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By Heresies Distressed (Safehold Series #3)

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted August 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Ongoing Safehold Saga: A Complex But Occasionally Off-putting Historical Fantasy

    This multilayered addition weaves a complex portrait of political intrigue/tactics and empire building, but that same complexity lessens the protagonists' roles and muddles reader sympathy. Multiple story lines become attenuated and jumbled in recounting the expansion of the Charisian empire to surrounding island nations. Previously unknown characters take leading roles during combat, and Caleb, assisted by Merlin, directs rather than fights battles. The primary characters become less important and less sympathetic. Technological and surveillance advantages cybernetic Merlin has given to Caleb/Charis causes empathy for the beleaguered and besieged opposing Corisande forces. Plus, the dubious morality of precipitating a global religious war without informing the populace of the ultimate necessity for rejecting the established and artificial church doctrine stifles enthusiasm for the Charisian cause and reduces the appeal of Caleb, Merlin and Merlin's inner circle. The phrase, "the ends don't justify the means..," comes to mind in the context of inciting war and causing countless deaths under the aegis of a sham religious reformation to jump start technological advancement through conflict and topple a corrupt but finite cabal of four church-leaders. Moreover, aided by overly formal and unnatural dialogue by Caleb and Sharleyan, an underlying smugness (assumed superiority) on the part of the protagonists emerges. In sum, this book comprehensively builds upon the ongoing saga of the Charisian Empire's religious rebellion, but pathos and intimacy are lost in the process. Similar to its predecessor, this book fails to utilized any futuristic concepts other than cybernetic Merlin and his surveillance/communication/transport technology. I recommend this book to any historical fantasy fan, but warn against reading it w/out first reading "Off Armageddon Reef" and "By Schism Rent Asunder."

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

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    Continues to build upon the story...

    If you've read other Weber series, you know that there always seems to be a book or two that focuses on advancing the storylines without much battle action. This one does have some combat, but not nearly the amount the previous two had. There are however, a couple of interesting plot lines and developments to keep your interest. Mother Church is working to build up to a Holy War...sounds vaguely like G.W. and his administration. Spin doctoring of the war and the politics has contemporary parallels. It's a good book, but a little light on both pages and combat. It appears that Weber is busy writing more than one series at a time, and this one has paid the price this time around. Now we have to wait (probably another year) for the next installment.

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