A Mighty Fortress (Safehold Series #4)

( 211 )

Overview

Young Cayleb Ahrmahk has accomplished things few people could even dream of. Not yet even thirty years old, he’s won the most crushing naval victories in human history. He’s smashed a hostile alliance of no less than five princedoms and won the hand of the beautiful young Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm. Cayleb and Sharleyan have created the Charisian Empire, the greatest naval power in the history of Safehold, and they’ve turned Charis into a place of refuge for all who treasure ...

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A Mighty Fortress (Safehold Series #4)

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Overview

Young Cayleb Ahrmahk has accomplished things few people could even dream of. Not yet even thirty years old, he’s won the most crushing naval victories in human history. He’s smashed a hostile alliance of no less than five princedoms and won the hand of the beautiful young Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm. Cayleb and Sharleyan have created the Charisian Empire, the greatest naval power in the history of Safehold, and they’ve turned Charis into a place of refuge for all who treasure freedom.

Their success may prove short-lived. The Church of God Awaiting, which controls most of Safehold, has decreed their destruction. Mother Church’s entire purpose is to prevent the very things to which Charis is committed. Since the first attempt to crush the heretics failed, the Church has no choice but to adopt some of the hated Charisian innovations for themselves. Soon a mighty fleet will sail against Cayleb, destroying everything in its path.

But there are still matters about which the Church knows nothing, including Cayleb and Sharleyan’s adviser, friend, and guardian— the mystic warrior-monk named Merlin Athrawes. Merlin knows all about battles against impossible odds, because he is in fact the cybernetic avatar of a young woman named Nimue Alban, who died a thousand years before. As Nimue, Merlin saw the entire Terran Federation go down in fire and slaughter at the hands of a foe it could not defeat. He knows that Safehold is the last human planet in existence, and that the stasis the Church was created to enforce will be the human race’s death sentence if it is allowed to stand.

The juggernaut is rumbling down on Charis, but Merlin Athrawes and a handful of extraordinary human beings stand in its path. The Church is about to discover just how potent the power of human freedom truly is.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

The David Weber series that began with Off Armageddon Reef, By Schism Rent Asunder, and By Heresies Distressed continues in full battle mode. The Charisian Empire that Cayleb Ahrmahk established with his great naval victories is now threatened by Safehold's repressive Church of God Awakening, which is now moving with a powerful fleet against them. Fortunately, Ahrmahk and his beautiful queen Sharleyan have a powerful ally already in their camp: Merlin Athawes. This mystic warrior-monk possesses insights that can save the gravely embattled empire. Bound to be a bestseller. Now in mass market paperback.

From the Publisher
“Gripping…Shifting effortlessly between battles among warp-speed starships and among oar-powered galleys, Weber brings the political maneuvering, past and future technologies, and vigorous protagonists together for a cohesive, engrossing whole." —Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Off Armageddon Reef

“A superb cast of characters and plenty of action…. This fine book gives new luster to Weber’s reputation and new pleasure to his fans.” —Booklist, starred review, on By Schism Rent Asunder

Library Journal
The young King Cayleb and his queen have created the Charisian Empire, a sanctuary of intellectual freedom on a planet restricted to primitive technology owing to the control of the Church of God Awaiting. Spearheading the rebellion against the church, the king's adviser, in reality a cybernetic avatar of a long-dead officer, knows that the world's only salvation from destruction lies in swift technological progress. The fourth installment in Weber's series (after By Heresies Distressed) highlights the struggle for progress in the face of an intellectually stifling, hierarchical, state-supported religion. VERDICT Fascinating world building and memorable characters make this a series worth following. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/09.]
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765354075
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Series: Safehold Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1152
  • Sales rank: 203,073
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

David Weber

David Weber is a science fiction phenomenon and the author of the Safehold series, including Off Armageddon Reef, By Schism Rent Asunder, and By Heresies Distressed. His popular Honor Harrington and Honorverse novels—including Mission of Honor, At All Costs, and Torch of Freedom—are New York Times bestsellers and can't come out fast enough for his devoted readers. His other top-selling science fiction novels include Out of the Dark, the Dahak books and the Multiverse books, written with Linda Evans. He has also created an epic SF adventure series in collaboration with John Ringo, including We Few. His novels have regularly been Main Selections of the Science Fiction Book Club. Weber has a bachelor’s degree from Warren Wilson College, and attended graduate school in history at Appalachian State University. He lives in South Carolina.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 211 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(102)

4 Star

(55)

3 Star

(27)

2 Star

(21)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 211 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    As fast paced as a boat anchor.

    I used to really like David Weber's writing. Mutineer's Moon, On Basilisk Station - great books. I have read the Dahak series repeatedly. But this Safehold series is rapidly becoming a repeat of the Honor Harrington series. I debated for a while about buying this book, as the pacing of the series is quickly heading for "All Stop". I feel I am out 20 bucks. I hate feeling that way about a book.

    Tedious. Ponderous. Bloated with pointless text that does not seem to serve any real function except to try and impress upon the reader the "depth" of thought of characters. There are times when it takes a page to express a single thought.

    The pacing of this book is glacial. A good book is something that I can finish off in a few days. This took me more than a week to read through. I kept hoping that as the book wound down, there would be an acceleration, moments of action and sudden revelation that would set the hook and excite me, make me wait in anticipation for the next installment.

    I was quite disappointed.

    The first book in the series moved well, the second slowed, but understandably, as the scope of the world broadened. The third was ponderous.

    We get it. Charis Good (YAY)! Church Bad (BOO)! The villains have become cartoonish more than diabolical. The heroes have become oh so predictable. The attempts at poignant emotion fall flat. The action (what little there is) seems glossed over.

    I really had thought the series would wrap up in 3 books. When it didn't I had hoped this would be the fireworks, the grand finale.

    I have a feeling this is going to turn into yet another series of ponderous pacing that moves slowly, so dedicated fans will keep buying, in the hopes that one day, it will come to an end.

    14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2010

    The Advancement of Safehold Plunges Ahead

    Having read the previous 3 books, anticipation was high for "A Mighty Fortress" on my end. I felt that the biggest draw-back in the book was one that was mentioned in other reviews -- the internal "introspective" narrative that seemed to be more present here than in most of the other novels. With that being said, the book moved fairly quickly--despite it seeming to be "filler" in nature--and I did enjoy it, as we can see the level of technology having risen during the last five years on Safehold in a manner equivalent to that seen from the 1600's to the early 19th century on Earth. Also, the juxtaposition of the different nations on Safehold, particularly Siddarmark, is intriguing heading into Book #5 of the series. I, for one, wonder if the interests of Charis and those of Merlin will always align -- which, if not, could provide one of the great twists in "space opera" history. However, if you're someone who's committed to the other three books in the series, you'll enjoy this one--with eager anticipation toward the next novel.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2010

    A continuation of the Safehold series; only this and nothing more.

    This book takes up very shortly after the previous one left off, and is unfortunately a very predictable book; you know its not going to resolve any truly major plotlines, will have one or two major land/sea battles, etc etc. Reading this book just reminds me that Weber resolved an exceedingly similar set of events in one of his previous books; and that was just one smaller subplot of a larger book. Then we come down to this series, which is much more detailed, but will definitely take several more books to resolve; if it ever is resolved. The underlying plot of this series; primitive man artificially advanced by ancient advanced technology, and then he gets to go into space to confront an ancient alien enemy who, while advanced and numerous, isn't as advanced as the humans who left the technology advancing them.

    An excellent story overall; but Weber is basically re-writing one of his earlier stories in much longer form. Not sure what to feel about that.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    a wearing tale

    The sheer exposition is almost overwhelming. Weber has given so little actual story for the number of pages written. The need to hit readers over the head (repeatedly) with the characters flaws of the "group of four" has worn thin. It is not a poorly told tale, it is just too verbose and the pace of development too slow. And we know David Weber can write, so just WRITE!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2010

    very slow, not much sci-fi, what for your local library, very disappointing

    The author is obviously fascinated by sailing ships and ocean battles. I often skipped several pages at a time to avoid a character reminiscing about their personal history that didn't have much if anything to do with the main story.

    Wait for your local library to get it. I wasted my money but I felt I needed to read it because I'd already read the others in the series.

    I'd be hard pressed to call this a sci-fi book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2010

    Glacially slow

    David Weber does action scenes very, very well. Unfortunately, this book has very little of it.

    This book reads as though it's been packed with filler -- loads of meetings where people want to meet and discuss some incredibly boring issue which actually doesn't seem to affect very much. Sadly, this is incredibly boring, and not really something I want or need to read.

    The action scenes are, as usual, top notch.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Weber continues to excel in Safehold series

    David Weber likes to revisit similar themes over the course of time and the many books he has written. One of those themes is the application and use of high(er) technology in times similar to the 1600s. The Safehold series, of which this is the fourth, again explores that theme. The human race has been obliterated by the alien Gbaba. A small remaineder go into hiding on the planet Safehold, where the leaders of the fragment long ago instilled a religion outlawing technology over a specified level. A dissident group thought that eventually humanity would have to face the Gbaba again, but had to be prepared. Thus, the personality of Nimue Alban, a young soldier, is loaded into an android body and keyed to wake up 900 years later. Her mission is to slowly help humanity back toward the technology they need. She chooses a king and a kingdom to help her, appearing in the guise of a seijin, sort of a mystical warrior monk, named Merlin Athrawes.

    The kingdom, Charis, breaks wiht the Church, which is now hopelessly corrupt and power-mad, and ignites what essentially comes to be a world war. The books explore the politics and philosphy of church/state interaction and conflict. In this book, the Church is bending all its efforts to duplicate the Charisian technology (sloop-rigged ships, better cannons, better rifles, etc.). It has declared Holy War on Charis, and vows to exterminate it.

    Merlin, King Cayleb, Queen Charleyan, and their advisors battle to keep Charis from being overwhelmed by the larger Church forces, help refugees from the Church-controlled lands, and continue to push the boundaries of new technology.

    Weber can get talky and too-detail oriented at times, but nobody writes better battle scenes or inspiring dialogue.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Must read if you're following David Weber's Safehold series. The action is slow to start, but it picks up later in the story.

    This 4th book in David Weber's Safehold series gets off to a slow start but action picks up after a while. It took me some time to get into this book.

    I love most of Mr. Weber's sci-fi work and I hate it that I always seem to be waiting for the next book in one of his ongoing series, this book was no exception. Maybe because I was expecting so much, based upon the earlier books, I found this part of the story less than exciting right up until around page 279 of this 690 page book. From that point, the action and sequence of events definitely seemed to pick up their pace.

    I truly enjoy how David Weber is so good at portraying the emotional struggle some of the characters go through as they try to prevent horrendous results. I like how some of the characters will sacrifice their lives for what they believe is right, others find themselves unable to act, and still others act only in ways that benefit themselves regardless of how their actions affect others.

    Overall this book is a good read and essential if you like the others in David Weber's Safehold series. Already waiting on the next book in the series.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2010

    SCIFI - sort of...

    Boring expositions of very obvious technical 'innovations' (I get it - scientific method is developing). Very little sci-fi (tech or action.) Only vague references to the fascinating Gbaba (super-villains of the first book). I liked the first book so much I had to read (ok speed read) the next two. And, sadly, I will read the fourth if there is one. I only hope it's about the genocidal gbaba, earth technology, secret power sources below the temple, kinetic weapons platforms, AI's...

    Ok - the weirdest thing is that it's almost like a rant. Can't be sure but it may be some weird apologetic using anachronistic notions of the church of England vs. roman church conflict.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2010

    Interminable Character Development

    If you enjoy action packed stories, this book is not for you. Weber's character development is both pointless, boring and gets to be a pure grind.

    Of the 870 or so pages I doubt that there are 100 that represents the typical David Weber writing that justifies buying the book. Before I buy another Weber I will wait until I have read some reviews, it seems to me he has lost his edge.

    Come on David, you can do better than this, get yourself together!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2010

    Safehold #4

    Weber continues his "Safehold" series with "The Mighty Fortress." The reader is returned to the world of Safehold, where the "good guys" of the Charisian Empire continue their struggle against the "bad guys" of, essentially, the rest of the planet.

    There was lots of politics in this novel, as the Charisians deal with an insurgency in Corisande, and with the fact that the Holy Lands finally start getting some military decisions right. Normally, I love the descriptions of battles in Weber's books, and while the battles here certainly didn't disappoint, the continuing evolution of the world and the politics in which those battles take place is actually more interesting to read, even though it doesn't stir the blood nearly as much.

    If I have any complaint at all, it's that there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of stuff that's changed from the start of the novel to the end. It's very much not inaccurate to say that the quick summary is simply, "things continue". Or at any rate, that's the feeling I got while reading it. Upon reflection, it's not that things have changed as much as things have grown. There's an undercurrent there of bigger things building, making the anticipation for future books very real.

    And so that's a pretty minor complaint. I certainly kept reading, and I'm excited for what will come next as Weber continues work on the series.

    4 of 5 stars.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    great science fiction thriller

    Not yet thirty years old, many believe that Cayleb Ahrmahk is the greatest naval officer in history. His victories are legendary as he defeated handily the combined forces of five princedoms. On a personal level, his success at sea enabled him to meet, court, and marry Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm. On Safehold, the pair forge the Charisian Empire built on his naval prowess.

    However, their most powerful adversary on Safehold, Church of God Awaiting, has declared the regime's rulers heretics and must be destroyed. Their first endeavor failed as the Church faithful failed to use the technology of the Charisian Empire. The second assault is an armada unlike anything in the history of Safehold. However, their foes do not have warrior-monk named Merlin Athrawes on their side. Merlin is the cybernetic avatar of a long dead female Nimue Alban, who died while watching the Terran Federation on numerous planets destroyed; Safehold is the last human stronghold and inadvertently the Church is leading the final extinction.

    The latest Safehold science fiction thriller (see By Heresies Distressed) is a great continuation of the struggle for First Amendment type rights and freedoms from a church controlling society. The world of Safehold is incredibly developed as readers obtain a deep look at a culture run by a religious dominated caste system that compares unfavorably to the freedom of the relatively small Charisian Empire. With a strong cast (though the hero feels like a Harrington clone) fans will relish David Weber's powerful condemnation of church equals state; or for that matter any oligopoly controlling all aspects of society by oppressing freedom.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Keeps getting better and better

    This is not meant to be a quick read.
    Mr. Weber has a habit of bringing out ALL the background of the characters, plot, settings and weaving them into a whole through a series of chapters using a time line style of writing.

    BE PREPARED TO GET INVOLVED IN THIS SERIES, if you are not I don't recomend it.

    Like his other books/series this parrallels historical facts. This time it is the Catholic/Protestant church schism and wars form the view of a far distant future where humanity has fled to escape alien invaders.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2012

    FLOWER FEILDS





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  • Posted March 23, 2012

    I enjoyed the book but thought it was a bit long. There is too

    I enjoyed the book but thought it was a bit long. There is too much time spent setting up the plot and reviewing previous episodes from the other books. My worry is that this will just continue to muddle along in the same time period and not advance. If the series continues to be stuck fighting the church and not make a decisive blow which would enable the protagonist to get on with their primary mission then I doubt very much the story will continue to hold my interest.

    On the positive side the story line Weber has created holds together very well and is rich in detail. I just think that after four lengthy volumes we could move on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Carmelpaw

    Oh my gosh! You got kicked out here also. Go to the next result.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Not a fan

    A lot of words to say nothing. Don't care for the new Weder stuff.

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Breathtaking.

    Breathtaking, exhilirating, profoundly creative and detailed. I've never had a reading experience where I was laughing one moment and then weeping the next. The battle scenes are enthralling. Webber is genious and the Safehold series rivals his Honor Harrington series as one of the best science fiction series of all time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Cant wait until next one

    Awesome weber writes a battlelike no other wether in space or as in thos book on the ocean.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2011

    Very good!

    Love this series, but is Weber going to stop mi-story as he did after the "We Few" book which could have been continued & a few of his others?
    He also stoppd after the 3rd book of the Oath of Swords seriess written a few years ago? I bought that series & got it in paperback, have had to already replace it once as the books literally fell apart since I read it at least 3 times a year & often more often!

    sunnynurse

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