A Beautiful Friendship (Star Kingdom Series #1)

( 18 )

Overview

Stephanie Harrington always expected to be a forest ranger on her homeworld of Meyerdahl . . . until her parents relocated to the frontier planet of Sphinx in the far distant Star Kingdom of Manticore. It should have been the perfect new home —- a virgin wilderness full of new species of every sort, just waiting to be discovered. But Sphinx is a far more dangerous place than ultra-civilized Meyerdahl, and Stephanie’s explorations come to a sudden halt when her parents lay down ...

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A Beautiful Friendship

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Overview

Stephanie Harrington always expected to be a forest ranger on her homeworld of Meyerdahl . . . until her parents relocated to the frontier planet of Sphinx in the far distant Star Kingdom of Manticore. It should have been the perfect new home —- a virgin wilderness full of new species of every sort, just waiting to be discovered. But Sphinx is a far more dangerous place than ultra-civilized Meyerdahl, and Stephanie’s explorations come to a sudden halt when her parents lay down the law: no trips into the bush without adult supervision!

Yet Stephanie is a young woman determined to make discoveries, and the biggest one of all awaits her: an intelligent alien species.

The forest-dwelling treecats are small, cute, smart, and have a pronounced taste for celery. And they are also very, very deadly when they or their friends are threatened . . . as Stephanie discovers when she comes face-to-face with Sphinx’s most lethal predator after a hang-gliding accident.

But her discoveries are only beginning, for the treecats are also telepathic and able to bond with certain humans, and Stephanie’s find —- and her first-of-its kind bond with the treecat Climbs Quickly —- land both of them in a fresh torrent of danger. Galactic-sized wealth is at stake, and Stephanie and the treecats are squarely in the path of highly placed enemies determined to make sure the planet Sphinx remains entirely in human hands, even if that means the extermination of another thinking species.

Unfortunately for those enemies, the treecats have saved Stephanie Harrington’s life. She owes them . . . and Stephanie is a young woman who stands by her friends.

Which means things are about to get very interesting on Sphinx.

About A Beautiful Friendship:

“It’s rare to find teen science fiction that strays beyond popular dystopian fare. The environmental messages, human-animal friendship, humor, action, and inventive technology will make this series starter an easy hit. . . .”—Booklist

About David Weber and the Honor Harrington series:

“. . .everything you could want in a heroine….excellent…plenty of action.”—Science Fiction Age

“Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!”—Anne McCaffrey

“Compelling combat combined with engaging characters for a great space opera adventure.”—Locus

“Weber combines realistic, engaging characters with intelligent technological projection. . .Fans of this venerable space opera will rejoice. . .”—Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Weber, the bestselling creator of the Honor Harrington books, digs into prequel territory with this series launch starring Stephanie Harrington, Honor's ancestress. While Weber's adult fanbase will find much to enjoy, teenage readers may find the expository writing and adult politics off-putting. An only child and a prodigy, Stephanie is 11 when the story begins, isolated and bored on the newly colonized planet Sphinx. The colonists are unaware they are under surveillance by a race of sentient, six-legged felines until someone notices small thefts. Stephanie decides to catch the thief, but instead establishes a strange, empathic link with the marauding "treecat," Climbs Quickly. Stephanie deals with interstellar politics and local bigotry as she develops her connection with Climbs Quickly. There's a strong whiff of 1950s Heinlein to this story, especially in the roles allotted to women: though Stephanie gets older, she does not mature, nor does she apparently experience puberty, and her increasing self-control is largely attributed to Climbs Quickly's influence. Nevertheless, the profound connection between Stephanie and her treecat will likely maintain readers' interests through the more challenging aspects of Weber's world-building. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Weber's first YA novel stars Stephanie Harrington, who shares the intelligence and determination of her descendant, Honor Harrington, from the author's adult series. To divert Stephanie from entering the woods that harbor dangerous beasties, her mother sets her the problem of discovering how something is poaching celery, of all things, from human farms. The teen is remarkably successful, not only discovering the culprits to be the smallest known sapient species, heretofore unknown to humanity, but bonding with one as well. She conceals her treecat's existence from everyone until a disaster brings Lionheart's clan and her parents to the rescue. Flash forward two years and Stephanie is walking a fine line between cooperating with xeno-anthropologists who want to study the creatures and concealing as much about them as possible for their protection. She has a few allies beyond her parents, including Scott MacDallan, the only other human bonded to a treecat. Then a "scientist" who the animals and their human allies instinctively distrust appears on the scene. There is a quality to Weber's novel that recalls young adult science fiction from decades ago with its earnest protagonists and complete absence of cursing that mixes strangely with some of the technical elements like handgun specs. Even if non-dystopian sci-fi weren't extremely scarce though, Weber's likable heroine, empathic aliens, and quick pacing make this a worthy addition.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451638264
  • Publisher: Baen
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Series: Star Kingdom Series , #1
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 170,355
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.64 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

David Weber

With over seven million copies of his books in print and seventeen titles on the New York Times bestseller list, David Weber is the science fiction publishing phenomenon of the new millennium. In the hugely popular Honor Harrington series, the spirit of C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower and Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander lives on—into the galactic future. Books in the Honor Harrington and Honoverse series have appeared on fourteen best seller lists, including those of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today. While Weber is best known for his spirited, modern-minded space operas, he is also the creator of the Oath of Swords fantasy series and the Dahak SF saga. Weber is has also engaged in a steady stream of bestselling collaborations including his Starfire series with Steve White, which produced the New York Times bestseller The Shiva Option among others. Weber’s collaboration with alternate history master Eric Flint led to the bestselling 1634: The Baltic War, and his planetary adventure novels with military science fiction ace and multiple national best-seller John Ringo includes the blockbusters March to the Stars and We Few. Finally, Weber’s teaming with Linda Evans produced the bestselling Multiverse series. David Weber makes his home in South Carolina with his wife and children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 10, 2011

    Good start to the Harrington series.

    The front part is an expanded version the the short story.
    It continues with new continuation to the story of the first time the treecats contact with humans.
    I could not put it down.....

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This fascinating look at ancestors of Honor Harrington is an enjoyable young adult science fiction thriller

    Xeno-veterinarian Richard Harrington, his botanist wife Marjorie and their twelve years old daughter Stephanie move from planet Meyerdahl to Sphinx. The adults are ecstatic with relocating but their tweener offspring is upset having to leave behind friends and the big city of Hollister to reside in boring rustic Two Forks where harsh winters never end. Stephanie finds herself as an outsider with kids her age as her interests in xeno forests is shared by none of them

    Native to Sphinx are the sentient treecats. They are cautious about revealing themselves to the two-legged outsiders. Thus Climbs Quickly is tasked with observing those residing on the Harrington farm.

    Stephanie is fascinated with someone stealing celery from her mom's greenhouse and those of others. The locals set traps, but she sees how inane their attempts are. Instead she sets her own gizmo to try to capture the thief. She sees a six-legged treecat climbing out a window and takes a picture. Using a glider, she searches and meets Climbs Quickly as a storm threatens both of them followed by a stalking beast.

    This fascinating look at ancestors of Honor Harrington is an enjoyable young adult science fiction thriller that focuses on the first bonding between a treecat and a human. The story line is character driven by the humans and the treecats as two cultures collide not always smoothly. Although background between how well the two species, especially their respective families, cope with the unique bonding is ignored for action, readers will appreciate A Star Kingdom's tale of the beginning of A Beautiful Friendship.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2014

    Highly recommended

    Loved this book, so I read the sequels and then started the Honor Harrington series. If you like science fiction with lots of action and great characters, read David Weber. As far as this book itself is concerned, the world of the treecats is beautifully and lovingly told.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2012

    Recommended for all--especially feline fanciers!

    David Weber is an exceptionally well-known writer among those who read science fiction, most particularly for his military science fiction series featuring Honor Harrington. The series spans Honor’s career in the Royal Manticoran Navy from midshipman to Grand Duchess and Admiral. And wherever Honor went, she was accompanied by her treecat, Nimitz, usually riding on her specially-padded shoulder.

    Honor was born on Sphinx, a planet in the Star Kingdom of Manticore–a world settled by colonists from Earth. Treecats were the native sentient species on Sphinx, six-legged, telepathic, and looking something like domestic cats with very long prehensile tails. Treecats and humans sometimes formed an empathic lifelong bond.

    A Beautiful Friendship is the story of Stephanie Harrington, one of Honor’s ancestors, and the colonist who made first contact with the treecats. This is a coming-of-age story, showing interactions between human and treecat even as Stephanie is growing up and trying to figure out what to do with herself and her future. It’s a colonization story, set on a pioneer planet that still holds many dangers, with people exploring and learning about their new home. And it’s also a classic “first-contact” story, handling the complicated twists and turns that occur when the colonists realize that they share the planet with another sentient species–and that species was there first!

    Most of the story is told from Stephanie’s point of view–this is her story, make no mistake. Occasional scenes and chapters fill in gaps using some of the adults as viewpoint characters where absolutely necessary to the plot. The other main viewpoint character is Lionheart, Stephanie’s treecat, or as he is referred to by his clan, Climbs Quickly. The chapters from his point of view, explaining treecat society and motivations is a real treat. The treecats find “two-legs” very confusing. For those familiar with Carole Nelson Douglas’s Midnight Louie mysteries, these chapters are a similar read to those from Louie’s viewpoint (a Las Vegas private eye with four black paws–see the TICA Trend vol.32, no.6 for a review of Midnight Louie’s latest).

    While Stephanie is an exceptionally bright girl, she is also quick-to-anger, and fiercely protective of those she loves. When she is in trouble, she looks for a logical solution to the problem, and really tries to think outside the box. But sometimes there isn’t an easy or quick solution, and she ended up frustrated, but that made the book a more satisfying read as she worked her way through more complex and layered problems.

    I particularly enjoyed the insight into treecat society and their description of human activities–“Why should they need a nest place so large?” I also enjoyed the brief forays into the economics of colonization, and the concept of aided immigration: paying for your passage to the colony and earning the right to vote sooner versus having the government cover your passage and then paying taxes for several years before you voted in planetary elections.

    While clearly aimed at and marketed as a young adult book, A Beautiful Friendship is suitable for people of all ages, most especially those who have shared a special relationship with a feline at some point in their lives.

    A Beautiful Friendship is based on a short story of the same title, which appeared in the anthologies More Than Honor and Worlds of Weber.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Very good follow up to the short story

    This is based on a series of short story's from about 2 years ago
    Fills in some of the blanks between stores, but I feel there is a new series coming

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2014

    Excellent!!

    Now where is the next in the series?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    Hmmmmmm.

    I liked the sci fi part of it, but i kinda felt like it was too long and winding. I am going to try the next book, fire season

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    Great Book

    Wonderful book. Young readers, teens, adults.... great read.

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  • Posted June 18, 2013

    Great Beginning

    Great start to the whole Manticore story.

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  • Posted June 27, 2012

    This is as close to a Robert Heinlein Boys' Life story as this g

    This is as close to a Robert Heinlein Boys' Life story as this generation will get. No PC crud, no "we're all gonna die" gloom. If you've got a preteen girl, get it for her. Read it yourself, too! "I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children's story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story. The good ones last" (Of Other Worlds, p. 24)

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    First contact YA

    This new YA series by David Weber builds on one of my favorite short stories with the same name by David Weber. The book is out now but I am making this review based on the ARC so things might differ in details.

    This takes place some three hundred years before the Honor stories. It is kind of an origin story in that it portrays how the Harrington family settled on Sphinx and how young Stephanie meets and befriend one of the secretly sentient treecats there. Stephanie's story starts like any ordinary teenage story with issues of parental control and resentment for her parents for dragging her off to the boonies.

    It switches pov between humans and treecats mainly Stephanie and Climbs Quickly. It has the famous Celery thieves' episode I loved in the short story. It is over all an enjoyable read but I have some issues. Sometimes the story just stops abruptly. Like when scott was about to tell how the cats where communicating with him. It didn't disturb much since I have read that short story. But there is also a jump in the story from the first meeting to scott and his story, I felt the narration lacked a segue there. Giving me the feeling it is just a couple of short stories stitched together with the bare minimum of an overall storyline. This disappointed me.

    I am also a bit disappointed that the inner life of Stephanie doesn't come out and play.

    I am a great fan of David Weber and his works and it pains me that I found A Beautiful Friendship delightful in parts but lacking in the whole. Maybe Jane Lindskold will make better work with the sequels.

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  • Posted July 21, 2011

    Honor Harrington, David Weber, nuf said.

    Have not read book yet but soooooo want to. It's David Weber and Honor Harrington. Nuf said.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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