? Merlin plays more of a role in this book than in the last one, which is good. He has uploaded the late Nahrmann into a computerized VR world to continue acting in his spymaster capacity. He also struggles with his role in killing people. Apparently, even PICAs have a conscience. He's tired of the killing, even though he knows he has to. The ironclads go up a canal and destroy all 57 locks, making it impossible for the Church's army to support its troops, so action is effectively ended for a year, until the following spring. Maybe by then, the damn Charisian army will have come to Siddarmark. I don't know. I halfway doubt it.

Weber's a great writer with great story telling capabilities, but he takes his damn time, with each book in the series representing one year. At this rate, I doubt I'll have finished the series and find out what happens by the time I die, and that pisses me off too. And he has many faults, some of which I've pointed out in previous Safehold reviews. They still exist in this book and probably in all future books. But the story is awesome and addictive. If only he would pick up the pace. Damn, is that too much to ask of the man? Recommended, grudgingly, but only if you've read the series in order beginning with the first one. ( )
  scottcholstad | Sep 10, 2015 |
Not my favourite of the Safehold books so far. Took forever to get going, and once it did, it was a fairly underwhelming. Mostly, it felt like he was laying the groundwork for later novels in the series. ( )
  hal200 | Jul 7, 2015 |
Another good addition to the cycle. Good progress in the story with strong military action. It does get a bit confusing with the various locations at times since the frontlines are pretty fluid/varied. ( )
  Guide2 | Dec 9, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Weberprimary authorall editionscalculated
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When the Republic of Siddermark is threatened by wars triggered by the Charis kingdom's declaration of independence from the Church of God Awaiting, Vicar Clytahn, King Cayleb, Queen Sharleyan and Merlin Arthawes struggle to prevent widespread starvationwhile protecting their people from violent attacks.… (more)

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