Hell's Foundations Quiver: Safehold
Tor, 2015 (2015)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ell's Foundations Quiver
is the eighth (
Like a Mighty Army
) in David Weber's
series, whose opening salvo left humanity on the brink of extinction by the ruthless alien Gbaba. Earth's survivors settled far, far away on the planet Safehold. Knowing the Gbaba would seek energy emissions, their leaders altered settlers' memories, turning them into believers in the Church of God Awaiting, which forbade innovation. Leaders employed technology to pose as archangels.
trong disagreements in leadership resulted in war in the heavens, won by the ultra conservative faction. But the good guys had a contingency plan - Lieutenant Commander Nimue Alban, who awoke as a Personality-Integrated Cybernetic Avatar (PICA), to act as an immortal guide to the colony. After Merlyn Athrawes intervened in the affairs of seafaring Charis, warfare erupted with Church leaders, which has continued through eight episodes now, each one a tome!
hough the Charis led coalition has been the underdog all along, the tide is finally turning in
Hell's Foundations Quiver
, hence the title. This allows Merlyn and his/her second self, Nimue, to occasionally intervene to help their own people who are being treated brutally and tortured by the Inquisition - these rescues were my favorite part of this episode. There is ever growing dissension among the Group of Four and the secrets of Safehold's and Merlyn's origins are being revealed to more and more people as time passes.
nly the most ardent fan could keep track of the huge number of players on Weber's immense
stage. I have to admit that I struggle with it. There are continual battles on land and at sea, good folk on both sides (excluding the fanatical Church leaders), and an arms race with constant technological innovation (ironic in that this is what the villains oppose) by all involved. If you enjoy military SF, then the
series will give you many days of entertaining reading.
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