Shadow of Victory (Honor Harrington)
by David Weber
Cover Artist: David Mattingly
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476781822
Date: 01 November 2016 List Price $28.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
In the course of a long series, sometimes there is a need to reset and let all of the characters catch up. Shadow of Victory is one of these resets. With other sideline series developing the plots, Weber needed a chance to bring everything back into alignment.
The Mesan Alignment has had a long term plan to take control of the Galaxy. The long slow game has allowed it to create layer over layer of complexity and involvement. There has always been a plan to pull out of Mesa without a trace. Their plans have been pushed up.
Manticore and Haven know that their strings have been pulled, but the next plan to set the Solarian League against Manticore has started. This leads the Crown and Navy to become more aggressive in expanding influence and range.
In the background of these moves are people on planets who have been suppressed by their leaders with the tacit support of the Solarian League's Frontier Office. The Mesan Alignment sees an opportunity to make Manticore look bad by fomenting strife and promising Manticore's support. When the revolutions fail, Manticore will be blamed and have more difficulty expanding.
Shadow of Victory is the Crossroads of Twilight of the Honorverse. Not much happens. Most of the events in this novel have been detailed in a better way in the earlier volumes of the series or in the offshoot novels. Because it recovers so much of the ground of earlier action, it is an okay entry point for new readers. One of my difficulties in reading the novel was that it was covering so much older material that I was confused as to where in time the action was taking place.
I didn't enjoy this Weber novel as much as I typically do his work. It is for new readers or completists only. Just as fans of the Wheel of Time had to suffer through Crossroads of Twilight, fans of the Honorverse suffer through Shadow of Victory. My hope is that in the coming volumes, the action will pick up and there will be more Honor Harrington. The diffuse nature of the action takes away from the story. Weber is at his best when he focuses on a character and develops them and their story. When he went from focuses to global, he lost a little something.
I recommend fans skip this one and wait for the next volume or pick up the Manticore Ascendent series where the action is focused in a way that allows Weber to shine.