Book Review: David Weber’s Beginnings

Posted August 1, 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 Beginnings



David Weber

It is part of the , Honorverse series and is a military science fiction in Hardcover edition that was published by Baen Books on July 2, 2013 and has 377 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books in this series include Worlds of Honor, Fire Season, Worlds of Weber: Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington and Other Stories, Treecat Wars

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, Midst Toil and Tribulation, Shadow of Freedom, House of Steel, Worlds of Weber: Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington and Other Stories, Like a Mighty Army, Cauldron of Ghosts, Treecat Wars, A Call to Duty, Hell's Foundations Quiver, At the Sign of Triumph

Five short stories in the sixth in the Worlds of Honor military science fiction anthology series which is a part of the Honorverse.

My rating on this would have been a “5”, except that Presby’s story brought it down a point.

The Stories

Charles E. Gannon’s “By the Book” is…

…a clever story of betrayals, sabotage, and terrorism as sidelined members of a universe-wide government struggle to achieve their own respect and battle the arrogance and callous indifference of those in power.

And man, the powers-that-be must be really bad as there are so many dissidents including their own leaders as well as the downtrodden. An interesting possibility of what could occur if terrified Greenies should rise to power, and much too 1984 and Brave New World for me to want to live there: revising history, destroying books, a terrifying use of propaganda, and the manipulation of the system to punish (or destroy) the unwanted. And, LOL, the manipulation of the system by the “rebels” to achieve their own ends is priceless. It’s incredible how very much information and world building Gannon manages to pack into a mere 94 pages! I gotta find out if this is part of a series, ’cause I wanna read more.

Timothy Zahn’s “A Call to Arms” is…

…part of the Honorverse and provides a window on some of the earlier issues the navy experienced. In this case, Lyn is hiring a mercenary group to destroy the minor and unprepared Royal Manticoran Navy, and luckily, Lieutenant Long has just been transferred to the Casey. It’s sad that most of the navy is more concerned with weaseling their way up the promotion ladder than in being prepared, although I suppose that’s reasonable since said navy hasn’t experienced a battle of any sort in over 100 years. Still there’s no reason to treat Long as the captain did, jerk.

Reading this had my heart in my mouth! The battle tactics, the suicide thrust…! Egads… Weber or Zahn might want to change that first Epilogue to a Prologue, though. It was irritating that Zahn left me hanging about the fate of the Phoenix! I liked Brad.

The Characters

Yeah, I know, I don’t normally track the characters of short stories, but I want the information for myself since this plays directly into the Honorverse with the Royal Manticoran Navy, and I didn’t see much point in holding it back from y’all.

The Royal Manticoran Navy
Lieutenant Travis U. Long, a.k.a., Travesty, is gung-ho on military and maintenance procedures. A fact that is not welcomed by those over and under him on HMS Phoenix which is commanded by that jerk, Captain Castillo. I mean, no one has threatened their navy in, well, a century. Ensign Locatelli is onboard through nepotism — his uncle is Admiral Carlton Locatelli, and he expects this to grease his way upward. Lieutenant Commander Bajek is the ship’s weapon’s officer. Senior Chief Fire Control Tech Lorelei Osterman is sympathetic but realistic. Brad Fornier is one of the capable ones and also sympathetic. Commander Vance Sladek is the Phoenix‘s executive officer.

The HMS Casey is captained by Commander Rudolph Heissman with Commander Celia Belokas as his exec. Lieutenant Commander Alfred Woodburn is the ship’s tactical officer. Lieutenant Rusk. Captain Shapira is part of Heissman’s task force.

King Edward is the current ruler of Manticore.

Jeremiah Lyn is short and unassuming in appearance and works for the Axelrod Corporation; he’s hiring the Volsung Mercenaries for his employer’s ambitions. Self-styled Admiral Cutler Gensonne leads a mercenary band, the Volsung Mercenaries. Captain Sweeney Imbar is the commander of the Odin. Captain Blakeley is a scrappy if snarky fighter. McConnovitch is a data scavenger. Captain Olver‘s ship, the Naglfar, is playing the dying “swan”.

David Weber’s “Beauty and the Beast” is…

…a look at how Alfred Harrington met and fell in love with Allison Chu. Which of course, I loved. I do adore getting the backstory on characters I love. And Weber provides both humor and dramatic tension in this.

The Characters

Lieutenant Karl Alfred Harrington has just been promoted from sergeant and received the Osterman Cross for his very hush-hush action on Clematis. Upon accepting his promotion, Harrington requested a transfer into the Navy and to attend the Ignaz Semmelweis University of Beowulf in Grendel, the most prestigious medical school in the galaxy.

Allison Carmena Elena Inéz Regina Benton-Ramirez y Chou has been passing at the university. She wants to carve her own way, on her own merits and is studying gene therapy and surgery.

Jacques Benton-Ramirez y Chou is both Allison’s twin and older brother — and the Benton-Ramirez y Chou family is Beowulf, almost royalty. He portrays a dilettante but is actually in an undercover role with the Biological Survey Corps (BSC), which is actually more of a black ops military unit that coordinates frequently with the Audubon Ballroom. Sojourner X is a genetically modified slave who escaped; he’s now a professor at the university, an informer with Jacques, and a member of the Ballroom. Colonel Sean Hamilton-Mitsotakis is Jacques’ superior.

Captain Howard Young is related to the North Hollows; in this story, he’s the Manticoran military attaché on Grendel. Franz Iliescu is a jerk of a Manticoran with a huge chip on his shoulder studying at the university and very annoyed with Harrington’s presence. Dr. Penelope Mwo-chi is probably the most highly qualified neurosurgeon in the galaxy and the reason why Harrington wants to attend this school.

Giuseppe Ardmore and Tobin Manischewitz are Manpower agents on Beowulf; their cover is as employees of Black Mountain Security. Manpower is an extremely wealthy private corporation which manufactures genetically modified slaves and is located on Mesa.

The Solarian League is Earth.

David Weber’s “The Best Laid Plans” is…

…the tale of how Honor bonded with Laughs Brightly. And it all begins with an illicit field trip into dangerous territory for a bouquet of her mother’s favorite tulips. Lucky for Honor, that Laughs Brightly and Sharp Nose are there inspecting the promise, or lack thereof, of the pods that are important as part of the treecats’ winter diet.

The Characters

Honor Harrington (the treecats call her Dances on Clouds) is thirteen years old and quite adventurous — very like her ancestress, Stephanie Harrington. Laughs Brightly, descended from Climbs Quickly, is a mischievous scout with the Bright Water Clan of treecats, and he has no intention of bonding with a human. Sharp Nose is his younger brother; Songstress is the clan’s newest memory singer and the daughter of their mother’s sister. Death Fang’s Bane Clan is how the treecats refer to Stephanie’s descendants.

Commander Alfred Harrington is her dad (Deep Roots), and he’s currently stationed on Hephaestus; Dr. Allison Harrington is her mother.

Ranger McIntyre is the Sphinx Forestry Service ranger Honor contacts for help.

Joelle Presby’s “Obligated Service” was…

…terrible. Oh, it was, um, emotional enough, but Presby didn’t keep it together enough for me to understand the subplots going on. It took forever before I figured out that the Grayson Navy officers were trying to scare off the Grayson women. I still don’t understand what Claire’s underlying reason was for staying in the navy. Oh, it was easy enough at the very end, thank god, but I struggled throughout the story. It read more like Presby had ideas that she dropped in place but forgot to connect and smooth out. It was just too disconnected for me.

It takes place in the early days of the Grayson Navy’s cooperation with Manticore.

The Cover and Title

The cover is Baen-proud with brilliant colors and dramatic action as a fleet of spaceships hover over an armor-clad man racing through flames with an unconscious woman over his shoulders as the bad guys are firing at him.

The title reflects the time period in which the short stories are set; they are Beginnings and take us back in time.