I really enjoy this series. When Weber and Eric Flint get together, they are better than the sum of their parts. Victor Cachat and Anton Zilwicki are best appreciated as a superspy buddy comedy, something like Lethal Weapon with spies in space.
This book is no exception, and here, facing off against the shadowy Mesan Alignment, is where the real action of the later Honorverse books is taking place. This book finds our heroes on the ground when the Alignment activates Houdini, their plan to disappear, and they learn just how bad these bad guys really are.
I like that Weber and Flint try to humanize these bad guys, though. The Space Nazis have families, and they really believe they’re doing the “right thing.” They are the heroes of their own story, and it’s a good object lesson. Fascists look just like everybody else. They go to church and the PTA. They can be really nice to the people they consider to be full humans; they just disregard the humanity of anybody that doesn’t fit their definition of that, whether it’s about melanin content, like on our world, or whether it’s about the “right” combination of designer genes, like in this book.
It’s an excellent illustration of Nazi double-think. Detweiler and the rest of the Alignment really believe themselves to be superior humans, because they have chosen the combination of genetic modifications that they’ve imposed on the very genetic slaves they’ve abused over the centuries. In other words, there’s no real difference between the “masters” and the “slaves”; a truth every Nazi fears in their heart of hearts.
I have one complaint, and that is that Weber and Flint spend more time telling us that Cachat and Zilwicki are superspies than they do showing us. They can be forgiven, though, because they showed us enough of that in the last two books and related stories. The real hero of this novel is Thandi Palane, and she is amazing!
Also, it was nice to get a better feel for how the Beowulfian Biological Survey Corps (not a survey corps; more like Special Forces Marines) actually work.
An excellent addition to one of my favourite series.
I’ve started my True Chronological Reading of the Last 10 Honorverse Books, as I said I would in the last couple of Honorverse reviews I did. You can check it out at the link above!