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A Mighty Fortress (Safehold Book 4) Hardcover – April 13, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* No one can doubt where the title of Weber’s new novel of the planet Safehold comes from, nor, reading it, be surprised that Cayleb Ahrmahk is happy as a grig (Middle English word; look it up) to be the greatest naval hero in Safehold history and husband of the beautiful Queen Sharleyan, hence co-ruler of the Charisian Empire. The Church of God Awaiting, however, is determined to bring the whole planet of Safehold under its sway, with disastrous implications for the survival of humanity. It is even prepared to take to the high seas with a vast armada using technology that centuries of effort have been spent trying to limit. Cayleb still has the warrior monk Merlin at hand, however, and it begins to look as though the latter isn’t the only echo of the Matter of Britain in this saga that combines superb action sf elements and (surprise!) homage to the great novels of the Age of Fighting Sail (by C. S. Forester, Patrick O’Brian, and their ilk). Weber has an enormous audience that welcomes each enormous book because Weber’s very real wit manages to do very well without the assistance of brevity. --Roland Green


"Gripping... Shifting effortlessly between battles among warp-speed starships and among oar-powered galleys, Weber brings the political manoeuvring, past and future technologies, and vigorous protagonists together for a cohesive, engrossing whole." - Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Off Armageddon Reef."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076531505X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765315052
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

200 of 222 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a fan of David Weber's books, but not this one. Sometimes a book or movie starts with exceptional promise, but its sequels drift off course, and by the third or fourth you're wondering why you even bothered. That is, I'm sad to say, what has happened with the Safehold series. It's the Rocky VI of the Weberverse.

"A Mighty Fortress" is tedious and rambling, with extensive dissection of religious nuance and military logistics but little action or intrigue. Most of the elements that made the series worth reading in the first place have vanished. Most of what is left is buried beneath the leaden weight of a cast of hundreds, meaning each makes relatively brief appearances. (This is no exaggeration -- the list of characters at the end is 21 pages of single-spaced names. What was Weber thinking?)

If you like swordplay, look elsewhere. There is none. If you enjoy cannon-and-grappling-hook naval battles, don't bother. The first significant naval engagement happens, by my count, on page 509 of 690. By that time, your eyes have glazed over from 10-page disquisitions into the salient chemical properties of gunpowder. Or you've simply given up after reading word-for-word transcripts of Archbishop Maikel's sermons. It's no exaggeration to say I fell asleep at least twice reading what probably should be called "A Mighty Long-Winded Fortress."

We know Weber can do better. His Honor Harrington series remained a good read all the way through the most recent installment. Weber's Mutineers' Moon was a delight, as was his collaboration with Eric Flint on the 1632 series. And the Safehold universe remains the most intriguing intersection between advanced science and high fantasy I've ever encountered.
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106 of 116 people found the following review helpful By John A. Yoder on April 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a huge fan of Weber's previous work and found the Safehold series extremely compelling. And what's not to like? A lost human colony with 19th century technology is slowly being manipulated back towards modernity by an android with a love for constitutional democracy and a secret stash of gravtanks. But as so many other readers have noted, Weber offers us detail at the cost of action.

And by action, I don't just mean titanic battles or desperate sword fights. I'm about 200 pages into the book and nobody is really doing much of anything. It's not exaggerating to say the book has mostly consisted of chapter after chapter of meeting minutes.

I will certainly finish the latest installment to the Safehold series, since the story is still fundamentally sound and Weber can still take it (and us) in interesting directions. Having said that, A Mighty Fortress feels like something the author wrote as an assignment for his fans, rather than a work intended to entertain them.
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99 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Nathan S. Collier on April 14, 2010
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The Safehold Series has a fascinating premise:

Even with access to space age technology, how can one 'man' single handedly sow the seeds of change to modernize/democratize a 1600 century culture/world steeped in the dogmatic teachings of a corrupt and all powerful Inquisition/Church determined to halt any Reformation/Renaissance?

Plus an evil alien empire (which has already wiped out the Terran Empire & the rest of humanity save for this one hidden away colony) lurking in the background potentially ready to pounce on any sign of emerging advanced civilization.

Actually a prequel on this conflict would be nice tho challenging to write a story with downer end already known. So.... for a decent plot with some suspense, Weber could create other escaped colonies or orphan military fleets (which found allies? hidden stock piles of ancient weapons from prior civilizations? Cloaking technology? wormholes to another part of the galaxy? explaining how they survived when main battle fleets didn't?) that are other wise occupying the aliens also adding to the reasons why this colony has yet to be found and wiped out (current reason: its technology is too backward to attract attention).

Also wondering if Weber ever intends to advance the Safehold series sufficiently so that searching out & taking on and defeating/exacting revenge on the aliens become a possibility. He is soooo dragging out the series that it does not seem likely; at the rate it is going both he and his readers will be ensconced six foot under before the story advances to that point!

David Weber is EXCELLENT in battle/combat sequences. Unfortunately, in between, he waxes on and on, long & exceedingly boring, taking waaaay too long to set up/resolve conflicts.

Massive skimming is the only way to 'read' this book. There are good parts, they are just few and far between. The book is 700 pages, it could've easily been 275 and a LOT better book,
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Snaz on April 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I liked the premise for this (I generally like Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court variations which is what this is).

I was a little distressed when I realized the main character was just a variation on Honor Harrington remade as a male robot -- much like the main character in The Armageddon Troll was Honor Harrington thrown backwards in time -- but I was willing to overlook it.

But after the first book in this series they have started sliding, badly. I am two hundred pages in and there is NOTHING happening but priests and nobles from all over the world and lord only knows how many kingdoms and factions talking and theorizing. Three of the kingdom names I see the most just happen to start with the same letter for crying out loud. Too many freaking players and locations with non-memorable made up names doing nothing memorable.

The main character could be fun but we hardly see it except when it is whining about how little it can do without 1) waking up bad things designed to block the use of technology, 2) making the situation worse, or 3) taking time away from boring things that are more important. At this point it might as well not be there at all. Conventional spies, inventors, historians, and bodyguards could cover all of its plot points.

Seriously, the first tenet of science fiction is you don't create a story as science fiction unless science fiction elements are needed to create the story. If Mr. Weber really wants to write Machiavelli he should probably confine it to historical settings (and probably under a pen name). His writing skills have probably never been better but he seriously needs to back off and reconsider what has happened to his story telling skills and who his target audience is.

I've read and own everything David Weber has ever had published. I never dreamed he might churn one out that I might not finish.
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