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By Schism Rent Asunder (Safehold) Hardcover – July 22, 2008
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*Starred Review* In the second volume, after Off Armageddon Reef (2007), of the saga of the planet Safehold, Weber employs a superb cast of characters and plenty of action to escalate the conflict between the Group of Four and the Church of God Awaiting. Among the outstanding players are King Cayleb of Charis and his adviser, the warrior-monk Merlin, and when readers find out that Merlin is really the avatar of the woman Nimue, who, along with Earth itself, is long dead, they may realize that Weber has combined the Matter of Britain and the Protestant Reformation and outfitted them in sf trappings. By the end of this novel, they may suspect, too, that the Thirty Years’ War has been added to the mixture. They will be certain that the by-then emperor Cayleb’s love for his empress is only the first of new difficulties that will assail him in the next volume. They can rest assured of Weber’s usual mastery of anything having to do with ships, whether sailing or hyperdriven. This fine book gives new luster to Weber’s reputation and new pleasure to his fans. --Roland Green
“Gripping…Shifting effortlessly between battles among warp-speed starships and among oar-powered galleys, 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
“Splendid!” —Booklist (starred review) on Off Armageddon Reef
“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 Off Armageddon Reef
“A new SF epic.” —Library Journal (starred review) on Off Armageddon Reef
“Fantastic in every sense of the word—the kind of book that makes you sit back and think about this reality that we call life. Who can ask for more than that?” —R. A. Salvatore on Off Armageddon Reef
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It was refreshing and uplifting to have King Caleb marry Queen Sharleyan which added a bit of softening and humanity to this hard story full of war and inhumanity dished out by the Church's representatives. I liked that Prince Nahrmahn Baytz (love the play on the name) of Emerald was forced to come to heel to Caleb and the Kingdom of Charis.
I look forward to more of Merlin's interfacing with his spaceship and data base in future stories and the re-education of the population of Charis and Chisholm as to what and who they really are. And, most of all the fall of the Church of God Awaiting.
That said, I still bought the next one without a pause!
Its one of those tales that, if you like this genre, qualifies as a page turner and will have you reading it late into the night. The action flows well. The tale gets you to where you want to know what happens ... next. Detail in the tale is very well written, in depth but interesting and helps to keep the story flowing.
I like David Weber generally and really enjoy this tale a whole lot.