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Shadow of Freedom
by David Weber
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Mission of Honor, Insurrection, Worlds of Honor, Empire from the Ashes, Changer of Worlds, Torch of Freedom, Hell’s Gate, Hell Hath No Fury, In Fire Forged, In Fury Born, Off Armageddon Reef, By Schism Rent Asunder, Mission of Honor, By Heresies Distressed, A Rising Thunder, A Mighty Fortress, How Firm a Foundation, Fire Season, Midst Toil and Tribulation, House of Steel, Worlds of Weber: Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington and Other Stories, Beginnings, Like a Mighty Army, Cauldron of Ghosts, Treecat Wars, A Call to Duty, Hell's Foundations Quiver, At the Sign of Triumph.
Genres: Military Science Fiction
Fourteenth in the Honor Harrington David Weber considers Shadow of Freedom to be the fifth story in the Honorverse military science fiction series, which is an offshoot from the main Honor Harrington series.
Although, I do have to question why it’s considered an Honor Harrington. It seems to fit better within the Talbott Honorverse instead. Okay, it seems to be settled at last. It’s been listed as third in the Saganami Island subseries.
Yup, it’s a short one, LOL. This is a combination bridge and tidy-up as Weber provides us with a ton of worries, state-sanctioned terrorism, and a determined Mike, Admiral Gold Peak. She’s the kind of person we need more of throughout every aspect of life. A person willing to do what’s right whatever it may cost her.
Although, I am rather confused as to why Mike plans to take on the Mesan Alignment when the Manticoran Navy is so incredibly low on ammunition.
Don’t try to make sense of the mess of planets and their rebels. It’s just too many acronyms to try and keep track of. It’s hard enough getting the hang of which planets the good versus bad guys belong to as there are too many with too many crazy names. The constant you will pick up on throughout is how incredibly corrupt the Office of Frontier Security and the Solarians are. It’s just disgusting how they rape and pillage planet after planet. Unfortunately the Mesan Alignment almost makes them look good. How scary is that?
I do love the Manties’ cockiness, especially since they have the technological advantage of the arrogant, yet corrupt, Sollies, who are always so shocked and surprised. It’s rather funny listening in to the Sollies calling the Manties stupidly cocky and arrogant with the Manties saying the exact same thing about them. You can’t help but cheer as the Manties take ’em out. It does make me wonder when the other shoe will drop! And, after Yawata Crossing, I am so hoping it doesn’t!
The incident at Green Pines which the Mesans are claiming was a nuclear strike by Anton Zilwicki is still fresh as is the Solarian Navy’s defeat at Talbott by Gold Peak. Even worse, the Yawata Strike — the Mesan’s Oyster Bay plan — which totally destroyed Yawata Crossing and the Manticoran Empire’s ability to manufacture ammunition is also fresh.
Very few yet know of Admiral Filareta’s defeat in Manticore space (see A Rising Thunder, HH 13).
And Gold Peak is taking ’em to the mattresses.
The Royal Manitcoran Navy
Vice Admiral (soon to be Admiral) Gloria Michelle Samantha Evelyn Henke, Countess Gold Peak, and commanding officer, Tenth Fleet, a.k.a., Mike, is one of Duchess Harrington’s best friends, fourth in line to the throne, and Empress Elizabeth’s cousin. And a very determined woman. Chris Billingsley is her chief of staff. Dicey is the huge Maine coon cat who haunts Mike’s cabin. Master Sergeant Massimiliano “Miliano” Cognasso has a treecat, Alfredo, who helps out.
Captain Cindy Lecter, Michael Oversteegen, Vice Admiral Aploloniá Munming is the commander of Battle Squadron 16, and Rear Admiral Mickaël Ruddick are with Gold Peak.
Commodore Jacob Zavala is heading to Saltash due to irregularities with Manticoran merchant vessels. Lieutenant Commander George Auerbach is his chief of staff, Lieutenant Commander Alice Gabrowski is his operations officer, and Lieutenant Abhijat Wilson is the com officer. His squadron includes: HMS Kay with Commander Rochelle Goulard, Lieutenant Commander Jasmine Carver, and Lieutenant Samuel Turner; HMS Gaheris’ with Lieutenant Commander Rützel; HMS Gawain with Captain Morgan; HMS Tristram has Captain Naomi Kaplan and Lieutenant Abigail Hearns is aboard with her bodyguard, Lieutenant Mateo Gutierrez.
Is still reeling from the massive defeat dealt to the SLNS by Admiral Gold Peak’s Tenth Fleet. Baroness Medusa governs. Gregor O’Shaughnessy.
Admiral Augustus Khumalo is aboard the HMS Hercules with Captain Loretta Shoupe as his chief of staff and Commander Ambrose Chandler is his staff intelligence officer. Lieutenant Gervais Winton Erwin Neville Archer, a.k.a., Gwen, is one of Helen’s friends.
Ensign Helen Zilwicki is Sir Aivars Terekhov’s flag lieutenant and the notorious Anton Zilwicki’s daughter. He’ll be heading to Mobius with Commander Tom Pope, Commander Stilt Lewis who is in charge of nailing down the brutal imagery, and Lieutenant Atalante Montella.
I do love what Aivars does to Yucel!
Vice Admiral Theodore Bennington commands the other half of Tenth Fleet.
The Pine Green escapees include:
Meanwhile, Anton Zilwicki, Yana Tretiakovna, and Victor Cachat are almost at the end of their escape from Pine Greens with Dr. Herlander Simões, a Mesan physicist with extremely valuable information. Jack McBryde was the Mesan security officer who got them out before he covered their escape quite explosively. Frank Gillich and June Mattes are both Beowulf Biological Survey Corps and extremely capable.
Stephen Westman raises incredibly good beef and he’s already been played by Firebrand. So he’s suspicious when Mr. Ankenbrandt shows up.
Planetary systems include:
Frinkelo Osborne is an advisor (for the Office of Frontier Security (OFS)) to President Ailsa MacMinn. Secretary Senga MacQuarie runs Loomis System Unified Public Safety Force (UPS). Vice-President Tyler MacCrimmon is the real power. What’s left of King Tavis‘ family are the MacRorys, specifically, Mánas. Nyatui Zagorski is the System Manager, and he’d expected a bigger role with bigger plums. He’s clearcutting the prize planetary resource.
Lieutenant Commander Sharon Tanner is SLNS and irritated with UPS’ overuse of KEW weapons. Missile Tech 1/c George Chasnikov is a brilliant tech who will never get promoted. Captain Francine Venelli and Commander Diadoro are Tanner’s superiors under Dubroskaya.
The Loomis rebels include Erin MacFadzean who organized a legal political party that the powers-that-be decided to take out; Tammas MacPhee (Erin’s hoping he died and was not taken prisoner, oh well); Tad Ogilvy; Innis MacLay is willing to lay down his life to take out as many Uppies as possible especially after they murdered his family; Megan MacLean was supposed to get off-planet with the cipher; Jamie Kirbishly; and, Tobias MacGill is the cell leader in Haimer.
President Jacqueline McCready keeps General Tillman O’Sullivan and the Seraphim System Security Police well greased and more.
The OFS interstellars are Krestor Interstellar and Mendoza of Córdoba, and they have destroyed all the small businesses in Seraphim.
Indiana Graham, a.k.a., Talisman, and his sister, Mackenzie, a.k.a., Magpie, are meeting a man they think is a Manticoran agent, Firebrand. In reality, he’s Damian Harahap. Their father, Bruce Graham, is in a maximum security prison after he was forced off his land. Leonard Silvowitz, a.k.a., Saratoga, no longer operates his commercial farming operation, but he can hide containers of weapons.
OFS takes 35% of the gross in licensing fees. Governor Damiá Dueñas gets some really stupid ideas and is stubborner’n dirt. It’s mind blowing how quickly every single SLNS or planetary official scrambles to cover their ass and put everyone else’s in a sling. Lieutenant Governor Cicely Tiilikainen is against his plans. Maxence Kodou is Dueñas’ secretary.
Captain Valentine MacNaughtan is with the Saltash Space Service and he’s in charge of Shona Station where the Manticoran merchant crews are being held. Commander Tad Rankeillor is his executive officer, Lieutenant Bridie MacWilliams, and Lieutenant Eardsidh MacGeechan, Bridie’s second-in-command, make their own plans to survive what’s coming.
Major John Pole is in command of the Solarian Gendarmerie intervention battalion OFS (a license for thugs and leg breakers to hurt people). Captain Kristofferson is considered expendable. One of the squads is commanded by Sergeant Clinton Abernathy.
Vice Admiral Oxana Dubroskaya is the SLNS CO in the area commanding Battlecruiser Squadron 491; her ship is SLNS Vanquisher. Captain Ham Seung commands the SLNS Inexorable. Captain Borden McGillicudy commands the SLNS Paladin. Captain Myau is in charge of the destroyers that are still intact.
President Rosa Shuman knocked off her husband Donnie when he got too greedy. General Felicia Karaxis commands the Swallow System Army and the security forces.
The OFS interstellar is the Tallulah Corporation headed up by Alton Parkman. Jerome Luther heads up the Nixon Foundation team investigating human rights abuses.
The Allenby clan is the thorn in their side with Floyd Allenby. Ever since they were stupid enough to kill Floyd’s wife, Dr. Sandra Allenby. Sharon’s brother, Vincent Frugoni, is a former first sergeant in the Solarian Marine Corps with 27 years of battle experience. Simon Allenby is Floyd’s grandfather and still winning duels at 91. Jason MacGruder is Floyd’s second cousin, and he may be a gloomy gus, but he’s totally on Floyd’s side. They think the Manties are going to support them, too.
President Svein Lombroso likes to name things after himself. Angelika Xydis is the local OFS rep. General Olivia Yardley is the thuggish CO of the Presidential Guard; General Friedmann Mátyás commands the Mobius Secret Police. Colonel Tyler Braddock‘s careful position at the back doesn’t do him much good.
The OFS interstellar is Trifecta Corporation with Georgina Guernicke in charge. Her second-in-command is Christianos Frolov with a seeming conflict.
Commander Tremont Watson is in command of the SLNS Oceanus with Lieutenant Branston Shang who is the comm officer and Lieutenant Commander Hiroshi Hammond is the tactical officer.
The rebels are Michael Breitbach, chairman of the Mobius Liberation Front; Kayleigh Blanchard is a senior lieutenant and Michael’s heir apparent; Kazuyoshi Brewseter lost his entire family in the May Riots so he has nothing to lose; and, Yolanda Summers is the new messenger to the Manties from the MLF.
Prime Minister Thomas Montivew officially rules for King Lawrence IX; Yeargin Kowalski is a local businessman and banker; Helen Sanderson will become the new head of the new Royal Police; and, Janice Hannover is forced into the attorney general position.
Commissioner Lorcan Verrochio is Xydis’ superior and in charge of the Madras Sector. Brigadier Francisca Yucel is in charge of security. Vice Commissioner Junyan Hongbo only thought he was escaping.
The SLNS Edgehill is Commodore Francis Thurgood‘s flagship. Captain Sadako Merriman is a Frontier Fleet officer and a senior naval intelligence specialist as well as Thurgood’s lover. Captain Hideoshi Wayne is Thurgood’s chief of staff.
The OFS interstellars are Brindle Star, Ltd. of Hirochi with Saverio Palgani as manager and Newman & Sons with Theophilia Kasomoulis.
The Mesan Alignment
Albrecht Detweiler heads up this super secret organization of genetically manufactured people which has stayed secret for hundreds of years. Benjamin is his oldest son and informing him of Zilwicki and Cachat’s escape and their prize.
The SLNS is the Solaris Navy, what we think of as Earth. They’re major league bad guys, corrupt to the hilt. Although, the Mesan Alignment are the baddest of the bad.
Admiral Margaux Bordelon is the senior surviving officer and therefore in command of her fellow SLNS prisoners after their defeat at Talbott.
The Cover and Title
There are more treecats on the cover than there are in the story! It’s a collage of terror with worried people seated around a table display that shows a mock battle between spaceships while Admiral Gold Peak and Cossagno’s treecat, Alfredo, looks over her shoulder.
The title summarizes the latest Mesan plot, for it’s a Shadow of Freedom that’s offered to a number of independent planets.