A Rising Thunder (Honor Harrington)
by David Weber
Cover Artist: David Mattingly
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781451638066
Date: 06 March 2012 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The twelfth main line Honor Harrington novel takes up where War of Honor leaves off. The Solarian League is preparing to respond to the recent situations with ever more force. The Star Empire is recalling commercial ships and closing wormholes to Sollie ships. As the two sides slip closer to war, the crew that was on Mesa is finally returning. The knowledge they bring provides an opportunity to end one war and prevent another. In addition, the cats have decided to get more involved in interstellar events, and their unique abilities allow for more trust and a chance to mitigate the control virus used by the Mesan Alignment.
Honor is in this novel, even though it takes a while for her to appear. There is a large amount of set up events that show the escalation of actions. Her special position will help her and her home worlds recover from the recent attack on their infrastructure by the secret Mesan Alignment.
The planet Beowolf is in a unique position. They are members of the Solarian League, but have very close ties with Manticore. The wormhole junction makes them close allies, as has Manticorian support for the crusade against genetic slavery. Beowolf must choose who to support and how. Their choice will have a great impact on the fallout from the planned Sollie attack on the Star Empire's home system as well as the Solarian League.
As a later book in a series, this is not a recommended starting point. Fortunately Baen is very generous in providing a lot of the older books in digital formats on publicity CDs. Readers should plan to read the two Honorverse books written with Eric Flint that lead to Cachet and Zilwicke’s adventures on Mesa.
Honor Harrington is a little bit Hornblower and a little bit Nelson. Her rise through the ranks is covered in the many books of this series. This rise happens during the course of a 20 plus years war. This series is worth reading. The pace is fast moving, and the plot thickens as tension between the Star Kingdom and Solarian League escalates.
I joked that it took a while for Honor to appear, 120 pages actually. This made me feel like the series had drifted too far from the focus on her. I recalled earlier novels revolving more around Honor and her adventures. I went back a reread the first seven novels, and the earlier books had a lot of non-Honor chapters, they just didn’t come stacked early in the books. Sometimes you remember what you want and gloss over the past, and that is what happened to me.
I look forward to the continuing action in forthcoming novels as the Manticorian Alliance squares off against the Sollies and the Mesan Alignment. The Solarian perspectives added a lot to the understanding of all of the subplots. But there is still a ton to come.