Mission Of Honor (Honor Harrington Series)
by David Weber
Cover Artist: David Mattingly
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781439133613
Date: 22 June 2010 List Price $27.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Honor is back. After a divergence for two duologies, Honor Harrington is back at the center of events in the 20th Honorverse entry. This is also the twelfth mainline story. The four novels that fit between this novel and War of Honor followed other characters and provide details that lead to many of the events in this entry. As the novel begins, the war with Haven continues and the tensions with the Solarian League escalate.
Honor arrives at Noveau Paris to negotiate the end of the war. Things seem to finally be going Manitcore's way. Their building programs are going well and the new weapons and defensive systems gave them an edge when facing their enemies. Naturally, the secret group running Mesa has other plans. They have been preparing a fleet in a secret location with advanced technology. This situation is definitely not going to lead to good things for the Manticorian Alliance.
It will come as no surprise that there will be attacks that will change the balance of power and leave Manitcore's home system open for attack by either the Solarians or the Havenites. As always, Honor must try to salvage the situation. The return of Victor Cachat and Anton Zilwicki from their Mesan adventure, detailed in Torch of Freedom, brings knowledge and opportunity to create a common purpose. Although nothing is definitely resolved, the final war that has been hinted at for a long times seems to be getting nearer.
As a later entry into a long series, this isn't the place to start. The mainline stories need to be read prior to this one. The Wages of Sin duology would be helpful to read as well. Also good, but not essential is The Saganami series. To understand the many references, it would be advisable to read them all. Naturally fans of the series probably already have read them.
Although this was a good novel and the writing style hasn't changed, I didn't find myself as passionate as I was about the earlier entries in the series. I reread the mainline stories as I was awaiting Mission of Honor and I realize that part of my issue is due to the spreading of the story. As Honor gained power and prestige, there was less focus on her and the relationships that she developed. The switch came as each subsequent novel seemed to get bigger and thicker. The addition of too many points of view also hurt the flow of the story. Being jumped around to so many perspectives is fine in other books, but not what is expected in this series. There is still plenty of entertainment to be found, and Nimitz still loves celery, I just didn't find it as good as the first few Honor books.
Fans of Honor Harrington will still enjoy this novel. Those who enjoy multiple perspectives may also want to check out Weber's SafeHold series. The Naval aspects remain, but they are age of sail rather than space based.