Like a Mighty Army (Safehold)
by David Weber
Cover Artist: Stephan Youll
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765321565
Date: 04 February 2014 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The forces of the Church of God Awaiting were delayed, but now are preparing for another big push. The Empire of Charis and its new Ally Siddarmark are slowly recovering from the initial push of the Church forces. The coming battles will become bloodier and more horrifying than any imagined. The death tolls are large and climbing. When the fighting is over the hatred will be hard to overcome.
Merlin Athrawes is being stretched to the limit. With demands on his time growing and the battles becoming more personal, he is left to question his choices. At times he has become as brutal as the forces he fights to overcome. He cannot be in two places at one time, even though he can travel much more quickly than most people.
Caleb and Sharleyan are bringing the many realms that now make up the Charisian Empire together. Through adoption, marriage, and aid they tie the various people together. The Church has plans to stop this integration. Special agents that are being sent out with missions--secretly with no contact with anyone. This secrecy prevents OWL's drones from discovering the plots before they bear fruit. This endangers the heads of state and the members of their families.
The Church is adapting. Clyntyn is granting waivers to some of the most fundamental doctrines in order to win this war. The Group of Four, once completely under the thumb of Clyntyn, is now slowly developing separate agendas. There may even be unknown contingencies if the Temple comes under direct attack.
I always explain the Safehold Series as Age of Sail Science Fiction. While most of the technology is sail level, there are still some very advanced pieces of technology in play. By the time of LAMA, the technology is closer to industrial revolution, with the quirks that are based on the limitations created by the Archangels. The blending of the two tech levels in a structured and logical manner is what I enjoy. My wife on the other hand enjoys the comeuppance that the Church is facing.
The addition of the newest character late in the novel, heralds changes for Merlin. I can't really discuss how I feel this will impact the coming novels without spoiling the new character, and this is something that should come to readers from reading, not from me. But I can say, the war and world will be different going forward.
This is the seventh novel in the Safehold Series. The series will run at least nine books, subject to change based on the realities of writing the final two books. There is still a lot of ground to cover. The Church has some very large armies still in the field, and their gear is improving with each passing week. That gear is generally not as good as that of the Charisians, but quantity has a quality all of its own. As a later novel in a series, it is not the best starting place for people new to the series. But there are hours of enjoyment to be gained by reading the whole series. As I enjoy this series, I am ready for it to end and hopefully a new series or solo novel that details the next war between humans and the Gbaba.
I am a big fan of Weber's writing. He is great at action and battle scenes whether they be on land, sea, in air, or space. His detailed action scenes bring readers onto the battlefield.