Inspired by C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series, David Weber’s Honor Harrington universe has spanned ten novels in the HH series as well as four short story collections. And now, Weber has further expanded the Honorverse and introduced a new band of characters by creating a great spin-off series which begins with The Shadow of Saganami. TSoS is the second Honorverse novel not centered around Honor Harrington herself. Crown of Slaves was Weber’s first spin-off, but TSoS is the beginning of a whole new series set within the Honor Harrington universe.
The Star Kingdom of Manticore is at war once again with the Republic of Haven. The story follows a group of graduates from the Manticoran Space Navy at Saganami Island. A group of midshipmen has been assigned to duty aboard the heavy cruiser HMS Hexapuma and sent to a backwater region known as the Talbott Cluster. They find themselves serving under a war-weary captain and a station commander who is not exactly known as a brilliant and insightful leader. This is not exactly what Admiral Harrington’s students had expected for their first assignment.
While many of the solar systems in the Talbott Cluster have voted to join the Star Kingdom of Manticore, a conspiracy is afoot to prevent that from happening. An alliance is formed by many enemies of Manticore, including pirates, terrorists, genetic slavers and weapons smugglers who make a pact to destroy the Star Kingdom. While the Star Kingdom is fighting a war on one front against the Republic of Haven, these enemies are planning for a rear attack against Manticore. HMS Hexapuma, her captain and her untested crew are all that stand in their way.
The Shadow of Saganami contains a great balance of military action and political drama (I think Weber creates a better balance in this book than he did previously in War of Honor). This book is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Weber does a great job of branching out and expanding the Honorverse in TSoS. Weber has plans for more Honorverse books, including nine more HH novels and eight or nine more in The Shadow of Saganami series. I look forward to reading more from David Weber – both from the main Honor Harrington series as well as spin-off novels like this.