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Midst Toil and Tribulation (Safehold) Hardcover – September 18, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 421 customer reviews
Book 6 of 9 in the Safehold Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In the latest installment in the Safehold series (whose popularity seems to grow with every new novel), the fate of the newly liberated Republic of Siddermark—see the previous book, How Firm a Foundation (2011)—takes center stage. The republic is dying, its people starving, its social structure collapsing. This is bad news for the Charisian Empire, whose quest for independence from the Church of God Awaiting continues unabated (Charis is a naval power but not so strong on dry land), and for the Church itself, for whom the loss of Siddermark would mean the loss of a vital source of cash. If none of this makes a grain of sense to you, then this is probably not the place to begin reading the Safehold series (of which this is the sixth book). If, on the other hand, you’re a Weber fan—and there are a great many of them—you’ll already be lining up for this one. Weber’s grand-scale storytelling is a big draw, as are his many parallels (some more subtle than others) to the terrestrial history of warfare and his ever-so-slightly-larger-than-life characters. Weber’s rather more distracting habits continue, too: his tendency to use ordinary names with unorthodox spellings (Wahlys, Domynyk, Irys, Tympyltyn), and his assumption that readers are almost encyclopedically versed in the previous books in the series (a little more backstory and bringing-up-to-speed might help). But why mess with success? Weber’s found a winning formula in the Safehold books, and it’s difficult to imagine that his legion of fans will be anything less than thrilled. --David Pitt


“A brillant new saga... Its focus remains on the people who embody the strengths and weaknesses of a flawed but ever hopeful humanity. Highly recommended” ―Library Journal, starred review on By Schism Rent Asunder

“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


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Product Details

  • Series: Safehold (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765321556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765321558
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (421 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Safehold has been a very intrieguing series, managing a hybrid of scifi and historical fiction that works quite well. The first few books were all excellently written, with the focus on the characters, the world, and their struggles, which is as it should be.

In this book, however, it feels like Mr. Weber (or his editor) has allowed a lot of exposition on the ins and outs of specific military technologies that would be better served to be placed off in an appendix or three. As a result, the story often seems to bog down a little bit, and it feels like character development and interactions have been given short shrift. Don't get me wrong; a lot of these relationships between technology and tactics, strategy, and logistics are facinating in their own right, and certainly deserve to be addressed... but it would be nice to pare that explanation down from 2-3 pages to a paragraph or two, and a reference to more detail in an appendix.

This book also suffers from switching points of view from character to character a little too quickly; often several times within a chapter. While the focus on the "man-at-the-front" is interesting, it gets fantastically confusing to have about 6 different front men in a single chapter (3 on each side; who is who again?). I would love to see Mr. Weber picking a handful of these people that he can develop enough to allow us to remember each one and look forward to getting back to their story. As a result of the brief time we spend with each, I find it hard to care about them, or even how the different technologies impact them, which is a shame.

In all, this is a reasonable entry in the series, but has strayed a little from what made the series great in the first place. I'm looking forward to the next entry, and hope that Mr. Weber and his Editor manage to find a better balance the next time around.
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By Jax on September 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read pretty much all of David Weber's novels. I enjoy his style of writting. However, I am getting very frustrated with the Safehold series. As a previous reviewer said, how will this series end? After roughly 900 years, the human race is trying to recover technology to fight a genocidal alien species. The series is up to book 6 and we have rediscovered the steam engine. I guess at book 12, we will have bi-planes. When do we get to fusion engines? When do we get to confronting the Gbaba? Or do we?
This book started out okay, but really bogged down. It covers roughly 1 year, and all we know is that Mother Church is even more evil than we thought, nobody can figure out that the side that tortures people is bad and the side that doesn't torture people is good, and not one person (other than Merlin) can spell their name without using at least 1 Y. (It really slows down the reading when you have to struggle to figure out what someone's name is. Is it so bad to say Ferguson instead of Fyrgysyn?)
Please, Mr. Weber, advance this series! I enjoy reading it, but this book was a little hard to get through and I feel like nothing really happended!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In book 6, Weber got the feedback that long-winded expositions about wind, sail, gunnery exercises, weather, etc.... are very boring to readers of SCIENCE FICTION. Unfortunately, he simply moves that obsession with pointless detail from naval battles to land battles, focusing strongly on the Siddarmark situation. Now we get useless details on pike formations, artillery, howitzers, steam engines, etc.... Once again, I find myself flipping through pages until where the plot resumes and the technical treatise ends.

As far as plot goes, we get 3 major arcs divided into sub-plots. There's the Irys/Daivyn/Hector plot arc to humanize the story. It's interesting but overly wordy because Weber repeatedly bludgeons the reader over the head with the direction Irys is headed. That entire plot arc would have been much better with about 30% fewer pages. But look on the bright side - at least we were spared long meeting minutes. I'd rather read 10 excessive pages on how Daivyn enjoys himself while Irys watches Hector than discussions among council members of both sides.

Then we have the situation in Siddarmark before the Charisian Imperial forces land in force. There's way too much detail on geography and I can't be bothered to constantly switch to the map view to figure out where everything is. There's fewer detail on bloody torture, but Weber still spends absurd amounts of time on atrocities. We get it already, David. No need to hammer it in every time you shift narrative from one combat theatre to another one. The entire Glacierheart sub-plot was boring as heck, even if he threw in a couple of named-characters because it's hard to care about guerilla war in the mountains between dozens/hundreds when we just came from a massive naval engagement of 200+ ships.
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Format: Hardcover
I love David Weber's writing style.

There, I got that out of the way. Now let me get on with the review of this particular novel of his.

Given that the entire book industry is in a panic about people trading reading books for surfing the Internet, I suppose it had to happen: dragging out a series written by a popular author so that they can make the most money possible. We see it again and again, not just with David Weber, but with S.M. Stirling, John Ringo, Taylor Anderson, and so on. A good story gets streeeeeeeetched out, delivered in individual books of around 500 pages where nothing much happens apart for some few passages where the plot is advanced microscopically.

"Midst Toil and Tribulation" is another such installment. Back are all the characters we love, complete with the personal interactions at which Weber excels and which we all love him for, but the plot itself doesn't really GO anywhere. At the end of "How Firm a Foundation" (Safehold #5), the Empire of Charis was scrambling to advance their tech in order to be able to fight the technologically inferior, yet numerically FAR superior Army of the Faithful. Five hundred forty-seven pages later in Safehold #6, with some battles to prove that "wow, this is going to be a HARD war!", Charis is still advancing their tech, Zhaspahr Clyntahn is still a rotter, and the Temple of Zion's army is still freakin' huge.

Don't get me wrong, I was riveted to the story. Weber's characters are so believable you can't help but share in their joys and their sorrows. His turn of phrase made me chuckle more than once. I LOVE that in any book!

Yet, as I drew closer to the end of the book, my irritation grew. I could see the pages slipping away, and I could tell it didn't look like anything was going to be resolved.

We wait a year or more between installments, only to have the current book be filled mostly with fluff and very little meat.

It's exhausting.
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