The Shadow of Saganami
Baen, 2005 (2004)
Reviewed by Theresa Ichino
ith this volume, Weber launches his
series. Fans of this talented and prolific writer will be familiar with the name, for Saganami Island is the site of the Star Kingdom of Manticore's naval academy. In Chapter One, Dame Honor Harrington herself addresses the graduating class; and we learn the story behind its name. Edward Saganami's legacy of service, to fight and if necessary to die in protect those they defend, is a heavy responsibility indeed.
nder the command of Captain Aivars Terekhov, heavy cruiser HMS Hexapuma (named for a vicious predator native to the Star Kingdom) is sent on what appears to be a dull assignment far from the theatres of war. The planets of the Talbott Cluster have applied to be integrated into the Star Kingdom; and with an overwhelming popular vote in favour of integration, the duty of '
showing the flag
' seems a mere formality. However, as Weber has shown before, political machinations are more deadly than weapons of war. Opposition forces organize armed resistance, and behind the scenes an unknown enemy adds fuel to the fire for his own unscrupulous ends.
exapuma's people are brutally tested, and their enemies will find they are worthy successors to Saganami. There are old acquaintances amongst the crew, including newly graduated midshipwoman Helen Zilwicki (whom we have met before in
Crown of Slaves
From the Highlands
Changer of Worlds
), and Lt. Abigail Hearns of the Grayson Space Navy (
Service of the Sword
Worlds of Honor
#4). Weber juggles a very large cast, as well as complicated politics and social backgrounds, with consummate skill. (He does provide a character list to help track the cast.)
he Shadow of Saganami
is a captivating read. The author has chosen to illuminate another part of his richly detailed universe. Fans of Honor Harrington will find threads providing continuity and links to Honor's world. It is a hard time for the Queen and her people, for the Star Kingdom is beset by enemies, the most insidious of whom are the cowardly and corrupt within her own borders. Weber excels in showing the stark contrast between the latter and those who are true to duty and honour.
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