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A Mighty Fortress by David Weber
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A Mighty Fortress

by David Weber

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Safehold (4)

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5631526,400 (3.76)19
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» See also 19 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
I really enjoy military sci-fi, plus the 'world rebuilding' theme is a favorite of mine, so this series has some favorite themes. This one seemed to bog down a bit though. I realize from the scope of this series that it won't be resolved for a while, but most of this book seemed to be scene setting. The Charisian's advance their technology, slowly, while they consolidate their hold on Corisande and try to bring it into the Empire with a minimum of casualties. Obviously the author is drawing a lot on our recent experiences with nation building. I enjoy this series, but sometimes I wish it were a bit shorter. There are a lot of conversations with minor players that could be shorter. In general, its a fascinating 'world rebuilding' story., but moving too slowly. ( )
  Karlstar | Oct 29, 2017 |
Still enjoying the series. Still lots of characters with difficult names. ( )
  gregandlarry | Oct 3, 2015 |
Having just read the first book in the Manticore Ascendant sequence, turning to Weber's sole work shows once again how clearly the writer is floundering. The other with a co-writer who obviously did the lion's share, show where Weber's faults come out.

There were perhaps two subplots in this story that were interesting. The pacification of Corisande and the successful fleeing from the Gang of Four of the persecuted families. (There, Spoilers for the only good and complete parts of the book)

Otherwise the author uses 690 pages in Hardcover to fill a Gap Book in his series. We still have the enemy never winning. Always out gunned, though here in the few sea battles, they get in some licks and some of the named characters do die. Wait, we should discuss the named characters. Their names, family and surnames, are sounded out phonetically. The place names are spelled out as we would spell them, as is all the rest of their language. Where in the use and development of language does that occur? (Nowhere Weber. You came up with a stupid device and now we keep having to live with it)

Then there is the setup of a meeting. First we have to have the POV character fill us in on the background of the secretary that shows the guests into any meeting. Then we have to serve everyone food, drink, etc, and go through the small talk. Every word of it. Every time. At every meeting. Finally after 10 wasted pages for every meeting, they have a meeting that is much shorter in length but let me tell you how Weber will list every objection to the reason why a thing can't be done by saying My first Point, and then adding the Second Point I have is... Etc. Every time. Ad Nauseam.

And many of these meeting are repetitive plays on meetings held elsewhere. Then there is time and distance where sometimes a message will race ahead of people faster than the people who are traveling when no one else has travelled ahead of them. Reports arriving well after the reporter should as well or before that you can see the holes in that. As well as the distance of the world sometimes being adhered to and more often not being adhered to. Why care after setting something up if it interferes with the story.

But then here what is the story. It is the time after the conquering of Corismonde, and leading to a naval battle campaign. But a campaign that doesn't provide a finish. It is like telling about the Wars of Napoleon and discussing the period after Corunna when the British left Portugal before coming back with Wellington. That starts this book, and then you think perhaps the next book would wrap up when there was something decisive between Wellington and the French in Spain, but this work kind of ends after nothing conclusive after a few minor engagements with the French in Spain in 1810. Nearly 700 pages and still a lot more needs to be done before this war ends (and this is only book 4)

Clearly these books could be a 1/3rd the size for the story they told. That an EDITOR going through and cutting drastically all the nonessential stuff (What do you care who makes a better whiskey and how many times you need to hear those who like it) would improve this, as well as save on the cost of making the book, and perhaps save on the price people would pay for it.

Safehold is not a series to be reread, and perhaps not even be read once. ( )
  DWWilkin | Sep 6, 2015 |
Oh.My.God. I can't believe I finally finished this near-1200 page monster of a book! It was brutal at times. I usually try to write complete or thorough reviews after reading a book, but I'm afraid I won't for this one. Just too damn long, too damn much. So, a short review for a long book.

This is the fourth book in Weber's Safehold series. It's not a standalone book. You need to start with the first one and read them in order to know what's going on and who's who. In this book, the Empire of Charis is still defending itself from the Church of God Awaiting, which intends to destroy Charis. Emperor Cayleb and Empress Sharleyan are splitting their time between Charis and Chisholm, although they spend most of this book in Chisholm. They also have their first child, a girl, so they have produced an heir to the throne.

The Church's Group of Four (vicars), led by Grand Inquisitor Clyntahn, who is a raging insane maniac, decides to build a navy to attack Charis, so they pay the various mainland kingdoms to start building ships and armaments, as well as training seamen, for the attack. When they do attack, they will vastly outnumber Charis's fleet and it could be brutal.

Speaking of the Charisian navy, it's always been the best in the world, but the Dohlarians now have a navy of their own and they go out looking for Charisian galleons. And they kick the Charisians' asses. Of course, it was a 38-4 ship advantage, so look at it however you want to, but it was the first time Charis has ever lost a naval battle and the mystique is tarnished.

Meanwhile, the conquered princedom of Corisonde is producing rebels. One rebel priest and his goons torture and murder a popular priest and Merlin, who we don't see much of in this book, gives the authorities his location so that they can arrest he and his cronies and execute them. Of course, this infuriates the Group of Four. Additionally, there's an uprising in the making in the northern section of the country, but it's put down too.

The book drags in many places. It has slow plotting. It plods. It gets boring at times, for instance, when Coris has to go to Zion in the winter. That section could have been pared down by about 20 pages at least. There's not much action. Until you get to the very end. The Church finally has its navy and is joined by Harchong's puny navy, sailing to meet the Dohlar navy. Of course, because of Merlin and his technology, the Charisians know about this and they send most of their fleet to guard Chisholm, which they think is the intended destination. They also worry about the navies joining, because when that happens, there will be over 300 ships against Charis's 97. Not good odds. High Admiral Bryahn Lock Island takes 25 Charisian galleons, some with new weapons, to attack the Church's navy. It will be 25 Charisian ships against 130 Church ships. Terrible odds. The only thing he thinks he can do is to attack at night in a storm with driving rain, when the Church won't be expecting an attack. And he does. And he obliterates the first 14 Church ships before sailing into the teeth of the Church navy, taking heavy fire and casualties. But he gets his ships in the midst of the Church's navy and the galleons with the new weapons fire and a Church ship literally explodes! Everything they hit is blown to hell. It's not much of a fight. Most Church ships surrender. Only nine get away. Ninety three are taken by Charis, which itself has only eight ships left. And they have 60,000 Church prisoners now. It's a huge Charisian victory. Again. And that's where the book ends. And I had to know what happened after that, so I immediately started reading the next one. Which is where I am now.

Still, problems exist with the book. The names are still freaking ridiculous! First, there are too many in this book to keep track of. There's an index of them in the back of the book and I think there are close to 500 characters named in this book. That's freaking cruel. There's no way we can keep track of them all. Also, they all have titles! They're Baron this, Earl that, Prince this, Vicar that, Duke this, Bishop that. It's too much. And to make matters even worse, Weber writes the names in old English spelled phonetically so that the names are virtually unpronounceable and appear to look stupid as hell and interrupt the flow of the sentence or paragraph since you have to stop and try to figure out who or what this person is. It's damned ridiculous! It's insulting. It's stupid. I'm used to it now, since I've read four of these, but I still hate it.

Additionally, Weber likes to use certain words and phrases over and over again, beating them into your head until you want to rip your eyes out. People are constantly "baring their teeth." As I wrote in my review for the last book, Weber -- no one bares their damn teeth, moron!!! Dogs bare their teeth. Wolves bare their teeth. People don't bare their teeth. And certainly not multiple people on the same damn page. It ticks me off. He also likes to write that people "snort." Constantly. It's cute the first three dozen times he writes it, but after seeing it 100 times, you want to kill any character who freaking snorts. What are they -- horses?

The book also moves at a glacial pace. I think it covers about 11 months, give or take. At this rate, publishing one book a year, maybe the series will be finished by the time I die??? It's driving me insane. As everyone says, he needs an editor. Maybe three. Cause apparently he has none. They need to speed him up and cut down on the word count.

Weber is a talented writer. I have to be honest though, these books drive me crazy. The whole time I read them, I ask myself why I'm putting myself through this torture. But like many others, I'm addicted. It's a good story and well told. Just slow as hell and from too many points of view. I want to know what happens next and what happens ultimately. I just don't want to have to read 25 1000 page books to do it. This is a five star book in terms of quality that deserves three stars because of all of its faults and problems, so I'm giving it four stars. Cautiously recommended for those reading the series. ( )
  scottcholstad | Aug 25, 2015 |
I really like the characters and world but it seems like we are treading water in terms of advancing the plot. ( )
  GSB68 | May 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Weberprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mitchell, ElissaMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Bobbie Rice.
Wait for us, Grandmommy-in-law. We miss you,
but Sharon and I and the kids will be along.
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The struggle for human freedom continues as Merlin Athrawes and a handful of extraordinary human beings stand in the path of the Church of God Awaiting, which controls most of Safehold and has decreed the destruction of Charis and its young queen Sharleyan of Chisholm and her consort, young Cayleb Ahrmahk.… (more)

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