David Weber is a science fiction phenomenon. His popular Honor Harrington space-opera adventures are "New York Times" bestsellers and can't come out fast enough for his devoted readers. Weber and his wife Sharon live in South Carolina.
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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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