Friday, October 10, 2014

Worlds of Honor: 6: Beginnings review



This week I decided to review Beginnings, the sixth volume in the Worlds of Honor short story anthology series, set in David Weber’s Honorverse. The first story is "By the Book" by Charles E. Gannon. It is by far the earliest story in the setting so far, taking place more than sixteen centuries before the setting’s main series. The story follows Lee Strong, the commander of an Earth Union patrol cutter as his rescue of a hijacked liner and investigation into the hijacking, followed by a suspicious explosion at a colony where then Union’s sublight interstellar vessels are, but it leads to the discovery a conspiracy that could alter humanity’s future forever.  The second story is "A Call to Arms" by Timothy Zahn, It stars Travis Long, and serves as an introduction to the Manticore Ascendant series, which is set a few centuries before the main series. Lieutenant Long finds himself transferred to a newly refitted light cruiser after reprimanding the favored nephew of an admiral. He struggles to adjust to his new ship and captain, but even as elements of Parliament are trying to reduce the Manticoran Navy, a megacorporation hires a mercenary fleet to seize control of the Manticore system and the light cruiser Long serves on finds itself in the path of the attack. Next is "Beauty and the Beast" by David Weber which shows the first meeting of the parents of Honor Harrington, the heroine of the main series. But this isn’t a peaceful story at all as Alfred Harrington is forced to launch a one-man assault to rescue his future bride Allison who has been kidnapped by forces seeking to use her to blackmail her brother into committing treason. Next is "Best Laid Plans," also by David Weber. This story covers the first meeting of Honor, and the Treecat Laughs Brightly, later known Nimitz. The story starts with Honor travelling into the woods in search of flowers for her mother’s birthday while Laughs Brightly and his younger brother are traveling through the area gathering supplies for their clan to use through the coming winter. They sense Honor’s presence through their empathic sense but soon realize she is heading towards a pair of large predators and their children, and an attempt to warn her away soon becomes a desperate battle for survival.  The last story is "Obligated Service" by Joelle Presby. It follows Claire Bedlam Lecroix who is among the first Grayson native female officer candidates. She finds herself struggling to complete her training assigned to a ship that’s been undergoing refit for a year, and a captain who has little interest in training her, or the rest of his crew. She finds herself transferred to another vessel where the training is harder but soon finds herself struggling as she prefers tech training to tactical and many of the crew become ill after the ship’s chief medical officer ignores her advice on maintaining his equipment. Than Claire is thrust into the heart of search and rescue efforts after a massive attack cripples the Grayson shipbuilding industry by destroying the space stations containing the system’s shipyards and a variety of facilities, followed by a struggle against the head of her family who is trying to have her recalled home.
I give the collection an 8 out of 10. It does a wonderful job of providing a wide variety of stories within the setting, and even the ones which I didn’t expect to enjoy much had their good moments. I am kind of annoyed by one thing though. I hate when the back covers of books lie about the contents of the book and this one definitely does that. The back cover states there is a story within it which stars Honor as a Commander in the Royal Manticoran Navyn but the only story Honor appears in is set before she even enters training, much less becomes a commander. And by the time of the only other story in the collection set during Honor’s lifetime, she’s an admiral.


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