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At the Sign of Triumph: A Novel in the Safehold Series Hardcover – November 8, 2016
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“Vast, complex, intricate, subtle, and unlaydownable. This looks like the start of the biggest thing in science fiction since Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.” ―Dave Duncan on the Safehold series
"A complex and fascinating epic about change, identity, and the nature of faith." ―Publishers Weekly on Like a Mighty Army
"A superb cast of characters and plenty of action... This fine book gives new luster to Weber's reputation and new pleasure to his fans." ―Booklist, starred review, on By Schism Rent Asunder
"Weber brings the political maneuvering, past and future technologies, and vigorous protagonists together for a cohesive, engrossing whole." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Off Armageddon Reef
"Effortlessly exceeds the magnificence of its predecessor...I cannot emphasize how much I want to read the next chapter in the Safehold saga." ―Fantasy Book Critic on By Schism Rent Asunder--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From the Inside Flap
A NEW NOVEL IN THE BESTSELLING SAFEHOLD SERIES
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But I couldn't >>not<< read the later books. So what I ended up doing was only reading the "good" parts, basically skimming and reading, on average, about one page in three (which is much easier to do on a Kindle, BTW). In essence, I tried to do what editing should have done in the first place: make sure the story doesn't get lost in all the marvelous detail an imaginative author can conjure.
Did I miss important things? I'm positive of it. Did I manage to hold onto the important characters, their passions and challenges? Most definitely.
The book's end was extremely rushed -- the last 20% or so felt incomplete, explanations missing and/or necessary conversations dropped.
Beginning with the Empire's naval attack on Dohlar's capital, extending to Siddarmark battles (or absence thereof), and to Zion's turmoil itself, the "rush to finish" was obvious. The main components were presented, but how things actually came about -- Thirsk's rise-to-power, what actually happened to the Temple forces in Siddarmark, and the details of the Temple turmoil -- it felt like pieces were missing, and plot devices used to bring the book to a rapid conclusion.
Of course, actually providing all the necessary detail would probably have resulted in a 1000 page book! Personally, I don't mind the author's verbosity as long as the conversations, explanations, etc actually have relevance to the story. Within this book there was some unnecessary inclusions along with several instances of things drawn out much too far.
All-in-all, a (somewhat) unexpected ending to a small degree, but ending enough to finally let us get on to the next stage. Let's hope for at least a "beginning of the middle", else I doubt I'll live long enough for Weber to conclude this series...
As book 9 in the series, maybe there wasn't much more to cover. I tend to focus on character development and dialog when reading, and this book felt very, very dull in that regard. For the protagonists, it was 765 pages of people agreeing with one another. For the Antagonists, they are painted as incompetent and uninteresting. The battle descriptions feel like filler, whereas those scenes were methods of character and plot development earlier in the series. I could skip entire swaths of battle-rich text (which I did, at times), as I knew none of the developments would contribute to the overall plot direction. I couldn't bring myself to care about Sergeant "too many Y's in his name", because we would never see him again (dead or not).
It also loses about a half-star for failing to address at least some portion of the several outstanding plot devices in the series. As such, I feel about 100 pages of this book could be combined with 50 pages of book 8 to create a novella that accomplished just as much as those two books did.
If there is a book 10, I don't think it will make it to the top of my reading list.
It ended with a whimper, not a bang.
The ultimate problem is in David Weber's planning for the series. He clearly did not look far enough ahead to see what it would be like to read about the incredibly stupidly overpowered advantages he gave "The Good Guys". The last three books have basically been a repeated exercise of watching whole armies or fleets slaughtered over and over again with no chance to defeat the "Good Guys".
If you like reading about new and innovative ways to shoot fish in a barrel, you'll like it, maybe.
1) Weber goes into great detail on many of the battles and overall campaigns, but the detail is wasted due to the inadequate or sometimes non-existing maps. I made the commitment on this book to follow the narrative with maps, and it was a struggle. Sometimes I had four or five windows open just to get out of kindle, go to the browser and try to find an appropriate map with the correct detail. There are hundreds of Safehold maps on the internet, but it is difficult to find the one needed. To make matters worse, one of the maps updated in September of this year, would not load on the iPad. If Weber is going to devote the effort to give a blow by blow account of battles, there needs to be adequate maps to follow along. Otherwise, the effort is largely wasted. Ideally, hyper links would be present in the electronic edition to take the reader to the appropriate map. Such an innovation would improve the readability of the book tremendously.
2) As others have stated, in a series where economy of words has never been an issue, this whole shebang winds down really, really fast. There are so many lose ends out there, but it seems either a deadline or a max word threshold took charge and the book was brought to a quick and unfulfilling end. When we have read 8 books with excruciating detail, the last 100 pages, here were from the 30,000 foot view,
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Like the last few books,"At the Sign of Triumph" stars technology & weapon development...Read more