Midst Toil and Tribulation (Safehold Series #6)
  • Midst Toil and Tribulation (Safehold Series #6)
  • Midst Toil and Tribulation (Safehold Series #6)

Midst Toil and Tribulation (Safehold Series #6)

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by David Weber

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David Weber's New York Times bestselling Safehold series of military Science Fiction adventure, which began with Off Armageddon Reef, continues with Midst Toil and Tribulation


Once the Church of God Awaiting dominated all the kingdoms of Safehold. Then, after centuries of stasis, the island kingdom of Charis

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David Weber's New York Times bestselling Safehold series of military Science Fiction adventure, which began with Off Armageddon Reef, continues with Midst Toil and Tribulation


Once the Church of God Awaiting dominated all the kingdoms of Safehold. Then, after centuries of stasis, the island kingdom of Charis began to defy the edicts of Mother Church-egged on, some say, by the mysterious warrior-monk Merlin Athrawes, who enjoys the Charisian royal family's absolute trust.

What vanishingly few people know is that Merlin is the cybernetic avatar of a young woman a thousand years dead, felled in the war in which aliens destroyed Earth...and that since awakening, his task has been to restart the history of the long-hidden human race.

Now, reeling from the wars and intrigues that have cascaded from Charis's declaration of independence, the Republic of Siddermark slides into chaos. The Church has engineered a rebellion, and Siddermark's all-important harvest is at risk. King Cayleb and Queen Sharleyan struggle to stabilize their ally, which will mean sending troops-but, even more importantly, preventing famine. For mass starvation in Safehold's breadbasket is a threat even more ominous than civil war...

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Editorial Reviews

The sixth volume of David Weber's action-packed Safehold series escalates as starvation threatens the battle-torn Republic of Siddermark. Enthusiasts of military sci-fi have found a reliable source in the works of this prolific, tech-savvy author. Bristles with invention and flux. Now in mass-market paperback and NOOK Book.

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Safehold Series, #6
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.40(d)

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Gray Wall Mountains, Glacierheart Province, Republic of Siddarmark


Snow veils hung in the clear, icy air, dancing on the knife-edged wind that swirled across the snowpack, and the highest peaks, towering as much as a mile higher than his present position, cast blue shadows across the snow.

It looked firm and inviting to the unwary eye, that snowpack, but Wahlys Mahkhom had been born and raised in the Gray Walls. He knew better, and his eyes were hard and full of hate behind his smoked-glass snow goggles as his belly snarled resentfully. Accustomed as he was to winter weather even here in the Gray Walls, and despite his fur-trimmed parka and heavy mittens, he felt the ice settling into his bones and muscles. It needed only a momentary carelessness for a man to freeze to death in these mountains in winter, even at the best of times, and these were far from the best of times. The Glacierheart winter burned energy like one of Shan-wei’s own demons, and food was scarcer than Mahkhom could ever remember. Glacierheart’s high, stony mountainsides and rocky fields had never yielded bountiful crops, yet there’d always been at least something in the storehouses to be eked out by hunters like Mahkhom. But not this year. This year the storehouses had been burned—first by one side, then by the other in retaliation—and the fields, such as they were, were buried beneath the deepest, bitterest snow anyone could remember. It was as if God Himself was determined to punish innocent and guilty alike, and there were times—more times than he liked to admit—when Wahlys Mahkhom wondered if there would be anyone left alive to plant the next year’s crops.

His teeth wanted to chatter like some lowland dancer’s castanets, and he dragged the thick scarf his mother had knitted years ago higher. He laid the extra layer of insulation across the snow mask covering his face, and the hatred in his eyes turned harder and far, far colder than the winter about him as he touched that scarf and with it the memory of why his mother would never knit another.

He raised his head cautiously, looking critically about himself once more. But his companions were as mountain-wise as he was. They were just as well hidden under the white canopies of the sheets they’d brought with them, and he bared those edge-of-chattering teeth in hard, vengeful satisfaction. The snowshoe trek to their positions had been exhausting, especially for men who’d cut themselves dangerously short on rations for the trip. They knew better than that, of course, but how did a man take the food he really needed with him when he looked into the eyes of the starving child who would have to go without if he did? That was a question Wahlys Mahkhom couldn’t answer—not yet, at any rate—and he never wanted to be able to.

He settled back down, nestling into his hole in the snow, using the snow itself for insulation, watching the trail that crept through the mountains below him like a broken-backed serpent. They’d waited patiently for an entire day and a half, but if the target they anticipated failed to arrive soon, they’d be forced to abandon the mission. The thought woke a slow, savage furnace of fury within him to counterpoint the mountains’ icy cold, yet he made himself face it. He’d seen hate-fired determination and obstinacy kill too many men this bitter winter, and he refused to die stupidly. Not when he had so many men still to kill.

He didn’t know exactly what the temperature was, although Safehold had remarkably accurate thermometers, a gift of the archangels who’d created Mahkhom’s world. He didn’t have to know exactly. Nor did he have to know he was nine thousand feet above sea level on a planet with an axial inclination eleven degrees greater and an average temperature seven degrees lower than a world called Earth, of which he had never heard. All he had to know was that a few moments’ carelessness would be enough to—

His thoughts froze as a flicker of movement caught his eye. He watched, scarcely daring to breathe, as the flicker repeated itself. It was far away, hard to make out in the dimness of the steep-walled pass, but all the fury and anger within him had distilled itself suddenly into a still, calm watchfulness, focused and far colder than the mountains about him.

The movement drew closer, resolving itself into a long line of white-clad men, slogging along the trail on snowshoes like the ones buried beside Mahkhom’s hole in the snow. Half of them were bowed under heavy packs, and no less than six sleds drawn by snow lizards accompanied them. Mahkhom’s eyes glittered with satisfaction as he saw those sleds and realized their information had been accurate after all.

He didn’t bother to look around for the other men buried in the snow about him, or for the other men hidden in the dense stands of evergreens half a mile farther down that icy trail from his icy perch. He knew where they were, knew they were as ready and watchful as he himself. The careless ones, the rash ones, were already dead; those who remained had added hard-learned lessons to the hunter’s and trapper’s skills they’d already possessed. And like Mahkhom himself, his companions had too much killing to do to let themselves die foolishly.

No Glacierheart miner or trapper could afford one of the expensive Lowlander firearms. Even if they could have afforded the weapons themselves, powder and ball came dear. For that matter, even a steel-bowed arbalest was hideously expensive, over two full months’ income for a master coal miner, but a properly maintained arbalest lasted for generations. Mahkhom had inherited his from his father, and his father from his father, and a man could always make the ammunition he needed. Now he rolled over onto his back under his concealing sheet. He removed his over-mittens and braced the steel bow stave against his feet while his gloved hands cranked the windlass. He took his time, for there was no rush. It would take those men and those snow lizards the better part of a quarter hour to reach the designated point, and the mountain air was crystal clear. Better to take the time to span the weapon this way, however awkward it might be, then to risk skylining himself and warning his enemies of their peril.

He finished cranking, made sure the string was securely latched over the pawl, and detached the windlass. Then he rolled back over, setting a square-headed quarrel on the string. He brought the arbalest into position, gazing through the ring sight, watching and waiting, his heart as cold as the wind, while those marching figures crept closer and closer.

For a moment, far below the surface of his thoughts, a bit of the man he’d been only three or four months earlier stared aghast at what was about to happen here on this high, icy mountain trail. That tiny fragment of the Wahlys Mahkhom who still had a family knew that many of those men had families, as well. It knew those families were as desperate for the food on those lizard-drawn sleds as the families he’d left huddling around fires in the crudely built cabins and huts where they’d taken shelter when their villages were burned about their ears. It knew about the starvation, and the sickness, and the death that would stalk other women and other children when this day’s work was done. But none of the rest of him listened to that tiny, lost fragment, for it had work to do.

The center of that marching column of men reached the base of the single pine, standing alone and isolated as a perfect landmark, and under the ice- and frost-clotted snow mask protecting his face, Mahkhom’s smile was the snarl of a hunting slash lizard. He waited a single heartbeat longer, and then his hands squeezed the trigger and his arbalest spat a sunlight-gilded sliver of death through that crystal mountain air.


Copyright © 2012 by David Weber

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Midst Toil and Tribulation 4.1 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 63 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An awesome book as with the entire series. Its an in depth look at the effects of corruption in places of power whether it be religous or secular power, mixed with a briefing on how gunpowder increasingly changed the rules of warfare and of society. well worth picking up
F-111_Fixer More than 1 year ago
I love this series, but the last two books have been a little heavy on individual details and only brief spurts of action. I am real happy with the character development in light of the major losses of some beloved charaters in #4, Hecktor and Irys for two big examples. This book also only encompasses about 8 months or so, there was no real progress at getting to the Temple. As David has indicated in interviews there are 5, 6 or more books planned, I will buy them at pre-order release, no doubt and I will be sad to see the saga end, I do hope he gets on with a bit more progress at 'taking care' of Zhaspahr Clyntahn That will be the day I will stand up where ever I am at and yell "YESSSS!". Buy it and enjoy!
Thai-guy More than 1 year ago
I could hardly wait until the next installment was read and gone!!
BillRi More than 1 year ago
The first book of this series was intriguing enough to continue, but as the series progresses the plot-lines begin to stale and more and more it seems that the author is just filling pages. And this book in the series ends so abruptly, that it might well have been with an incomplete sentence. Authors need to realize that extending a series just to sell more books will, in the long run, hurt everyone.
BookfanEN More than 1 year ago
One caveat - you should read the other books starting with "Off Armageddon Reef" - this is truly a series and should be read as such. David Weber is a historian, and writes in detail about warfare and religious conflict.
Harried More than 1 year ago
Each book in the series gets better. I do like the way background materiel is added during the course of the book to help a new reader understand what has gone before. His writing just seems to improve. This story line is very original and very detailed. However, it does have similarities with the Honor Harrington series in that the science is closely related to the well developed plots. Each book stands by itself but read in sequence a person has a very enjoyable read which requires you to sit on the edge of your seat. Waiting for the next issue in the series is a challenge but well worth the wait. The character development is very well done with multidimensional aspects for each character.
180A More than 1 year ago
Of course, that's only if you've read the first 5. If you have, you know what you're in for, a good story, even if the characters act in fairly predictable ways. Weber has a good grasp of history, and part of the fun is figuring out which parts he's borrowing from. If you haven't read #1, Off Armageddon Reef, do so.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was very satisfied with this. Lots of surprises action and a character development and intrigue. A bit wordy in some places for sure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like this series by David Weber, I have all his Honor Harrington series books too, but this is #6 and, I'm guessing, there are several more to go since there's no resolution in this book. If you're interested, start with the beginning and, if you're like me, be prepared to be annoyed about Weber's naming practice: Clyntahn for Clinton and there's worse.
A_Fester More than 1 year ago
While I find the themes in the Safehold series to be repetitive of things Mr. Weber has done previously in other novels/series, he has perhaps perfected those themes here. I do not generally like to read a series that spans an innumerable number of books (this is #6!), but I can appreciate an author running with a commercial success. That said, this is perhaps the best so far of the series in content, execution, and flow. It is certainly enjoyable with remarkably good characterizations, dialog, and plotting. Mr. Weber cleverly displays his depth and breadth of historical knowledge while weaving such into an entertaining story.
Anonymous 7 months ago
TakomaGeezer More than 1 year ago
Weber's 6th installment of the series is a worthy addition, but like some of the previous installments it is very heavy on characterization and world building (and often repetitious at that) that someone who has read the previous 5 novels will find tedious and unnecessary. David -- if you are reading this -- you might consider writing a prologue to each of the future installments that summarizes what has occurred in the past, re-introduces us to the characters and plot lines, and then gets into the meat of the story. By now, we all get the basic premises and whenever a new character is introduced there is no need to make sure that every other major character interacts with them and understands their angst, conflicts, etc. It gets so very tired after a while and I found myself skipping through entire chapters that were solely devoted to a character ruminating about whether to join the heretic church or deal with a personal issue. But, once Weber gets done with the preliminaries at around page 300 of my Nook version, the rocket ship took off and Weber was at his best. I really enjoyed how he has created what appears to be an impossible military situation and how he has used what should have been obvious to the reader characteristics of geography (the canals) to slow down the Army of God. The ending was appropriate and sets the stage for the next book quite well.
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Thomas_Dem More than 1 year ago
Another great moving book of the continuing Safehold story. Learn new reasons to hate the Inquisition.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not the best of the series, but still great development of characters.  His plot is plodding, but the intrigue makes up for it.
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mikentexas More than 1 year ago
I find the nautical aspects of this book a bit tedious (I don't see how the planet can be both earth-like and as big as it is), but the rest of it is a great read. Everytime I think I have the end-game figured out, there is a new twist to get my attention. I still don't see how Charis wins in the end without special interference. David Weber continues to show himself as the pre-eminent science fiction/fantasy writer today.