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Torch of Freedom [Hardcover]

David Weber , Eric Flint
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 17 2009 Honorverse
The Direct Sequel to Crown of Slaves. Two New York Times Best-Selling Authors Again Join Forces in a New Novel in David Weber’s Honor Harrington Universe.     

As the slavemasters of Mesa plot against the Star Empire of Manticore and the newly liberated slave planet of Torch, Anton Zilwicki and the notorious Havenite secret agent Victor Cachat set off on a dangerous mission to uncover the truth concerning a wave of mysterious assassinations that have been launched against Manticore and Torch. Most people are sure that the Republic of Haven is behind the assassinations, but Zilwicki and Cachat suspect others of being the guilty party.

      Queen Berry of Torch was one of the targets of the unknown assassins. The former head of the Ballroom slave liberation organization, Jeremy X—now one of Torch's top officials, but still considered by many the most dangerous terrorist in the galaxy—calls in some past favors owed to him. In response, a security officer from Beowulf arrives in Torch to take charge of Queen Berry's security—a task made doubly difficult by the young monarch's resentment of bodyguards and the security officer's own growing attachment to her.

      Meanwhile, powerful forces in the Solarian League are maneuvering against each other to gain the upper hand in what they all expect to be an explosive crisis that threatens the very existence of the League itself.

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About the Author

David Weber is author of the New York Times best-selling Honor Harrington series as well as In Fury Born and other popular novels. With Steve White, he is the author of Insurrection, Crusade, In Death Ground, and the New York Times best seller The Shiva Option, all novels based on his Starfire SF  strategy game.

 

Eric Flint, with  David Drake, has written six popular in the Belisarius series, now being reissued in hardcover omnibus volumes, and with David Weber collaborated on 1633 and 1634: The Baltic War, novels in the Ring of Fire series and on Crown of Slaves, the prequel to Torch of Freedom and a best of the year pick by Publishers Weekly. Flint received his masters degree in history from UCLA and was for many years a labor union activist. He lives in East Chicago, IL with his wife and is working on more books in the best-selling Ring of Fire series.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starting to fill in the blanks Dec 15 2009
Format:Hardcover
Torch of FreedomThis was one of the slowest of Mr. Weber's books I have read yet. Pages & pages of conversation, with all the action occuring in the final 10% of the book.
That Mesa and Manpower are, as usual, up to no good, and ploting some incredably destructive move on the rest of the Galaxie is stated, but not a hint of what's going to happen.
With the time period between the publication of Honor Harrington books, the reader is somewhat frustrated at the wait to see what is actually going to happen.
I am looking forward to the New Honor Harrinton book due next year, which hopefully, will fill in some of the blanks.
I would personally also like to see further Prince Roger stories, which Mr Weber cowrote with John Ringo.

Alex Turner
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast pace and entertaining characters. Feb. 24 2014
By MommaHi
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although I have never even started on the Honor Carrington series by David Weber for a variety of reasons, I enjoyed this book (the second in the Honorverse series if you can call it that) as much as I did the first offering -- Crown of Slaves. The action is fast and just when I thought perhaps too many plot lines had been introduced because I was starting to wonder when the action would return to the one that I was expecting when I downloaded the book, things came full circle and the web of connections began to tighten up.

I'm not a huge fan of strictly military type stories, even if they are sci-fi, but I enjoy spy vs. spy capers and this book showcases the talents of two spies that are regularly described as the creme de la creme of spies and counter-espionage workers. David Weber's choice of names for the far-flung planets that the action takes place on and around --Erewhon for one plus Jeremy X as the leader of the Audubon Ballroom -- gave me some good mental chuckles as I raced through the action .

I'd recommend this for all who like novels of the early Tom Clancy genre. Although I found some of the descriptions of the military engagements a little on the tedious side, they were easy enough to skim through in order to keep the basic thread of who was thrashing who and who they probably were affiliated with without entirely losing the thread of the basic story itself.

I had read Crown of Slaves much earlier and now think that I should probably go back and read it again, if nothing else I should probably reread them both in order so that I can follow the political machinations more easily.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disapointing sequel Jan. 27 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed the first Torch book "Crown of Slaves" but this universe is too slow paced to keep me interested. I work in an office so I don't want to read about other people's meetings.

I have given up on this series. Anyone want to buy this hardcover cheap?
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let justice be done, though the heavens fall. Dec 15 2009
Format:Hardcover
A very good book. Three men; a good man in the service of evil he is only now awaking to, a cynical opportunist who can't believe he's willing to die for a slave's freedom, and a walking nightmare who knows he fights for the right. History and the course of empires will turn on three people who have to decide if they are willing to see the heavens fall to see justice done.Torch of Freedom
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  83 reviews
71 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weber back to his strengths, with help from Flint Nov. 18 2009
By Marcy L. Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For me, there's a real tension between Davids Weber's strengths as a storyteller and the current state of Honor Harrington's life. Weber's strengths are exploring a person's or small group's heroism as they plug away at their own part of a grand unfolding series of events. That's the rich and heady broth on which the original Honor books were built, and a mighty fine edifice they are. However, the more successful Honor is, as a Navy officer in a nation at war, success is going to promote her off the command deck of her own ship, and even (as it has now) off the squadron flag deck. As she's become more a fleet commander and politician, the series has (of necessity) wandered away from its storytelling roots to become something larger and more epic. Honor is still a character I adore, but her stories are not the kind of space opera I like best, which comes down to individual actions within a larger scheme of things.

Additionally, as the action has progressed, there are now a ridiculous number of characters and theaters of action, far too many to track in one linear series of novels. Weber (and his partner in crime, Eric Flint) have wisely diversified the series to take advantage of both the storytelling opportunities and to wrestle the beast into something resembling coherent novel-sized pieces.

The books of the Honorverse now seem to have three main streams. One, of course, is the story of Honor, which I will keep reading, only because that's where the grand unfolding of the galactic history occurs (and because I adore Honor -- did I mention that?). Another is the books like The Shadow of Saganami (The Saganami Island) which can (and do) focus on the antics of a single starship or a small squadron of them -- this is the space opera where Weber truly shines. And finally, there is the espionage-based series of books that started with Crown of Slaves (Honor Harrington) and is continued in this book.

The three threads form one glorious, galaxy-wide saga that I wouldn't miss for the world. This book is a worthy addition to this fictional enterprise, a great deal of fun to read, and an interesting progression in the story as a whole. I'm not sure it stands alone -- while it does repeat some action from other books, there are also references to things that are not wholly explained (such as "what Harrington did to Giscard at Lovat").

However, as a piece of the puzzle, it's an excellent book. Since it focuses on individuals for the most part (and task forces at the largest), the action is firmly where Weber excels. Flint's presence seems to keep the exposition of new technology to small enough chunks that they go down fairly easily. It's clear that both authors have a great fondness for their characters (although they are not at all afraid to kill off those same characters when the plot demands it). If motivations are sometimes described with a heavy hand, the book makes up for such awkwardness with the breakneck pace of the action, the way in which various threads are brought together, and the tantilizing hints of future problems that are clearly having their groundwork laid.

There are small things to like about this book, too, one of which is an extended joke about how even well-educated people miss historical references all the time. Another is the way in which the friendship between Zilwicki and Cachat is handled realistically. And Palane has two moments which are still sticking with me even after finishing the book. Finally, there are all kinds of new characters, some of whom will undoubtedly rise to prominence as this franchise works it way to its grand conclusion (if there ever really is one).

If you like the Honorverse, this is a must-read. Rollicking good fun that advances the larger plot in intriguing ways.

If you've never read anything in the Honorverse, don't start with this. Go start with On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington). If you like that, keep reading. You'll get here soon enough, and when you do, you'll enjoy this book a lot more than if you read it cold.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mailing it In Dec 16 2011
By Luke Faxon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
First, and fair warning, <<SPOILIERS AHEAD!!!>>

Now, before I get too criticized, I like Weber in general, and the Honorverse in particular (although much like Patrick O'Brien and Forester themselves, Honor got too big, too fast, and so now the action has to be with secondary characters and series like this away from the main story arc!) I think "On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington)" is on a par with other classics of military Sci-Fi like Heinlein's "Starship Troopers," Drake's "Hammer's Slammers," or Pournelle's "Janissaries." And while the main arc books have been uneven, "War of Honor (Honor Harrington Series, Book 10)" is classic, "In Enemy Hands (Honor Harrington Series, Book 7)" not so much, overall there is a real compelling quality that makes you come back for more. In some ways the side projects, such as the short stories and "Cluster" books, are even better at times. So trust me, I am a fan. That said...

"Disappointing" and "insulting" seem too mild to describe this volume. First of all, the entire "Torch" arc is contrived far beyond the rest of the series. An improbable revolt on a slave planet that is somehow not massively guarded and protected, a teen queen (literally) plucked at random from another story line, ruthless slave terrorists who seem mild even compared to real ones today, a hodge-podge of cute but discordant "odds and ends" characters from the rest of the series, most of whom should have different agendas and priorties than they actually do... And so on. "I have a duty and interest in supporting a galactic power, but I think I will toss all of that away because Queen Berry is so sweet it's magnetic..." And the ridiculous inbred amusement park in space family is too, too, too much. Sorry. The creation of this plot line had to involve beer. A lot of it!

Everyone has already commented about the endless scripted conversations, tedious oratory, etc. Also, the editing is really slipping. One gets the impression the publisher wants a huge book, for us to pay for in hardcover, and using a copy editor would just impede the cash flow! In one chapter I read three different plot lines, all of which began with the same cliche! Seriously. The writing has become hackneyed and repetitive. I guess in the future all women will have "crooked smiles." (You think by then surgeons could correct that?) But where this book utterly fails is in what passes for action. Most of this is espionage. Weber excels when he is describing future space battles with a science of missile technology, ship speeds, etc., that are technically impressive, bordering on a Physics lesson. But get on the ground, especially in a covert setting, and he reverts to purely 20th Century plot devices that put one in mind of "Get Smart" or Hogan's Heroes." Apparently high tech future cultures will not have the facial recognition software, substance detectors, or advanced access controls that are already becoming common in the 21st Century. Need to penetrate the most secure research lab of a paranoid genetically-designed super-villain? Just get Cachat and Zilwicki (aka, Newkirk and LeBeau) to find some clever disguises and even more clever banter, and then just walk on in. Meanwhile back on the slave world, we have programmed assasins with poisons clever enough to defeat advanced security procedures, but slow enough to save the lives of all the main characters (again, thank heavens 20th Century nerve agents are no longer around.) And on, and on, and on. For me it's not that the book is tedious (it is), or wordy (it is), or even painfully contrived (it is.) It's simply that it is bad.

So why 2-stars? Well, because this comes (at least in hardcover) with a huge bonus: the Weber Honorverse CD with it seems to have most/all of his previous stuff, much of which is totally brilliant! So for the price of a bad hardcover (and it is now under $10 new), you essentially get a full library of much, much better books! That's a lot more value for your money, like $100s worth, and you get to see how truly good Weber can be (there's a reason these are all best sellers!) This book has the feeling of something Weber & Flint just "mailed in" to meet a publisher's deadline and maybe make a few tongue-in cheek jokes along the way to a paycheck. Both are capable of far better than this mess, so if you bought this book and were disappointed, please don't just pitch it away. Plug in that CD and see how good Weber can be when he is not just, "mailing it in."
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the strongest line in the current HonorverseThe planet Torch has overthrown its slave-holders and now the slaves run the July 28 2010
By booksforabuck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The planet Torch has overthrown its slave-holders and now the slaves run the planet and are inviting slaves from all over the galaxy to join them. Manpower, the company responsible for genetic slavery is angry but the slaves don't mind that...they seek to destroy Manpower and the horrible institution of slavery itself. Still, their ambitions exceed their military power, even though their teenage queen, Berry, is of the Manticore royal family and super-spy Victor Cachat of Haven intends to do what he can to preserve the young republic.

Although Manpower is a problem, Haven's analysts are beginning to pick up hints of a bigger issue. No company, not even one as big and bureaucratic as Manpower, would make the kind of decisions, the long term investments, that Manpower is making. Ultimately, Cachat and Anton Zilwicki decide they have to go to Mesa, where Manpower is headquartered, and determine who is playing Manpower like a puppet. That, not the company, is the real enemy. 'Everyone' knows that Mesa's military is a joke, that it isn't really a government at all but a coalition of the mega-corporations who own the planet. Of course, what everyone knows just might be what Mesa wants them to believe.

Within the Solarian League, factions battle for power and the Governor of the Maya Sector is developing a secret fleet...supposedly to protect his portion of the frontier against piracy, but actually with larger goals in mind. Another secret fleet, that of the Haven government in exile, is also in training, preparing to serve their Manpower paymasters in exchange for the equipment and supplies they need to take the war back to Haven, to throw out the counter-revolutionaries and set the revolution back on track.

Then there are the cutsy story lines. Queen Berry can't get a date. A group of teens from an orbital amusement park get to play spy. A wormhole probe goes horribly wrong. Treecats save the day. We even have a cameo appearance by Honor Harrington.

There's a lot to like and dislike about this story. Let's start with the likes. First, authors David Weber and Eric Flint do a good job making most of the primary actors sympathetic in the context of their goals and motivation. I thought the sections dealing with the Haven Fleet in Exile were particularly well done. While we know that State Security was a thug organization (consider the initials, after all), Weber/Flint help us understand the survivors, fighting what they know to be a lost cause when they could have chosen simply to slip away. Second, Weber/Flint look at terroristic action as something complex. Yes, the Audubon Ballroom uses terror tactics. Is terror justified in cases where the enemy has vastly more power and is also responsible for billions of humans being born into slavery? It's not a question that Weber/Flint actually answer (perhaps its a question that can't be answered), but it's the kind of question that should be posed in speculative fiction.

On the downside, we have the Weber/Flint style choice of informing the readers of everything through long paragraphs of dialogue. Perhaps in the future, people will talk like this, endlessly lecturing one another. It's not a future I look forward to. Then there are a number of threads that are begun but not really taken up in the context of this six hundred page volume. Was the whole wormhole section simply there to remind us that Mesa has deep plans? Or will it go somewhere in another volume? Did we really need the teens from the orbital amusement park? Will we see them again, or were they thrown in to give young readers someone to identify with? Does Queen Berry have to be so icky-sweet? And can we ever again have space battles that don't read like statistical tables (nine zillion missiles were launched. Two zillion went off target. Interceptors took care of another x zillion. Point defenses nearly finished them off, leaving only y zillion to slam into the battle cruiser, blasting it into oblivion.) I'm prepared to believe that future space battles will be statistics exercises. I'd just as soon skip the math and let the gunnery teams handle that, however.

Despite the flaws, I found TORCH OF FREEDOM worth the read. In fact, the anti-slavery side of the Honor Universe is now, from my standpoint, by far the most interesting line out there.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing addition to the series Jan. 8 2010
By Vickie T. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
You have no idea how much it pains me to give this book a lowly 3-star rating. I love Honor Harrington and the Honorverse and own all the books. Eric Flint is another of my favorite sci-fi authors. I don't know what happened with this book. Reading it was like trudging through a swamp. Page after page of people sitting around one conference, briefing, or dinner table or another droning on and on and on... The meat of this story could have been conveyed in a fraction of the total number of pages used and the extra exposition did not add to either the story or the reader's enjoyment.

I don't know what to tell you about whether or not you should read this book. If you follow the series, I guess maybe you need to read it in order to keep up with what is happening. I mean, I finished it, even though it was a tough slog, because I wanted to know what happened. On the other hand, you can probably get the gist of what happened in this book by just waiting and reading the next one in the series.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comes with a CD full of Weber ebooks Nov. 19 2009
By L. Eldred - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like many other Baen hardbacks, particularly other Weber novels, this comes with a CD full of ebooks. The books include all of the other Honor Harrington universe books (mainline, Saganami Island subseries, Manpower subseries, and anthologies) plus most (perhaps all) of his other Baen published books. Of course the Tor published Safehold series is not included. Still, there are about 40 books included in HTML, Word, Mobireader, Lit, EPUB, RTF, and LRF formats.

Nov 23 update: This novel, "Torch of Freedom," is not actually included on the disc as it was made before a suitable manuscript was available.

A nice bonus.
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