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Off Armageddon Reef (Safehold) [Kindle Edition]

David Weber
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $8.99
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Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

Humanity pushed its way to the stars - and encountered the Gbaba, a ruthless alien race that nearly wiped us out.
 
Earth and her colonies are now smoldering ruins, and the few survivors have fled to distant, Earth-like Safehold, to try to rebuild.  But the Gbaba can detect the emissions of an industrial civilization, so the human rulers of Safehold have taken extraordinary measures: with mind control and hidden high technology, they've built a religion in which every Safeholdian believes, a religion designed to keep Safehold society medieval forever.
 
800 years pass. In a hidden chamber on Safehold, an android from the far human past awakens. This "rebirth" was set in motion centuries before, by a faction that opposed shackling humanity with a concocted religion. Via automated recordings, "Nimue" - or, rather, the android with the memories of Lieutenant Commander Nimue Alban - is told her fate: she will emerge into Safeholdian society, suitably disguised, and begin the process of provoking the technological progress which the Church of God Awaiting has worked for centuries to prevent. 
 
Nothing about this will be easy. To better deal with a medieval society, "Nimue" takes a new gender and a new name, "Merlin."  His formidable powers and  access to caches of hidden high technology will need to be carefully concealed.  And he'll need to find a base of operations, a Safeholdian country that's just a little more freewheeling, a little less orthodox, a little more open to the new.
 
And thus Merlin comes to Charis, a mid-sized kingdom with a talent for naval warfare. He plans to make the acquaintance of King Haarahld and Crown Prince Cayleb, and maybe, just maybe, kick off a new era of invention.  Which is bound to draw the attention of the Church…and, inevitably, lead to war.
 
It's going to be a long, long process.  And it's going to be the can't-miss SF epic of the decade.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Weber's latest opus is a complex tale of action and intrigue set early in the 25th century, hundreds of years after the near total annihilation of humanity by the Gbaba, an alien race hell-bent on eradicating humans from the universe. After decades of war and facing certain defeat, the last remnants of the human race escape and settle on a distant planet, appropriately named Safehold. To ensure they remain undetected by their enemies, the leaders of the survivors ban technology, and genetically adjust the populace to remain in a perpetual pre-industrial state. However, 800 years later, an android of the old world awakens, charged with the task of guiding humanity back onto the path of science, technology and, eventually, the stars. Wyman rises nicely to the near Herculean challenge of performing this 30-hour epic. His clear, expressive reading never falters while he skillfully navigates his way through a labyrinth of plot twists and multiple characters. Whether describing high-tech space battles or the covert activities of courtiers and spies, Wyman brings Weber's intricate world of Safehold to life.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Earth has been destroyed by an alien invasion, and survivors are clinging to a precarious and primitive existence on a planet they have named Safehold. But they are divided into two major factions: a theocratic church opposed to all technological progress, and a secular class of aristocrats and merchants who support not only technology but expanding the habitable area of Safehold. There are factions and internal conflicts on both sides, and each has infiltrated the other. A good many of the book's main players are seafarers and naval officers, and they sail Safehold's seas in ships that Horatio Hornblower might find familiar. They are drawn as well as one expects of Weber, although they are so numerous that, despite the appended cast list, readers may feel mnemonically challenged. Staunch Weber fans may be disappointed by the lack of any Safehold life-form as irresistibly charming as the treecats of the Honorverse (the world of his space-faring heroine Honor Harrington). Safehold's abundant pelagic life is mostly predatory and sometimes outright deadly, and its land dwellers are only slightly cuddlier. Altogether, there is enough conflict to allow a natural storyteller like Weber to make a large, splendid novel that opens another saga. The saga being Weber's form of choice and high achievement, hopes for the rest of it are definitely elevated. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 1443 KB
  • Print Length: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (January 2, 2008)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000Q67KJ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,467 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
81 of 89 people found the following review helpful
By M. Keck
Format:Hardcover
"Off Armageddon Reef" was the first David Weber-penned novel I've read, so I like to think that this can be a useful review for other readers who are also new to Weber. Time will tell, I guess. With no further ado:

WHAT I LIKED

1. The introduction to the new series rocked. I thoroughly enjoyed the setup involving the Terran Federation and the Gbaba Empire. And, while I enjoyed it, it was also sad because, over the span of three to four decades, the reader bore witness to humanity's gradual destruction at the hands of the ever-advancing Gbaba, despite our having taken the war to some of their worlds for a period of time.

2. The introduction of Safehold and how the administrators of humanity's last colony set up a system that ensured it would become stagnant, technology-wise, and, even worse, worship those same administrators as archangels and angels. As a person who loves learning new things and seeing society advance forward in general, it was for me to swallow seeing millions of people intentionally held down in the Dark Ages. Yet, at the same time, it was for their own good. To rise again too quickly would likely bring the Gbaba down on humanity's last hope, even if the colony was 10,000 light years beyond the former star systems of the destroyed Terran Federation. Heh. They should have split the difference -- keep humanity's remnant ignorant for say, 500 years, then let them begin learning again, about not only their lost past, but new things as well.

3. I became attached to a number of the characters, but in particular, Crown Prince Cayleb and King Haarhald, both of Charis. It's always a good thing when an author can make a reader care for at least some of the characters.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new, but well put together January 9, 2007
Format:Hardcover
This book has a lot in common with Weber's Children of Empire: Both feature high-technology protagonists marooned on a more-or-less medieval planet where the only remaining high technology is treated as divine and used to prop up a monolithic organized church, which inhibits further technological progress theologically and culturally. Amidst this, both books involve the protagonist(s) inserting themselves into the most philosophically progressive country around, with fairly predictable results.

That said, Weber remains an interesting writer with a strong sense of imagery. The characters tend to group pretty easily into omni-competant moral paragons versus backstabbing morons, but frankly, the book is just so much fun to read that it doesn't matter. If you like Weber's style, naval combat with a twist, or plots of this general template, this is a book worth reading. Otherwise, it may leave you fairly cold.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you REALLY like military history February 8, 2007
Format:Hardcover
Generally, I have been enjoying this latest by Weber, it draws on fewer cliches then some of his other novels, and the plot moves quickly, even if only to set up the sequel. Since 600+ pages is serious reading, however, here are the major strengths and weaknesses you may want to consider:

The strengths: An extremely original premise sets up an interesting world for Weber's typical story of technological and military progress in the face of forces designed to slow or stop it. Additionally, the story is quite engaging and generally well-written, despite the fact that this is clearly the beginning of a very long series and that the plot advances quite slowly (and with few surprises) relative to the length of the book. And, if you like history, especially military history, you will very much appreciate Weber's incredibly deep knowledge of the way that gunpowder was milled or cannons fixed to their carriages, and how that affected the ability of armies and countries to do battle or act as centers of commerce.

The weaknesses: Weber uses many of the standard tired narrative elements of both science fiction and military technothrillers in this book. For example, there are many long, and sometimes suprisingly complicated, technical descriptions that are presented as the musing or lectures of various characters ("Capt. Thundermountain thought of the advantages of using two rollers to mill grain. By reducing heat that caused grainocentisis, this would change the way flour production worked forever!" - except for 20 pages at a time, and that doesn't even count the long passages aboard ship). There are also some occasionally repetitive or annoying word choices, such as "thunderous thunder," and the fact that everyone is always "quirking" their eyebrows or lips.
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140 of 182 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WEBER IS GETTING REALLY SLOPPY September 3, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My wife and son and I love David Weber, but this is one of a number of recent very disappointing books that have taken Weber off of my family's "automatic buy" list. Although Weber's action scenes are as good as ever, Armageddon Reef just doesn't work. The plot holes are gaping and intrusive and the stylistic defects are annoying enough to detract seriously from the story.

The worst plot hole is Merlin, the AI/android who is the story's protagonist. We are supposed to believe that mankind has been locked for centuries into a desperate life-and-death struggle against a large, implacably hostile, but only slightly more technologically advanced civilization. Furthermore, these aliens do not innovate at all; their tech base is completely frozen. Obviously, humanity's only hope is to force the pace of science and technology development.

At the same time, we are told that humanity has the ability to produce AIs that duplicate in every way the minds, memories, knowledge, and abilities of specific living humans. Merlin thinks, feels, and acts in every way like the real person he is based on, except that he has superhuman strength, reflexes, and mental processing speed.

So of course, in these desperate circumstances, mankind would use this technology to replicate its leading scientists, engineers, technicians, and military cadres, vastly multiplying the productivity of its R&D efforts and making it much easier to staff its star fleet. Need a dozen Einsteins? You got 'em. Need 20 copies of your greatest fleet Admiral? No problem. Need 600 starship engineers, all with the knowledge and abilities of the greatest starship engineer available? Coming right up! Oh, yes...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars This book is incredibly tedious and bogs you down in the petty details
This book is incredibly tedious and bogs you down in the petty details. I just want the story to progress! The plot is interesting; I just wish we saw more of it.
Published 24 days ago by R. McCoy
5.0 out of 5 stars ... AND I AM A COLLECTOR SO ANYTHING I REALLY LIKE I BUY IN HARDCOVER...
I HAD READ THIS BOOK IN PAPERBACK EDITION AND I AM A COLLECTOR SO ANYTHING I REALLY LIKE I BUY IN HARDCOVER TO ADD TO MY FANTASY/SCI-FI COLLECTION. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Kenny Arruda
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Premise. Poor Execution.
I'd been wanting to read this series for a while since I'd heard about it and thought it sounded like an awesome premise with potential for some great storytelling and exploration... Read more
Published 29 days ago by W. Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, remarkable series.
This is an amazing series, with an amazing opening book. Compelling, well rounded characters, a complex but coherent world, fast paced, full of unexpected turns, realistic, and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dorit Rubinstein
2.0 out of 5 stars Plodding and Predictable
The overall premise of the series is interesting, but after reading the first three books, I have found that skipping pages of internal dialog, reading only the quoted sections,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Chuck
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh concept
Excellent book, with a fresh concept. Weber spins a tale that allows him to address his love of the 'Age of Sail' while still drawing in a science-fiction readers.
Published 3 months ago by BOSTTUSM
5.0 out of 5 stars First in a powerful science fiction series.
David Weber's ability to handle characterisation and complex scenarios is amply demonstrated in what has come to be a mighty series.
Published 3 months ago by Michael Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first book in series
David Weber seems to have a knack for great first books in a series, and this one is no exception. I enjoyed it immensely, and also enjoyed the audio version, switching back and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Charlie Russel
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start to a new story
Enjoyed the book from the start. If you love series this is a good one to get into. If you like David Weber's work this series will not disappoint.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this series
I think this is one of David Weber's best series. I accidently found this book in a thrift store and now have the complete hardbound series in my library. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ron Beck
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More About the Author

David Mark Weber is an American science fiction and fantasy author. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1952. Weber and his wife Sharon live in Greenville, South Carolina with their three children and "a passel of dogs".

Previously the owner of a small advertising and public relations agency, Weber now writes science fiction full time.

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not particularly original
I like this genre and I think that Weber could be a good writer at times, but he is, as many reviewers pointed on various sites, extremely long winded and fascinated by political machinations in a way in which a historian or political scientist should be, not a writer. I wonder if in your opinion... Read More
Sep 26, 2008 by SAM |  See all 3 posts
No E-book, why bother?
Actually...there is. Go to www.webscription.net and you can download an eBook of Off Armageddon Reef. That being said, I'm not going to be buying it. Because Tor has screwed up eBooks a SECOND time. Yes, Tor has come back to Webscriptions! Unfortunately, they've managed to tick off all the... Read More
Jan 21, 2007 by William B. Davis Jr. |  See all 9 posts
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