This book is a lot of things at once. The first half of it is a romance novel. Which is excellent; after all, fans of the series have been following Honor’s relationship for maybe four or five books now, so it’s nice to see where it might go. Also, gotta give kudos to Weber; obviously United Methodism is a lot less antiquated than some other forms of Protestantism, because this former lay preacher manages to write an amazing, committed polyfidelitous trio that is ethical, honourable, and works (note for the polyamorous people who might be reading this review.)
The second half is concerned mostly with the politics of the war, punctuated with skirmishes as Honor leads Eighth Fleet (a cobbled-together raiding force) to attack the Republic of Haven and keep them busy in the hopes that it will give the Manticoran Star Kingdom and their allies enough time to build the fleet they don’t have to fight the Peeps. What the kicker is about this is that Haven didn’t really want to go to war, but they felt they had no choice but to resume hostilities; and they now realize that both they and Manticore have been manipulated into fighting each other though the actions of an unknown third power, but since they can’t prove it, they have no way of stopping the war through diplomatic means.
The end result is a lot of escalation, and people being forced into difficult positions that force them to act against their desires or instincts. And I can’t give you any more without enormous spoilers, so I won’t do that to you.
A lot of things remain up in the air at the end of the book. And I will do this much – I’ll warn you that Weber is not afraid to break some eggs to make his omelet. It’s tear-jerking stuff at some points; hard to do in a high-action, military sci-fi novel.
A great edition to the series, and a turning point. The only reason it didn’t get five stars from me is that once again, I find some of the text to be heavily bogged down in the info-dump details; but again, it won’t deter me from reading the next one.