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Torch of Freedom (Honorverse) by David Weber
Cover Artist: David Mattingly
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781439133057
Date: 17 November 2009 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Honor isn't everything. Set in the Honorverse, Torch of Freedom follows the exploits of characters other than Honor Harrington. It is the second book of the Wages of Sin series. It continues to follow the exploits of those affiliated with Queen Berry of Torch and their fight against the slavers of Mesa.

At the edges of the civilized world, on an amusement station, the arrival of a team of Torch antislavery agents starts the chain of events that will change the universe forever. Trapped on the station is a family that is down on its luck. Their obscurity makes them the perfect agents to infiltrate Mesa and discover what is really going on.

Mesa is home of the Manpower, the genetic slave corporation. Haven and Manticore are two of the most active opponents of the slave trade. Their opposition is costing Manpower money. So it is no surprise that they want to keep them away. The secret ruling cabal of Mesa, the Alignment, is killing high ranking Manticorans, and Havenites while trying to stir up trouble for both with the Solarian League. Readers will learn more about their plans and organization.

It was a bit different to see Haven and Manticore working together. But this is laying the foundation for future activities. I can envision a future when Haven and Manticore work together to defend against an attack by the Solar League. The Solarian Navy will receive quite a surprise when they face two navies that have spent years at war and refining their technology.

Torch is part of the Honorverse. Readers need to be at least basically familiar with several of the Honor Harrington novels as well as the other three books in the Wages and Saganami series. Fortunately, there are legions of fans of Honor Harrington that are familiar with the universe and can easily pick up and enjoy this novel.

Although not part of the main Honor Harrington storyline, this series as well as the Saganami series add to the overall knowledge of areas that haven't been developed in the main plot. The two series are running concurrently, which adds some confusion. Events that are mentioned in one book are flushed out in another. With a heroine that doesn't stay anywhere long, other characters are needed to develop and fill in the areas that are barely touched. This is a good way to help pass the time until the next mainline book comes out this summer.

I prefer the main Honor books, but this was still pretty good. Flint and Weber have worked together many times and have a good rapport. The CD-ROM that was included was loaded with interesting material. The sample chapters were a good sample of Baen materials. Readers should make sure to check it out.

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