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Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber
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Off Armageddon Reef (original 2007; edition 2007)

by David Weber

Series: Safehold (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,022258,311 (3.85)37
Member:tajohnson
Title:Off Armageddon Reef
Authors:David Weber
Info:Tor Books (2007), Edition: 1st, Kindle Edition, 608 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**
Tags:Sci-Fi, AB

Work details

Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber (2007)

2009 (4) android (4) androids (4) audiobook (5) Book 1 (7) ebook (17) fantasy (10) fiction (76) hardcover (17) HC (4) military (14) military sf (18) naval (4) novel (8) own (6) paperback (5) politics (5) post-apocalyptic (5) read (12) religion (12) Safehold (41) science fiction (230) series (5) sf (47) sff (12) signed (7) space opera (14) theocracy (5) to-read (15) unread (16)
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    theapparatus: When I was reading this book, I kept thinking how much it was like the compute game Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
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» See also 37 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
In Off Armageddon Reef we have an advance human society pushed to the brink of extinction and forced to live without the benefits of modern technology in a last ditch effort to survive. Not only do they draw the line at pre-industrial revolution levels of technology but this idea of technological stagnation is culturally programmed to ever person on the planet. When a holdover from the past gets dropped into the equation the entire world is turned upside down. It is an amazing premise and really gives Weber a lot to work with. You have all the benefits of a solid sci-fi story mixed with a kind of historical fiction that just works.

While the writing of the book is as top notch as always the pacing is where some problems start to creep in. The pacing of this book is somewhat different then Weber’s other works. While there is a good deal of very exciting action, including an amazingly epic finale, the book at times grinds to a very long winded halt. The political landscape that Weber has built is extremely complex and he spends a lot of time on the politics. There are large sections of the book that it feels more like a political thriller then sci-fi novel. Not that it makes the book bad as it does add an interesting level to the conflict, but if you prefer action packed science fiction then this is not the book for you.

While I recognize the slower than normal pace of Off Armageddon Reef might off-put some people it didn’t bother me too much, but I also enjoy political thrillers. The other complaint however did get to me. Weber had some interesting ideas about language drift during the hundreds of years people were living prior to Nimue’s return. The problem is this doesn’t work well for the reader. Weber has Nimue and the reader compensate for the language throughout the book except for peoples name. So you get fully understandable and readable dialog told by people with names like Bryahan (Brian) and Nahrmahn (Norman). It is fairly distracting and I was never able to cope with it.

That being said, I loved this book. The age of sail navel battles, the political intrigue, the meshing of sci-fi and classical technology, it all worked for me. This is a series I cannot get enough of and I hope Weber keeps it going for some time.

Read Extended Review ( )
  TStarnes | Sep 30, 2013 |
Excellent science fiction...fine example of SF's ability to ask what if. In this case, what if a space-faring humanity meets an alien race that destroys any other civilization they find? Humanity is almost extinct, but manages to hide one colony world. To enable Safehold's survival, the colonists have implanted memories that their world was created by God and his Archangels. Holy Writ sets out technologies that are proscribed, and Holy Mother Church has the Inquisition as its enforcers.

The side opposed to this invented religion were all killed - except one human-like robot that survives with the memories of Nimue, and is awakened 900 years after the founding of Safehold. Nimue transforms into Merlin, and Merlin uses his technology in hidden ways to help the kingdom of Charis, a place where human innovation is beginning to recover.

Weber has done a really marvelous job of world building. Given the premise, the world he describes is believable, and it is believable that these characters would have come from this culture. The good guys are extraordinary and use both their reason and their heart. They are believable, however, in that in any world there will be some people who are superlative. The bad guys are, more than anything, the result of one institution having far too much power and having been corrupted thereby. And by their lights they are acting to preserve the culture handed to them by God.

It is a pleasure to read a work so well-crafted and imagined. I have the next book in hand and anticipate more wonderful reading. Mark, I owe you a dinner or something for introducing me to this author. ( )
1 vote reannon | Jan 28, 2012 |
Jul11:

Characters: There are a shit ton of them. Frankly, I find them all enjoyable. And that's *very* hard to achieve. Bravo.

Plot: Quite amazing depth. I love how many different levels are working at the same time. Additionally, the action scenes involved were stupendous as well. Including the naval battles.

Style: Almost old-school sci-fi. There are many places were he pauses to give background on production in the middle ages or naval warefar. And yet I find myself reading and enjoying these sections anyway. ( )
  Isamoor | Aug 8, 2011 |
I looked forward to reading this series, hoping for the warmth and interest of characters that David Weber gave us in Honor Harrington. I haven't yet found it here. Interesting idea for a world: deliberately low-tech and designed to remain so by the overwhelming authority of the official religion. I like where this is going. I wish that we had been given a lot more of what's going on in the thoughts and feelings of Merlin, that would make him more appealing. I hope that comes in the next book.

The beginning and the end were captivating and really held my interest. I admit to getting bogged down in the middle and putting the book down for a couple weeks, just not interested in a couple hundred pages of how to build these ships. Overall, though, I enjoyed the book enough to go on to the next one. I think there's the potential for some really good reading ahead.

Pet peeve -- what is with all the weird spelling of names? For a book that has so many characters, some of them referred to by titles as well as names, having to sound out stupid-looking spellings of names makes it much harder to keep the people straight. ( )
  TerriBooks | Jul 31, 2011 |
The start of what looks like a new series, and every bit as engaging as the Honor Harrington set. Poor Honor has been beaten up so much; it's time for a new character. Well, this is a new world.

David Weber has envisaged a low tech world - made so by deliberate design of the last humans fleeing annihilation by mysterious aliens. Our hero, umm, heroine, umm, whatever, awakens after 750 years to discover that a coup among the founders has sent the original plans awry. The aliens are forgotten, and a powerful church hierarchy enforces proscriptions on new knowledge.

We have political skullduggery, naval battles to rival Hornblower, a touch of high tech magic, an enlightened monarch, sea monsters and alien lizard fauna, and a dash of Arthurian legend. Good fun for those who like their military SF or their naval battles from the age of sail. The Kingdom of Charis expects that every man will do his duty... Features almost zero women (like Hornblower), but Weber hints that this will change in future.

One minor jarring feature is the names on this world: people seem to have been named by trailer trash on meth. Zhaspyr, Braidee, Bynzhamyn, Gahvyn, Olyvyr... Yeah, yeah, so there's been a language shift, but everybody speaks English so why do just the weird names? ( )
1 vote cajela | Jan 16, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
This series is closer to fantasy than the overtly science fictional Honor Harrington series, but they are both Napoleonic in their different ways. Those for whom this is a plus will find a great deal to enjoy here. It’s a lot of fun—and seeing the mechanics of how the universe has been wound up is part of what makes it fun, even if it does have me muttering that some people really will do anything to justify writing a Napoleonic sea-battle
added by Shortride | editTor.com, Jo Walton (Aug 25, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Weberprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harris, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765315009, Hardcover)

Humanity pushed its way to the stars - and encountered the Gbaba, a ruthless alien race that nearly wiped us out.
 
Earth and her colonies are now smoldering ruins, and the few survivors have fled to distant, Earth-like Safehold, to try to rebuild.  But the Gbaba can detect the emissions of an industrial civilization, so the human rulers of Safehold have taken extraordinary measures: with mind control and hidden high technology, they've built a religion in which every Safeholdian believes, a religion designed to keep Safehold society medieval forever.
 
800 years pass. In a hidden chamber on Safehold, an android from the far human past awakens. This "rebirth" was set in motion centuries before, by a faction that opposed shackling humanity with a concocted religion. Via automated recordings, "Nimue" - or, rather, the android with the memories of Lieutenant Commander Nimue Alban - is told her fate: she will emerge into Safeholdian society, suitably disguised, and begin the process of provoking the technological progress which the Church of God Awaiting has worked for centuries to prevent. 
 
Nothing about this will be easy. To better deal with a medieval society, "Nimue" takes a new gender and a new name, "Merlin."  His formidable powers and  access to caches of hidden high technology will need to be carefully concealed.  And he'll need to find a base of operations, a Safeholdian country that's just a little more freewheeling, a little less orthodox, a little more open to the new.
 
And thus Merlin comes to Charis, a mid-sized kingdom with a talent for naval warfare. He plans to make the acquaintance of King Haarahld and Crown Prince Cayleb, and maybe, just maybe, kick off a new era of invention.  Which is bound to draw the attention of the Church…and, inevitably, lead to war.
 
It's going to be a long, long process.  And it's going to be the can't-miss SF epic of the decade.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:25 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Humanity pushed its way to the stars and encountered the Gbaba, a ruthless alien race that nearly wiped us out. Earth and her colonies are now smoldering ruins, and the few survivors have fled to distant, Earth-like Safehold, to try to rebuild. But the Gbaba can detect the emissions of an industrial civilization, so the human rulers of Safehold have taken extraordinary measures: with mind control and hidden high technology, theyve built a religion in which every Safeholdian believes, a religion designed to keep Safehold society medieval forever. 800 years pass. In a hidden chamber on Safehold, an android from the far human past awakens. This rebirth was set in motion centuries before, by a faction that opposed shackling humanity with a concocted religion. Via automated recordings, Nimue or, rather, the android with the memories of Lieutenant Commander Nimue Alban is told her fate: she will emerge into Safeholdian society, suitably disguised, and begin the process of provoking the technological progress which the Church of God Awaiting has worked for centuries to prevent. Nothing about this will be easy. To better deal with a medieval society, Nimue takes a new gender and a new name, Merlin. His formidable powers and access to caches of hidden high technology will need to be carefully concealed. And hell need to find a base of operations, a Safeholdian country thats just a little more freewheeling, a little less orthodox, a little more open to the new. And thus Merlin comes to Charis, a mid-sized kingdom with a talent for naval warfare. He plans to make the acquaintance of King Haarahld and Crown Prince Cayleb, and maybe, just maybe, kick off a new era of invention. Which is bound to draw the attention of the Churchand, inevitably, lead to war. Its going to be a long, long process. And its going to be the cant-miss SF epic of the decade.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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