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A Beautiful Friendship [Hardcover]

David Weber
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 4 2011 Star Kingdom
New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and international bestselling phenomenon David Weber delivers the first entry in an original young adult science fiction adventure series, the Star Kingdom saga! Young teen Stephanie Harrington forms a telepathic bond with an intelligent alien treecat on a pioneer planet—and must fight for the freedom of her new friend and his species against highly-placed enemies determined to claim the world for humans only.

            Stephanie Harrington always expected to be a forest ranger on her homeworld of Meyerdahl . . . until her parents relocated to the frontier planet of Sphinx in the far distant Star Kingdom of Manticore. It should have been the perfect new home --- a virgin wilderness full of new species of every sort, just waiting to be discovered. But Sphinx is a far more dangerous place than ultra-civilized Meyerdahl, and Stephanie’s explorations come to a sudden halt when her parents lay down the law: no trips into the bush without adult supervision!

            Yet Stephanie is a young woman determined to make discoveries, and the biggest one of all awaits her: an intelligent alien species.

            The forest-dwelling treecats are small, cute, smart, and have a pronounced taste for celery. And they are also very, very deadly when they or their friends are threatened . . . as Stephanie discovers when she comes face-to-face with Sphinx’s most lethal predator after a hang-gliding accident.

            But her discoveries are only beginning, for the treecats are also telepathic and able to bond with certain humans, and Stephanie’s find --- and her first-of-its kind bond with the treecat Climbs Quickly --- land both of them in a fresh torrent of danger. Galactic-sized wealth is at stake, and Stephanie and the treecats are squarely in the path of highly-placed enemies determined to make sure the planet Sphinx remains entirely in human hands, even if that means the extermination of another thinking species.

            Unfortunately for those enemies, the treecats have saved Stephanie Harrington’s life. She owes them . . . and Stephanie is a young woman who stands by her friends.

            Which means things are about to get very interesting on Sphinx.

About A Beautiful Friendship:
“It’s rare to find teen science fiction that strays beyond popular dystopian fare. The environmental messages, human-animal friendship, humor, action, and inventive technology will make this series starter an easy hit. . . .”—Booklist

About David Weber and the Honor Harrington series:
“. . .everything you could want in a heroine….excellent…plenty of action.”—Science Fiction Age

“Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!”—Anne McCaffrey

“Compelling combat combined with engaging characters for a great space opera adventure.”—Locus

“Weber combines realistic, engaging characters with intelligent technological projection. . .Fans of this venerable space opera will rejoice. . .”—Publishers Weekly

Comprehensive Teacher's Guide available.

Frequently Bought Together

A Beautiful Friendship + Treecat Wars + Beginnings: Worlds of Honor 6
Price For All Three: CDN$ 49.91


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Product Description

About the Author

With over seven million copies of his books in print and seventeen titles on the New York Times bestseller list, David Weber is the science fiction publishing phenomenon of the new millennium. In the hugely-popular Honor Harrington series, the spirit of C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower and Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander lives on—into the galactic future. Books in the Honor Harrington and Honoverse series have appeared on fourteen best seller lists, including those of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today. While Weber is best known for his spirited, modern-minded space operas, he is also the creator of the Oath of Swords fantasy series and the Dahak saga, a science fiction and fantasy hybrid. Weber is has also engaged in a steady stream of bestselling collaborations including his Starfire Series with Steve White, which produced the New York Times bestseller The Shiva Option among others. Weber’s collaboration with alternate history master Eric Flint led to the bestselling 1634: The Baltic War, and his planetary adventure novels with military science fiction ace and multiple national best-seller John Ringo includes the blockbusters March to the Stars and We Few.  Finally, Weber’s teaming with Linda Evans produced the bestselling Multiverse series. David Weber makes his home in South Carolina with his wife and children.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Deaths Fangs Bane June 22 2014
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this story of a young Stephanie Harrington and Climbs Quickly, It definitely adds some background to Honor's family background. I found the Treecats to be very interesting..
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3.0 out of 5 stars interesting ideas, but insufficient development Jan. 22 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This raises interesting ideas, such as the problems of communication with another species, the ruthlessness of those eager to exploit the vulnerable, and the challenges facing talented young people trying to deal with envious peers and adults who cannot be fully trusted.
The trouble is that the novel really needs fuller and more careful development. It is trying to do too much, and consequently none of the issues is satisfactorily explored. One result is the weak structure, especially the abrupt shift between sections. It reads like a hastily thrown together book, written to fulfill a contract between other more pressing commitments. If I am doing Weber an injustice, I apologize, but Gordon R. Dickson did this sort of book better. And so, I am sure, can Weber if he takes more time over it. He is better on a broader canvas, like the Safehold Series.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  160 reviews
61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice introduction to the Honorverse for younger readers Aug. 7 2011
By Eohany - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
'A Beautiful Friendship' appeared previously in 'More than Honor', a short story collection. This is the expanded version with added detail and story. It happens in the same world as David Weber's Honorverse series, although this book is targeted towards a younger audience and takes place earlier in time. It describes the meeting of treecats and humans for the first time and the beginnings of their interactions. Stephanie Harrington is a 12 year old girl, newly arrived on the planet who's just a bit too precocious. Trying to keep her occupied and out of trouble, her parents convince her to find out what or who is stealing celery from gardens around the planet. Once she solves this mystery, a whole new range of problems open up as humans discover that there are sentient creatures already living on their new planet. Overall, it's a nice addition to the Honorverse backstory and even though it's intended for a YA audience, I think most adult Honor fans will enjoy it also. There were one or two oddly written sections where I feel the author glossed over important events, but as these events were previously written in the short story collection 'Worlds of Honor' in the story 'The Stray', it was only referenced here. 'The Stray' does helps flesh out the back story of Dr. MacDallan's own treecat history and I'd recommend it to those interested. There was obviously room for a sequel or two at the ending of the book and I think this will be an engaging series for younger readers interested in a strong, female protagonist.
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This what a YA book should be Aug. 8 2011
By Benjamin Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
David Weber's "Honorverse" currently consists of 12 novels in the Honor Harrington series (with the next one due to be published in 2012) plus 5 short story collections published in the "Worlds of Honor" anthologies. That huge amount of material is a great backstory with which to work and this first entry in a new Young Adult series starring one of Honor's ancesters takes full advantage.

Don't worry if you've never read any of the other books though. I've only recently read a couple and have enjoyed them so much that I want to keep on reading. This book, "A Beautiful Friendship" stands on its own completely, requiring no previous knowledge of the Honorverse.

The novel itself reads like a really good book. Notice I didn't say, "a really good YA book." True, the protagonist is a young teenage girl but that's about the only clue. The author doesn't "dumb down" or "age down" the story for younger readers. The adults in the novel do not go around acting like idiots, allowing the young characters to run the show, as you find in so many YA titles. Instead, we are treated to a nice, heartwarming 1st contact story filled with awe-inspiring scenes, dangerous moments, courageous multi-dimensional characters, etc...just what I like in a fine story. And the fact that it serves to expand my knowledge of the Honorverse is just an added bonus.

Looking forward to more in this series.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Outstanding Weber Aug. 4 2011
By wbentrim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber

Let me preface this by giving you my prejudice right up front, I am a major fan of David Weber and of anthropomorphism.

Anyone who has read the Honor Harrington books will recognize the name: Treecat. This book is Weber's entry into the Young Adult genre and it details first contact with the Treecats.

Weber may quantify this book as YA but it certainly reads as well and as interesting as all of his books. The characters are well defined and evoke positive emotions. I really enjoy the way Weber promotes loyalty, honor, responsibility and the rest of the Boy Scout motto.

Then there are the Treecats. If you have read any of my other reviews you have to be aware of how much I enjoy the interaction of minds between species. David Weber does it with such aplomb and panache that I sit in awe. Once again, Mr. Weber, you are an artist!

I highly recommend the book and not just for kids.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting premise and ideas...very sparsely written Aug. 15 2011
By Amber M. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
The idea of a human bond with a telepathic animal (especially an alien one) isn't really that new...Dragonriders of Pern was a huge part of my own childhood...however, a lot of the ideas in this book are really quite novel and fun to think about.

Some of the points I found most interesting as concepts:

1) That the telepathic People/treecats and the verbally communicative humans can not actually communicate with one another, even when bonded. So very different are their communication methods that although they can reach an understanding, direct communication is not (in this book anyway) possible. Treecats just cannot seem to comprehend sound language no matter how they try, nor can humans ever directly discern completely coherent thought from them. This leads to a lot of interesting cultural differences and really influences the way the two deal with each other.
2) Primitive hunter/gatherer alien society with highly advanced humans. Not all that novel...and yet much of my experience in sci-fi does not have humans this far ahead of the aliens it encounters (in fact, usually it's the opposite dichotomy). But this does lead to a really interesting exploration of that society figuring out how to deal with the humans...avoid them and hide? Contact them?
3) Dealing with the pets vs. sentient species conflict with a species that is so different its intelligence is hard to guage and which really does seem to hit the human sense of "small, cute, and petlike" and what that means.
4) Interesting details about an imaginary human past...exploration of planets, contact with other sentient species (although it would have been nice to know more...we really only find out about one that did not go well), differences in biology, climate, gravity, etc.
5) Interesting and acknowledged details about where humanity has advanced (sub-molecular edged knives) and where it either hasn't or has keep the "old" ways as superior (modern style bullet rifles)
6) Examination of very complex human natures both good and bad.

However...all that said, the book also left a lot to be desired, mostly because it tended to have a very jarring flow with "snippets" of story. There is a decent lead up right until the time that Stephanie/Death Bane's Fang (main female human character) and Climbs Quickly/Lionheart bond...then the story immediately jumps ahead 3-4 years, completely skipping over pretty much all of them getting to know each other, Climb's Quickly's recovery from serious injury, humanity's initial reaction to treecats, Climbs Quickly's reaction to being introduced to much of humanity's culture/technology/etc for the first time, integration with the families (Climbs Quickly into Stephanie's and, to a lesser extent, Stephanie's into his when they visit him). Then it jumps around from there until it settles on a plot. There are long (somewhat dragging parts...well written enough but enough sidetracking from the story they're not really as interesting as they could be) segues into hanggliding, riflery, and so on. There are tantalizing little glimpses of other stories in the background (one example is when an entire treecat clan gets wiped out and another human/treecat pair is tragically involved) but you don't get to actually learn a whole lot about these. Then it finally settles on a plot involving a corrupt pet dealer that seems a bit...trite and rushed toward an ending.

There are also quite a few questions for me that just don't feel right...perhaps because of the jarring pace of the story. I wonder the following questions:

1) Why do so few treecat/human bonds form? When Climbs Quickly's clan first saw his bond, it was agreed more should attempt it...yet in 4-5 years, only 3 bonds form.
2) Did Kane/Kale (whatever the other boy's name was...I don't recall) actually form a bond with his own treecat or not? It seemed to hint that maybe and then didn't clarify at the end.
3) What were the other sentient species meetings like?
4) How did Stephanie initially prove to people that treecats were intelligent when so few except Lionheart every publically emerged? (It does seem to become generally accepted, even if the degree is not)
5) Although treecats learn some things from the humans (farming) they seem completely indifferent to much of their technology (they admire it perhaps, but don't really seem to want it or emulate it...with his "hands" which are dexterous enough to do things like make nets, Climbs Quickly seems able, but you never really see him using any of the human tools). Why is that?
6) The bond isn't really fully fleshed out. It's implied that it's like but not the same as a bond that forms between treecats when they find mates. Stephanie is clearly not impaired from finding a romantic interest, but those treecats that bond (all two of them) seem like they might end up single...does the bond with a human interfere with finding a mate?
7) Can the treecats bond with anyone or just "special" humans with a bit of telepathic ability already? The Dr. (can't recall his name) who bonds with Fisher (other treecat) has ability. It's not really clear that Stephanie does although it's heavily implied that she's somehow more empathic (toward treecats though not really other humans). Does this imply that maybe a really strongly telepathic human really could break through the communication barrier with a future bondmate?

Really...I loved the concept and many of the ideas but it's the pacing and general lack of information (that's tantalizingly hinted at) that makes me give this 3 stars...it leaves both wanting and dissatisfied. Long well examined details on weaponry and side tangents, big gaps on things that seem like they could be key story line. You could fit a whole book in between the initial fight with the Death's Bane/Hexapuma when their bond is really discovered and where the story picks up years later... And then the fact that the main villain doesn't feel real whereas other characters are so well examined. It's just kind of odd.

One additional note of disappointment - I tried hard to imagine how a treecat would look being six legged. I couldn't even fully decide how they would stand or walk around most of the time (I mean that I could think of multiple ways but couldn't pick the "right" one so I ended up assuming them to be essentially 4 limbed versions of Puss in Boots most of the time when reading). This could be easily solved by showing me cover art that didn't hide half the treecat.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quality prequel Oct. 10 2011
By C. Cook - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I just finished the book. It was a delightful read. I have read ALL of the Honor Harringtion series at least twice, and this book did not disappoint. I do not think it is fair to base your review of this book on frustration over not getting a new Honor book recently. We all want a new book, but that alone does not make this book bad.

The story is interesting, and provides a needed background to the human/treecat relationship. No missles and battleships exploding, but enough action to satisfy me.

I want more books about Stephanie Harrington. She is an interesting character.
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