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A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber
Cover Artist: Daniel Dos Santos
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781451637472
Date: 04 October 2011 List Price $18.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Hundreds of years before Honor Harrington made waves in the Royal Navy, another Harrington was stirring the mix on Sphinx. Stephanie Harrington is a recent arrival on Sphinx and likes challenges. She is into hang gliding, exploring the estate, and solving mysteries. There have been a rash of thefts, celery is going missing and nobody knows why. Enter a precocious teenage Stephanie who sets a trap, and her discovery will change the course of the Kingdom of Manticore forever.

No Honorverse story would be complete without someone trying to do something nefarious, and the trend continues here. The intelligence and uniqueness of treecats creates a demand for them on the black market for exotic animals. The trapper is very good at his job, and missing treecats begin to worry the Rangers. The rangers and treecats are stumped, but that doesnít faze Stephanie and wonít stop her from protecting her friends and family.

This is a young adult adventure set in the Honor Harrington Universe. The focus is on young Stephanie and the main action all takes place on Sphinx. As a prequel, this is a good entry point for people unfamiliar with the other books.

Fans of the other Honorverse books, will find a lot to enjoy here. Adults should not be scared off by the YA label. This trip into the past shows what the Kingdom of Manticore was like before endless war with Haven. Honorís young ancestor shows the seeds that will reach growth with Honor centuries later. Readers will also see the first meetings between treecats and humans. Additionally readers will get to see extensive treecat POVs.

I am a fan of David Weberís work, and this is no exception. This YA prequel works for me. I liked the action that had nothing to do with a war. The fights were localized, with nature being one of the major challenges that Stephanie needs to overcome. In some respects it reminds me a little of the boy and his dog classics, like Where the Red Fern Grows or Big Red. Thus it is different from what has come before, not better, not worse, but definitely different.

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