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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2001
Note to people unfamiliar with David Weber series. This book takes places in the universe of the Honor Harrington series (which started with On Basilisk Station). One of the stories, A Whiff of Grapeshot, might give more background into the series than one might like until after Honor Among Enemies, and the last part of the book gives general background into the universe, including history, politics and technology. For these reasons, the overall value of this book for non-fans of the series is rather low.
For the *fans* of the series, on the other hand, there are three reasons to buy this book.
First, the first tale, A Beautiful Friendship, tells the story of the first contact between human and treecats, a six-legged arboreal telepath sentient being alien being with some very feline features. Insights into treecat's culture and abilities, the story of the first adoption, and why do 'cats like celery so much, all of that you'll find here. It also shows that some of Honor's ancestors could give her a good run for her money. :-)
Second, the third tale, tell us of some events that happen at the beginning of In Enemy hands, on the side of The People's Republic of Haven, which are only refered to in that book, never described. Insight into Haven's leadership minds.
Third, the last section of the book, is a pretty deep background on the physics of space travel in HH universe, how the universe was colonized, history, geography and politics of the Kingdom of Manticore, history and some politics of the Solarian League and the People's Republic of Haven and comments on the military capabilities of Peeps and Manties at the beginning of the conflict. It covers nothing of what happens after the beginning of the series, nothing about treecats and nothing about Silesian Confederacy or the Andermani Empire. Moreover, all the really important notes are already in the series. Still, for those who just MUST know everything there is to know about the series, it has interesting details.
David Drake's story is a disppointment, though. While the story has a few remarks to link it to HH universe, you would just have to change a few names and one would NEVER find any relation between this story and that universe. I suppose the story might be good, but this is just not Honor Harrington universe.
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on June 12, 1998
If you've managed to read any of my other reviews, you know I staunchly support Honor, and the military necsseties. Now, we have 1 story by DF Weber, in which he introduces the treecats as more than Honor's quizzical, mischeveous emotional guru. Learn a little something intruiging about the Harrington lineage too.. 1 story from David Drake, which starts out making me wonder if anything interesting could possibly occur, then it does. Better than the Slammers even. 1 story from SM Stirling, who may have abandoned the 5th millennium of his own creation, but writes quite well in Honor's. If SM Stirling wrote for the Peeps, and DF Weber wrote for the Manties, there'd be hell to pay on both sides, something akin to 2 of Niven & Pournelle's Motie warriors duking it out. No survivors. They're that good. Not to spoil it for you, but if things evolve from Stirlings contribution, God help the Manties. Either that, or the Peeps may actually be salvageable after all. Read it. For the warm fuzzies of the first story, the triumph of the second, or the bitter hope of the third.
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on March 2, 1998
Read this book for the first short story: Why commando raids to obtain small amounts of a plant? Treecats give new meanings to the words: telepath, spy, caution. This even explains why treecats can be sentient, but never bothered to come down from the 'trees.'
David Drake didn't bother to read any of the HH stories before mailing his garbage in. Read any WW1 'white man's burden' story instead, you'll feel better. (Drake's idea of making the Manties look good is to insult them less than his other characters.) He offers an excuse at the end: Parts of the story actually happened in Egypt long ago. I guess this makes it God's fault?
S.M. Stirling did read the books, an excellent emulation. He manages to make the PRH leadership into worthwhile people, with courage, strenght and problems.. After all, Honor needs 'great' enemies to overcome..
The last part is by Weber again, and is a condensed history. Some rehash of the HH appendixes, but much is new: How the Solarian league and Haven came to be.
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on December 29, 1997
This paperback contains three short stories, only one of which is written by David Weber. This book DOES NOT continue the current storyline with Honor Harrington, as in the other Honor books. Instead, the stories in this book are set in the Honor universe, but do not contain any details about Honor herself.

I especially enjoyed the first story, by Weber, which detailed the story of the first partnership between Treecat and Human, as hinted at by Honor in a previous book. While more of a "light" read than his other stories, I found it completely enjoyable. You learn quite a bit more about Treecats, since the story is told partially from their point of view.

The other two stories were good as well, and expanded our knowledge of the HH Universe, but I didn't think they were quite as exciting as some of Mr. Weber's work. However, the stories are enjoyable, and point out the fact that there is plenty of room for other tales besides those of Honor Harrington.

The last section is quite a treat, at least if you are a person who loves detailed pseudo-histories of fictional universes. Mr. Weber has taken the time to share some of his detailed notes with us, in the form of historical accountings and explanations of everything from how the Kingdom of Manticore was founded (complete with working details of the Manticore Government), to technology and space travel. If you enjoyed his other technical discussions in previous books, you will want to get this book.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, it helped ease the yearning for the next book in the Honor series, and helped expand my understanding and enjoyment of the series. A good book and a good read.
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on August 21, 1998
Many Honor Harrington readers become rabid fans in short order.
Often, for fans like these there can never be enough of a series to keep them happy, but this collaberative effort does more than offer a quick "Honor fix." The book offers three short stories and an essay, none of which are *about* Admiral Harrington herself, but all of which are entertaining and informative.
The essay is by David Webber (the stories are by Webber and other notable authors, Drake and Stirling) and sheds a great deal of light on the details of the history, politics, science, and geography of the universe of the RMN... It is well thought through, entertaining, and fairly complete, the sort of details that will make any universe even more enjoyable to a thorough, intelligent reader.
Although not an Honor Harrington book per se, this addition to the list of Webber's publications is well worth the while for anyone interested in who Honor is and where she comes from.
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on October 21, 2002
This was a decent book. The stories, on the whole were entertaining. I very much enjoyed learning about the Levellers. Though, I was surprised that Mr. Weber chose to explain the story outside the main book series.
Weber expanded the universal history somewhat from the original appendix included with Honor's first book. I personally liked it, but it might not be for everyone.
Unfortunately, I cannot get past Stirling's inclusion. Let's see: it didn't take on an offshoot storyline, it didn't touch on any major characters, it doesn't include any previously referenced planets... Oh, and I especially liked his little note at the end explaining that he took his story's inspiration from actual events. I get this image of him sitting at his PC/typewriter with a smug look on his face, toasting himself with brandy, thinking, "I'm so clever. They will love to wallow in my intelligence." Bah.
A (mostly) tasty tidbit of a book.
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on December 21, 1997
The 3 stories were well written in themselves, but the only thing connecting them to Honor is that they are in Weber's galaxy including Manticore and the Peeps. Weber's short story was interesting since it explained the treecats. The others were just stories that seemed to throw in a mention of Manticore or the Peeps to be published in the book. Honor's name was never even included except for a technical "brief" by Weber explaining how the ships work and the planets' politics, etc. I use the term "brief" since it was closer to a military briefing than a story. If you love Honor and are hoping to find out what happens next in her life, don't bother with this book. If you're looking for a decent read of short stories by some good authors, go for it.
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on May 22, 2000
Most of this is very good. David Weber's story about the first human adopted by a treecat was great; nothing like what I expected when I bought the book, but I found his story quite charming and interesting. Unfortuneately, Drake, another of my favorite authors, seeems way below his usual standards. The story just sort of drags malong to it's dull anticlimax. Fortuneately, Stirling's story more than makes up for, giving an interesting look at the PRH government situation. Stirling also shows that he shares Weber's skill at making the bad guys seem human and make them, if not likable, at least understandable. Weber's article at the end about the universes history, technology, etc. was vry interesting as well. A worthy purchase over all.
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on July 10, 1998
I spent 23 years in the military. I am a woman. I met many fine officers who just happened to be women. I have often been saddened because there were no fictional depictions of female warriors which showed the truth. The truth is simply that the best of the woman and the best of the men who lead us have mostly the same charecteristics and mannerisms. BRAVO to David Weber for gifting a real woman charecter with real military charecteristics! The concepts of honor, duty, and courage are no different once taught to any soldier. THANK YOU for telling the simple truth that a good leader, a good soldier, a fine warrior, simply is - regardless of sex, race, creed, or missing body parts!
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on April 7, 2000
First off, this book is an invitation to share in the universe of Honor Stephanie Harrington. No more, no less.
The first story is background, the beginning of the relationship between men and treecats.
The second story is David Drake being funny again. (See his `All The Way To The Gallows' to see him REALLY being funny.)
Steve Stirling's `A Whiff Of Grapeshot' is truly significant background, because it gives an insight into the character of Esther McQueen and how she was able to accomplish her victories in `Echoes Of Honor.' In `Flag In Exile' and `Honor Among Enemies', she was just a name. `A Whiff Of Grapeshot' made her a person.
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