Book Review: David Weber’s Midst Toil and Tribulation

Posted January 10, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: David Weber’s Midst Toil and Tribulation

Midst Toil and Tribulation


David Weber

military science fiction that was published by Tor Books on September 18, 2012 and has 607 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have 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, Shadow of Freedom, 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

Sixth in the Safehold religious/military science fiction series which pits man against man while the official Church is corrupted by power-hungry men.

I’d’ve made this a “5”, but Weber didn’t identify which side was which in the story very consistently. I always had to be very aware, and even then, it was still confusing. For the most part, I simply read and hoped that the winners were the good guys.

My Take

This story is a holding pattern in every sense of the word. I keep wanting to think of this as a bridge, but “holding” is definitely the word. Yes, there is some progress made on a few fronts, but they are simply flickers of hope with the majority of this story incredibly depressing with the battles that rage between men caught up in the religious fervor. And using it as an excuse for grudging payback.

It’s just one big set-up for #7. In some respects, you might want to just skip this one unless you’re a diehard Weber fan like me. Wait until # 7 comes out so you can read (what I hope) will be a much cheerier story.

I like how concerned the Charisians are with ensuring the people’s health and their education as well as their worries about the Siddmarkians.

I keep hoping that Merlin does something to rescue Gardynyr’s family from the Church so Gardynyr can make up his own mind with the threats to his kids.

As far as the battles are concerned…don’t even try to keep track of who is what and where. It’s too confusing. I wish Weber had introduced each side as he changes from one viewpoint to another. And using “rebels” is not enough. The Siddmarkian troops who rebelled against their republic are rebels and, as far as the Church is concerned, any Siddmarkian who didn’t commit treason against their Republic is a rebel.

The one thing I will say is that the battles are not going in our favor. Here and there, yes, but on the whole, it’s just depressing.

The Story

Clyntahn has unleashed hell on Safehold and especially on the edges of Siddarmark. Church adherents massacred anyone even suspected of not toeing the Church’s line. Food stores were destroyed and starvation has set in. Nor does Clyntahn care that Temple Loyalists are also starving.

Thanks to Owl and its SNARCs, Cayleb knows of the disastrous events in Siddarmark, and the Charisians are sending flotillas of food, to be followed by troops and weapons to help them hold out against the murderous Church. The SNARCs have been an edge for the Charisian Empire, but they can’t get them everywhere, and this is the first time that the Charisians are facing major setbacks. The Church complex in Zion is impenetrable and their lack of information is killing people. It’s killing Merlin that its his fault.

And the drums are beating (on the Church’s side) about the insidious, murderous Charisian who slaughtered an entire company of guards and kidnapped the virtuous princess and prince. Who knows what those evil infidels are doing to her even now. Certainly better than what the Church had planned!

On the warfront, the Charisians have managed more gun and rifle improvements as well as a quarter of steam-driven ironclads. But money is hemorrhaging from her coffers — and from the Church’s, thank god.

The Characters

Surprisingly, no, this is not a total and complete list. You may find this useful should you choose to dive into this, if only to help keep it straight which of the fighting men is which!

Major Merlin Athrawes is an avatar charged with bringing back the original mission parameters to Safehold. He has all the knowledge of the now-vanished, highly technical Earth, and it is the personality of Nimue Alban, a woman dead these past 900 years, which has been downloaded into his circuits. Ahbraim Zhevons is an alter ego Merlin created which enables him to be in several places at once as he cannot reveal his technological capabilities. The world of Safehold thinks both are seijins, powerful warriors from their myths. Owl is a computer program with which Merlin and those he let in on the secret can interface. The SNARCs are small spy devices scattered throughout Safehold.

Cayleb Ahrmakh [Caleb Armak] is the Emperor of the Star Empire of Charis, King Cayleb II and Emperor Cayleb I, with his beloved Empress Sharleyan [Shirley Ann] and their baby daughter, Crown Princess Alahnah [Alanna]. Sharleyan’s personal armsman Sergeant Edwyrd Seahamper [Edward] is still with her.

On the Charisian side of the Empire; Tellesberg is its capital

Ahlvyno [Alvino], Baron Ironhill is the Empire’s treasurer and worried about outgo. Trahvys Olhsyn [Travis Olson], the Earl of Pine Hollow replaced Yowance as First Councilor; Pine Hollow is Nahrmahn’s cousin. Rayjhis Yowance [Regis], Earl of Gray Harbor, was first councillor of Charis until he was murdered. Bynzhamyn Raice [Benjamin Race], Baron Wave Thunder, is the spymaster for the Charisian side of the kingdom; he’s alive, but does not appear in this story.

Prince Nahrmahn Baytz [Norman Bates] was and is again the Imperial spymaster; he also died in How Firm a Foundation, 5, and will have a tremendous effect on Owl. His daughter, Princess Mahrya [Moira], is betrothed to Cayleb’s younger brother, Crown Prince Zahn [Jean]. Dowager Princess Ohlyvya [Olivia] is Nahrmahn’s widow and doesn’t have much to do in this tale.

Archbishop Maikel Staynair [Michael Stayner] is a Charisian and leads the new Church of Charis. Irys comes to see him as most do: “the gentlest, most devout, most compassionate and loving man she’d ever met” who requires that each person find God in their own way. Father Paityr Wylsynn [Peter Wilson], the Intendant in Charis, is still in charge of granting patents and blessing/accepting each new invention to ensure it doesn’t go against Church proscription.

The Brethren of Saint Zherneau has guarded the journal of Saint Zherneau, a.k.a., Jeremiah Knowles, one of the original Adams and a secret adherent of Pei Shan-wei (Shan-wei was demonized 900 years ago and her name is now a curse). Father Zhon [Jon] dies.

The Royal College of Charis
Doctor Rahzhyr Mahklyn [Roger Maclin?], the Chancellor of the Royal College of Charis with full access to Owl, meets with everyone and anyone who has knwledge to impart or requires. Doctor Sahndrah Lywys [chemistry; Sandra Lewis] is pure scientist, especially when she discovers guncotton. Dr. Brahnsyn [Bronson] is a botanist. Dr. Dahnel Vyrnyr [Daniel Verner] is an expert in pressure.

Ehdwyrd Howsmyn [Edward Houseman], a.k.a., the Ironmaster of Charis, has vastly increased his manufactories and mines along with the incredible number of things he’s “invented. The latest are steam engines. Zhain is his long-suffering, tolerant wife. Master Zosh Huntyr [Josh Hunter], is the master artificer; Nahrmahn Tidewater [Norman] is Huntyr’s senior assistant; and Master Tairham [Tearham] have taken the murdered Urvyn Mahndrayn‘s [Irvin Mandrain] place. It’ll take more than these two to make up for his loss, but they’re working hard. Stahlman Praigyr, a senior artificer, was intimately involved with the engines. Taigys Mahldyn comes up with a brilliant idea; his youngest, Fhranklyn, has been accepted into the Royal College. His wife is Mathylda.

Charisian Navy
Sir Ahlfryd Hyndryk [Alfred Hendrick], Baron Seamount, is now a navy admiral and the commanding officer of the Bureau of Ordnance. They’ve decided against Hyndryk having access to Owl. Even without that access, Hyndryk is doing exactly what Merlin wanted for Safehold’s future. Captain Ahldahs Rahzwail [Aldus Roswell] is his executive officer and senior assistant. Commander Frahnklyn Hainai [Franklin ??] is Seamount’s liaison with Hoswmyn’s engineers. Captain Tompsyn Saigyl [Thompson Seagel] is another Seamount assistant and is slated to take command of the Bureau of Ships. Captain Dynnys Braisyn [Dennis Brazen??] is the CO of the Bureau of Supply and Captain Styvyn Brahnahr [Steven Bronner] will head the Bureau of Navigation.

Admiral Sir Domynyk Staynair, Baron Rock Point and the archbishop’s brother, has his battles to win. Flag Lieutenant Hektor Alply-Ahrmahk, the Duke of Darcos and an adopted son of Cayleb Ahrmahk, is charged with keeping Princess Irys and Prince Daivyn safe. And he’s falling in love. He’s still with Sir Dunkyn Yairley‘s, Baron Sarmouth’s, command. His younger brother, Chestyr [Chester], has been admitted to the Royal College of Charis.

Sir Gwylym Manthyr and his men were captured by the Dohlarans in How Firm a Foundation and Gardynyr was forced to hand them over to the Church who tortured them brutally before finally murdering them.

The crews of the steamers
Captain Halcom Bahrns commands the HMS Delthak. Lieutenant Pawal Blahdysnberg is Barhns’ XO. Zhaimys Myklayn [Seamus Miklan?] is a canal pilot and has an injunction from the bishop for what he is about to do. Ahbukyra Matthysahn [Abukira? Matthieson] is the signalman. Petty Officer Fyrgyrsyn [Ferguson]. Lieutenant Byrnhar Riasmyn [Bernard Riceman] of the Imperial Charisian Marines is there to help protect and attack.

On the Chisholmian side of the Empire; Cherayth is its capital
Braisyn Byrns (in the previous story, Hauwerstat Thompkyn was the earl), the Earl of White Crag, is the new First Councillor. Sylvst Mhardyr, the Baron of Stoneheart, is the new Lord Justice. Sir Dynzayl Hyntyn is the Earl of Saint Howan and the Chancellor of the Treasury. Sir Ahlber Zhustyn is her spymaster. Vyrgyl Fahstyr [Virgil Foster], the Earl of Gold Wyvern, isn’t too keen on the new commercial ideas.

General Sir Kynt Clareyk [Kenyt Clark], Baron of Green Valley, is going to war with Rushyl Thairis [Russel], the Duke of Eastshare and commander of the Imperial Charisian Army to bring relief to Siddarmark. The men have become friends and value each other’s thinking.

Mahrak Sandyrs [Mark Sanders], Baron Green Mountain, is no longer First Councillor in Chisholm after the Rakurai bombing attack in How Firm a Foundation that killed Archbishop Pawal Braynair. The new archbishop is Ulys Lynkyn [?? Lincoln]. Queen Mother Alahnah Tayt [Alanna Tate] is Sharleyan’s mother and is mentioned in passing, so we at least know she’s still alive].

Sharleyan is having difficulties with her Chisholmian nobles and the introduction of Charisian manufactories. The nobles are worried about importing those egalitarian Charisian attitudes. Duke Lantern Walk and the new, seventeen-year-old Earl of Swayle, Wahlys Rahskail [Wallace Rascal?], influenced by his mother, the treasonous earl’s widow Rebekah, are anti. And Rebekah is related to Zhasyn Seafarer, the Duke of Rock Coast; Payt Stywyrt, the Duke of Black Horse; and Edwyrd Ahlbair, the Earl of Dragon Hill. Naturally, if Sharleyan’s supporters become wealthy with this introduction and because they embraced it and the rest don’t. Well, we know whose fault that will be….

Paitryk Mahknee, Duke Lake Land, is interested but he wants a hefty toll. Grand Duke Mountain Heart will require a hefty bribe.

Within Chisholm, the Raven’s Land lords
Lord Shairncross, Weslai Parkair [Wesley Parker], is the Speaker of the Lords for the Council of Clan Lords with a practical sense of cooperation regarding the Chisholmian-Charisian army crossing their lands. His wife, Zhain Parkair [Shane Parker], Lady Shairncross, is very supportive as is his heir, Adym [Adam]. Barjwail Suwail is Lord of Theralt and more of a pirate than anything else, and Phylyp Zhaksyn [Philip Jackson], Lord Tairwald, are also on the Council. Wing Flahn Tobys is Zhaksyn’s man, and the Clan Lords’ negotiator with Eastshare. Bishop Trahvys Shulmyn [Travis Shulman] is more sympathetic to the Reform Church. The Group of Four is not winning adherents here.

General Ahlyn Symkyn, CO of the second wave of the Charisian Expeditionary Force and his aide, Captain Wytykair [Whittaker], are contemplating a rough crossing.


Viceroy General Hauwyl Chermyn [Howell Sherman] is now the Grand Duke of Zebediah since Cayleb had the previous one executed for treason.

Siddarmark is under attack

Lord Protector Greyghor Stohnar [Gregor Stoner] is the ruler, who hopes he’s making the right calls. Lord Henrai Maiden [Henry Maiden] is the Chancellor of the Exchequer and spymaster. Lord Samyl Gahdarhd [Samuel Goddard] is the Keeper of the Seal. Archbishop Dahnyld Fardhmyn [Donald Fardham] is a Bédarist and of a Reformist bent; he was appointed by Stohnar after the Sword of Schueler attacks. Ahnzhelyk Phonda [Angelique Fonda], a.k.a., Aivah Parhsahn [Aiva Parson], helped a number of people including Archbishop Cahnyr escape the Church in Zion and is now funding the acquisition of weapons and continuing with her spy network. Lord Daryus Parkair [Darius Parker] is seneschal.

The Reform of the Church had been appealing to a number of the people and Clyntahn’s atrocities have pushed even more over, but few want to take the step all the way over to the Church of Charis. Although, with the unrelenting fervor of the Church, there is no partway.

Sir Rayjhis Dragoner [Regis] has been the Charisian ambassador through all this and troubled over the divide in the Church. This part of the story just made me cry…

Loyal Siddarmark troops
Staving off the Church in Glacierheart
Archbishop Zhasyn Cahnyr [Jason Connor] of Glacierheart is one of the rallying points for the fighting and a fugitive archbishop of the Wylsynn’s circle from the Church, and Father Gharth Gorjah [Garth ??], his longtime personal secretary; Fraidmyn Tohmys [Fredman Thomas] is his valet; and, Sahmantha Gorjah [Samantha], Gharth’s wife and a healer, are trying desperately to keep him alive. Brigadier Taisyn heads up the troops in Glacierheart.

Wahlys Mahkhom [Wallace Makom??] and the few remaining survivors of Brahdwyn’s Folly are continuing to battle the Church extremists who destroyed so much, struggling to keep them from pouring through the Gap.

Sailys Trahskhat [Silas Trasket?], a Charisian and former Temple Loyalist, and Byrk Raimahn [Burke Rayman], a native of Siddarmark, are fighting for Siddmark up in Glacierheart.

Zhan Fyrmahn [Sean Fearman] and his cousin, Mahrak Lohgyn [Mark Logan] are Temple Loyalists using the Church’s Sword of Schueler campaign to destroy anyone he holds a grudge against. Lieutenant Zhak Tailyr [Zack Tailor], a Temple Guard, was part of a 300-man volunteer force from the Westmarch.

Sylmahn Gap
Colonel Fhranklyn Pruait [Franklin Pruitt] is CO of the 76th at Sylmahn Gap. General Trumyn Stohnar [Truman Stoner] is the Lord Protector’s first cousin and commander of the reinforcements for Sylmahn’s Gap. Father Ahlun [Alan] is his chaplain. Lieutenant Dahglys Sahlavahn [Douglas Sullivan] is Stohnar’s only remaining aide towards the end.

Colonel Stahn Wyllys [Stan Willys] is CO of the 37th Infantry Regiment. Lieutenant Charlz Dahnsyn [Charles Danson] is Wyllys’ senior aide. The innovative Captain Hainree Klairynce [Henry Clarence] is acting CO of 3rd Company, 37th Infantry Regiment. Major Zhorj Styvynsyn [a French-sounding George Stevenson] is CO of 2nd Company, 37th Infantry Regiment. Sergeant Grovair Zhaksyn [Grover Jackson] is the senior noncom for 2nd Company, 37th Regiment. Major Ghavyn Sahlys [Gavin Sallis] is in charge of 5th Company, 37th Infantry. Captain Ellys Sebahstean [Ellis Sebastian] is CO of 3rd Platoon which switches off with Captain Zhon Trahlymyn‘s [Jon Trailman] 1st Platoon rifles. Captain Bairaht Charlsyn‘s [Barrett Charlson] 1st Platoon I guess they have two.

Fort Sheyldyn, the South March
Colonel Phylyp Mahldyn is “sick to death of “God’s warriors'” holiness” and CO of the 110th Infantry Regiment. Lieutenant Zherald Ahtkyn [Gerald Atkin] is the colonel’s aide. Colonel Vyktyr Mahzyngail‘s [Victor Massengail] 14th South March Militia. Major Klymynt Fairstock [Clement] is CO of the Provisional Company at Fort Sheldyn. Colonel Zhordyn Suvail [Jordan Suvail??] and a company of the 93rd were betrayed; their example focuses all of them.

The survivors of Aivahnstyn in Cliff Peak
General Charlz Stahntyn [Charles Stanton] retreated with his 15,000 men from Kaitswyrth. To no avail.

The trap at the canals in Glacierheart
Petty Officer Laisly Mhattsyn [Leslie Matteson] is a gun captain in Lieutenant Yerek Sahbrahan [Eric ??] battery under Commander Hainz Watyrs against Bishop Khalryn Waimyan. A lovely trap suggested by Brigadier Mahrtyn Taisyn, a Charisian, and Watyrs. Sergeant Dahltyn Sumyrs is the best Charisian scout and even he can’t get through. Colonel Hauwerd Zhansyn [Howard Johnson], the senior Siddmarkian officer, is grateful for the Charisians battling for his country. Their trap has held the Armies of God up for a while. It won’t be enough.

The city of Alyksberg
Beseiged by Sir Ahlverez, General Clyftyn Sumyrs [Clifton Summers] played a lovely trick on the Armies of God.

Fort Darymahn, City of Thesmar, the South March – the Allies
Charisian General Lord Hanth is part of the team with Admiral Sir Paitryk Hywyt [Patrick Hewitt]. Siddarmarkians General Kydryc Fyguera [Kidric? Cedric? ??] and Colonel Rahskho Gyllmyn [Roscoe Gilman], the general’s second-in-command, have gone above and beyond to keep Thesmar out of Church hands. Commander Parkyr [Parker] is in charge of guns.

The Exiles from Corisande

Phylyp Ahzgood [Phillip Osgood], Earl of Coris, guardian to the prince and princess, contacted Cayleb for his help in rescuing Prince Daivyn Daykyn and his sister Princess Irys from the hands of the Church while they’re in exile at King Zhames‘ [James] court. Rhobair Seablanket [a French-sounding Robert] was Coris’ valet and deep-cover spy in Zion. It’s a traumatic, but enlightening time for Irys as she comes to accept the truth of her father’s murder. And to worry about how attracted she is to the inventiveness of the Charisians as well as the Royal College of Charis. Lady Mairah Breygart [Myra Breggart], the Countess of Hanth, is a former lady-in-waiting to Sharleyan; she’s assigned to keep an eye on Irys. She is Sir Hauwerd Breygart‘s [Howard Breggart] second wife; he is the Earl of Hanth and a former marine. She is stepmother to Hauwerd’s children with his first wife, Fhrancys [Frances]: Styvyn [Steven], Haarahld [Harold], Zherldyn [Geraldine], Fhrancys, and Trumyn [Truman]. The two youngest sons are both about Daivyn’s age. Colonel Falkhan [Falcon?] is in charge of Daivyn’s security, and losing baseball games convincingly.

Corisandians; Manchyr is the capital
General Sir Zhoel Zhanstyn [Joel Johnston] replaced Chermyn as the Charisian viceroy. He oversees a ruling Regency Council of Corisandians consisting of Sir Rysel Gahrvai, the Earl of Anvil Rock, is one of two co-regents for Prince Daivyn with Admiral Taryl Lektor, the Earl of Tartarian and the head of Prince Daivyn’s Regency Council being the other. Both are appalled that Coris took the children to Charis and are trying to figure out how to overcome that bit of bad publicity, including that bit about Hektor planting a spy on the Church.

The rest of the council includes Edwair Garthin, the Earl of North Coast; Sir Raimynd Lyndahr [Raymond Lindar] is the Keeper of the Purse; Trumyn Sowthmyn, the Earl of Airyth; Sir Bairmon Chahlmair, the Duke of Margo; Byrtrym Mahldyn, Baron Gray Hill, replaces Craggy Hill; and, the Church of Charis Archbishop Klairmant Gairlyng — one-third of the bishops and priests have accepted the Church of Charis.

Sir Koryn Gahrvai [Koren Garvey] is Anvil Rock’s son and in command of the new Corisandian Army. Sir Charlz Doyal [Charles Doyle] is the viceroy’s chief of staff and the Council’s chief intelligence officer.


Daivyn Bairaht [Devon Barret], the Duke of Kholman and Emperor Mahrys IV’s senior councilor for the Imperial Desnarian Navy, and Sir Urwyn Hahltar [Irwin Halter], Baron Jahras, escape from Iythria with their families from the Church.


King Rahnyld IV [Ronald] of Dohlar. Bishop Executor Wylsynn Lainyr [Wilson Laner] ordered the prisoners to be tortured by the Inquisition. Samyl Cahkrayn, Duke of Fern, is Rahnyld’s chief councillor and Aibram Ziavyair, Duke of Thorast, is in charge of the navy. Both hate Gardynyr. Shain Hauwyl, the Duke of Salthar, commands the Royal Army. Sir Rainos Ahlverez [?? Alvarez] of the Desnarian Army, will be in command of the Dohlaran army invading Siddarmark; he’s the first cousin of that idiot, Malikai. Father Sulyvyn Fyrmyn [Sullivan Fearman] is his special intendant.

Admiral Lywys Gardynyr [Lewis Gardener], Earl of Thirsk, is rebuilding the Dohlar Navy and growing to hate the Churchmen. Particularly Intendant Ahbsahlahn Kharmych [Absalon Carmik], who is holding his family hostage for the Inquisition. Paiair Sahbrahan is Gardynyr’s valet. Gardynyr’s allies are Bishop Staiphan Maik [Stephen Make] is both Gardynr’s special intendant and the intendant for the navy. Admiral Hahlynd [Holland] is one of Gardynyr’s most trusted officers.

Captain Stywyrt Baiket [Stewart Baket] is the Chihiro‘s commanding officer and feels the same toward the Church as Gardynyr. Commander Ahlvyn Khapahr [Alvin Copper] introduces Lieutenant Zhwaigair, who has a brilliant idea.

Siddmarkian troops who revolted to the Temple Loyalists – Sylmahn Gap
Colonel Pawal Baikyr [Pavel Baker] is in command of the Faithful near Serabor; placed in charge by Father Shainsail Edwair, senior inquisitor at Sylmahn Gap. He brought a quarter of his regiment over.

Colonel Lywys Maiksyn [Lewis Makson] is militia these days; before the Sword of Schueler was let loose, he was a merchant. Major Hahlys Cahrtair [Hollis Carter] is the commanding officer of the 3rd Saiknyrs’ 3rd Company and a vicious, brutal man. Shawyn Mahlyk [Shawn Malak] is CO of 1st Platoon; and, Captain Mahrtyn Mahkhom [Martin Makhom] is 2nd Platoon’s CO.

Zion’s troops in Siddarmark
Bishop Wylbyr Edwyrds [Wilbur Edwards] is the Inquisitor General for territories acquired by the Armies of God.

The Church-held Lake City
Athryn Zagyrsk is the Church’s Archbishop of Tarikah and a Pasqualate. Father Avry Pygain [Avery Pagan] is his senior aide, secretary, and of the Order of the Quill. Father Ignaz Aimaiyr [Ignatius Aimar??] is the Intendant with an idea of how to protect the remaining, scattered Faithful as well as bring the area back into production. Bishop Militant Bahrnabai Wyrshym [Barnaby Wersham], CO of the eastern column of the Army of God, heads out of the city with 146,000 men; Auxiliary Bishop Erynst Abernethy [Ernest Abernathy] is his Intendant.

Colonel Sir Naythyn Byrgair [Nathan Burger] uses a native guide, Wylfryd Navyz [Wilfred Navies] to hunt down a troop of Siddmarkians. He does at least allow mercy, and Father Zhon Bhlakyt [Jon Blake?] is his regiment’s senior surgeon.

Cliff Peak
Corporal Howail Brahdlai [Howell Bradley] is the scout patrol commander of Trooper Svynsyn Ahrbukyl [Svenson Arbuckle]. They and their fellow scouts with the 191st Calvary find Wyltahn Waignair [Wilton Wagoner], their best man. They’re with Colonel Mardhar [Marder], a fussbudget; Father Zhames [James] is his chaplain. Sergeant Karstayrs [Carstairs].

Bishop Militant Cahnyr Kaitswyrth‘s [Conner Catesworth] orders are suddenly changed and it’s only looking worse for the Charisian allies. Father Sedryk Zavyr [Cedric Saver] is his fierce and brutal Intendant.

The trap at the canals
Bishop Khalryn Waimyan [?? Wayman] and his Zion Division is held down by a brilliant, if suicidal trap. Colonel Stywyrt Sahndhaim [Stewart Sandham], CO of Zion Division’s 1st Regiment. Colonel Tymythy Dowain [Timothy Dowen] is Waimyan’s exec.

Bishop Gorthyk Nybar is CO of the Langhorne Division, Wyrshym’s senior division commander.

Fort Darymahn, The South March
Private Paitryk Zohannsyn [Patrick Johnson], Corporal Stahnyzlahs Maigwair [Stanislaus ??], General Erayk Tympyltyn [Eric Templeton], Colonel Ahdymsyn [Adamson] is the general’s second-in-command. Major Hamptyn [Hampton] seems to be one of the general’s aides.

Colonel Sir Zhadwail Brynygair is Royal Desnarian Army with a calvary regiment assigned to Rychtyr. Major Ahrnahld Suvyryv is the colonel’s exec, common, but with a good brain [they go down with the Charisian navy trap].

General Sir Fahstyr Rychtyr [Foster Richter] of the Desnarian Army ic CO of the vanguard of the Dohlaran army; he is repairing the canals. Father Pairaik Metzlyr [Padraig? Metzler] is his Intendant. Sir Naythyn Brygair [Nathan Brigger] is the commander of a Desnarian lead cavalry regiment, and with Colonel Zhory Bahcher‘s [Jory Backer] regiment assigned to Rychtyr and Captain Maikel Fowail‘s [Fowl] and Captain Marshyl Syrahlla‘s [Marshal Siralla] Desnarian gun batteries will destroy a troop. General Sir Ohtys Godwyl, Baron Traylmyn [Trailman], is the spear of the Dohlaran attack and Rychtyr’s second-in-command; he has to dig in after Hanth’s sneaky trap.

The Group of Four
There are four priests who form a Council of Vicars, the Church’s rulers, a.k.a., the Group of Four: Grand Inquisitor Zhaspyr Clyntahn [Jasper Clinton] is a gluttonous sociopath and twists the truth to suit his own desires. Archbishop Wyllym Rayno is the Adjutant of the Order of Schueler and Clyntahn’s executive officer. Chancellor Zahmsyn Trynair [Jameson Trainer] and Treasurer General Rhobair Duchairn [a French “Robert”] are horrified by Clyntahn’s actions, and there’s nothing they can do to pull back from the violence, although Duchairn uses his influence to try to ameliorate the suffering of the people in Zion and of the Temple Loyalists whose actions instigated retaliation and now find themselves starving. Major Khanstahnzo Phandys, one of the Temple Guard, is still CO of Duchairn’s security. Captain General Allayn Maigwair [Allan] has found his balls and has really pulled his armies together.

Hmmm, seems that the Church in Safehold is a lot like the Catholic Church here, covering up all sorts of evil.

Emperor Waisu VI is about to get very bad news.

The Rakurai is a reference to the Sword of Schueler religious attacks ordered by Clyntahn.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a collage of events in a middle band: Merlin’s skimmer, cannons, Merlin with his katana, and war.

The title sums it up beautifully, for events take place Midst Toil and Tribulation.