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Weber's latest opus is a complex tale of action and intrigue set early in the 25th century, hundreds of years after the near total annihilation of humanity by the Gbaba, an alien race hell-bent on eradicating humans from the universe. After decades of war and facing certain defeat, the last remnants of the human race escape and settle on a distant planet, appropriately named Safehold. To ensure they remain undetected by their enemies, the leaders of the survivors ban technology, and genetically adjust the populace to remain in a perpetual pre-industrial state. However, 800 years later, an android of the old world awakens, charged with the task of guiding humanity back onto the path of science, technology and, eventually, the stars. Wyman rises nicely to the near Herculean challenge of performing this 30-hour epic. His clear, expressive reading never falters while he skillfully navigates his way through a labyrinth of plot twists and multiple characters. Whether describing high-tech space battles or the covert activities of courtiers and spies, Wyman brings Weber's intricate world of Safehold to life. Simultaneous release with the Tor hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 27). (Jan.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Humanity, in the process of exploring the universe, has encountered a race known as the Gbaba. For reasons of their own, the Gbaba begin a campaign to destroy all of humanity. Seeing that total defeat is inevitable, a group of human colonists devise a plan to escape the Gbaba and circumvent their ability to track high-tech energy signatures. During the journey, the colonists are placed in a form of hypersleep, and their memories are altered to suppress all knowledge of humanity and high technology. Unknown to the colonists and many of the command staff, the colony's chief administrator, Langhorne, and the chief psychologist, Bédard, also program them to believe that the staff are angels sent by God to deliver a message that invention, progress, and change are strictly forbidden. Several years after the refuge of Safehold is established, a faction in the command staff who oppose Langhorne stage a revolt. With the fall of the angels, the altered colonists continue to follow the dictates of Langhorne, and their society develops around a strong central church much like Europe in the Middle Ages. Off Armageddon Reefis a complex mix of sf, fantasy, and historical fiction. Weber is a master of description; each innovation and naval battle is complexly choreographed and full of detail. Narrator Oliver Wyman uses a collection of voices and accents to distinguish individual characters. Recommended for any library with a large audio collection.
Praise for Off Armageddon Reef:
“Off Armageddon Reef shows David Weber at the top of his game.” —David Drake
“Vast, complex, intricate, subtle, and unlaydownable. This looks like the start of the biggest thing in science fiction since Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.” —Dave Duncan
“Strongly recommended.” –SFRevu.com
“Marvelously entertaining…Very good news for our reading future!” —Vernor Vinge
“Weber has done it once again.” --Starlog
“Weber launches an epic series with this gripping far-future saga, which springboards off the near-destruction of humanity in a massive war with the Gbaba. The survivors of the human race retreat to the planet Safehold, where they sacrifice basic human rights—and an accurate memory of the Gbaba—for the preservation of the species. The colony's founders psychologically program the colonists to prevent the re-emergence of scientific inquiry, higher mathematics or advanced technology, which the Gbaba would detect and destroy. Centuries later, cultural stagnation on this feudal but thriving planet is enforced by the all-powerful Church of God Awaiting. But one kingdom—with the aid of the war’s last survivor, a cybernetic avatar that awakens to reinvent itself as a man named Merlin Athrawes—risks committing the ultimate heresy. 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
“In his first book for Tor, the author of the popular Honor Harrington novels embarks on a new SF epic of cultural evolution and humanity's need to conquer the unknown. Rich backgrounds and vivid characters combine to make this series opener a priority purchase for SF collections.” —Library Journal , starred review
“Earth has been destroyed by an alien invasion, and survivors are clinging to a precarious and primitive existence on a planet they have named Safehold. But they are divided into two major factions: a theocratic church opposed to all technological progress, and a secular class of aristocrats and merchants who support not only technology but expanding the habitable area of Safehold. There are factions and internal conflicts on both sides, and each has infiltrated the other. A good many of the book’s main players are seafarers and naval officers, and they sail Safehold’s seas in ships that Horatio Hornblower might find familiar. They are drawn as well as one expects of Weber, although they are so numerous that, despite the appended cast list, readers may feel mnemonically challenged. Staunch Weber fans may be disappointed by the lack of any Safehold life-form as irresistibly charming as the treecats of the Honorverse (the world of his space-faring heroine Honor Harrington). Safehold’s abundant pelagic life is mostly predatory and sometimes outright deadly, and its land dwellers are only slightly cuddlier. Altogether, there is enough conflict to allow a natural storyteller like Weber to make a large, splendid novel that opens another saga. The saga being Weber’s form of choice and high achievement, hopes for the rest of it are definitely elevated.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Fantastic in every sense of the word—the kind of book that makes you sit back and think about this reality that we call life. Who can ask for more than that? While devouring this book, I kept finding myself drawn back to Walter Miller’s amazing A Canticle for Leibowitz. Off Armageddon Reef has that same kind of introspective power, wrapped in a compelling story and with characters I grew to love.” —R. A. Salvatore
“David Weber is the master of scope, and Off Armageddon Reef is breathtaking in scope of characters, scope of its universe, and scope of time.… Weber masterfully weaves a ferocious amount of vision into a story that is surprisingly easy to read and (not surprisingly) hard to put down.” --Elizabeth Haydon
Posted October 6, 2006
In the early part of the twenty-fifth century, the Gbaba had succeeded in almost making humanity extinct. Had the Gbaba known that even one human remained, they would have hunted him down and finished their task. In a last desperate move, the people under Admiral Pei gave up their lives to insure that a few human beings slipped away without the Gbaba's knowledge. It was called Operation Ark and was to create a refuge for humanity without the betraying high-tech spoor which might draw Gbaba scout ships to it. The colonists aboard the Ark would sleep for many, many years. ............... The sleeping colonists had volunteered to have false memories of a false life implanted. None of them expected the colony's chief administrator, Langhorne, and the colony's chief psychologist, Bédard, to also program them into believing that Operation Ark's command staff were gods. There were quite a few among the command staff who balked at the notion of people actually worshiping them, mere humans no matter how advanced in technology, but it was too late. The deed had been done. A short revolution ended with the deaths of all the command staff. ............... The colonists led simple lives on the planet they named Safeholden. Invention, progress, change, any advancement at all is strictly forbidden. In orbit, a surveillance system still sweeps the planet, automatically striking anything that emits tech spoors. The colonists believe these rare blasts to be lightning bolts from their god, Langhorne, to keep them in line. Even in death, Langhorne would have won had it not been for Pei Kau-yung and a few select others. Kau-yung's elite few hid a PICA (Personality-Integrated Cybernetic Avatar) deep beneath a mountain. It looked, thought, felt, and basically WAS the human female named Nimue Alban. The biological Nimue had been one of the more brilliant tactical officers the Terran Federation Navy had ever produced. She had been one of the many that sacrificed her life for Operator Ark to succeed. A PICA may not have a heart, but it is identical to a real human, fully functional. This Nimue can eat, sleep, bleed, feel emotions, and more. However, this Nimue can do so many things that a real human could never accomplish. Kau-yung also left Nimue several high-tech gadgets. But nothing that would attract the attention of the orbital surveillance system. This Nimue 'slept' beneath the mountain until Kau-yung's recording 'woke' her up...750 years later. ............ Nimue Alban's task is to undo the mess created by Langhorne and Bédard's extra programming to the colonists. She is to restore the rich, varied heritage to the humanity from whom it had been stolen. And since this Nimue is 98% as real as the biological Nimue, she takes her tasks very seriously indeed. ...................... **** Author David Weber never writes a short novel. This is because he is so descriptive, especially when it comes to weaponry and tactical maneuvers. There is absolutely no way that I can write a clear, concise synopsis of the book without it being over triple the size of this one. However, I believe I managed to give enough so that potential readers can decide whether or not this book is one they wish to purchase. This is the first of a new series by Weber, who has taken the sci-fi community by storm since his first Honor Harrington novel was debuted. And it has created a solid foundation upon which the rest of this series will build upon. Very well done and highly recommended! ****
14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I loved this book; it was the first David Weber I had read. Needless to say, I've anxiously awaited and read the following books from this series (Safehold). Weber creates believable people and writes strong women quite well. As a professional woman, I am often dismayed and disappointed at how women and/or their thinking patterns are portrayed in novels. Weber however, grasps that women are in fact intelligent, not necessarily who needs to trip or fall down, and capable of great accomplishments. He manages this while not demeaning men at all! Put this together with super sci-fi, detailed world creation and an exciting plot - this book "wowed" me! It started slow (like his other books I've read), but by 1/3 of the way through, I feel I can't put the story down.
11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Stop reading all of these reviews... go out and buy the book. Just go. Now................. are you still here?
You will LOVE this read! I loved it SO much, I went out and purchased the latest follow-up in HARD COVER.
David Weber is QUITE the author/story-teller. What I would give for Spielberg to pick this one up for film!
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 23, 2010
I didn't think I would ever use the string of words that I used in the title in quite that way. Weber sets up a great storyline that starts in the future with humanities eminent destruction. The question that he works on answering is how far would you go to save everything?
This beginning story describes a great account of competing philosophical factions that face off using societal construction as their weapons of choice. All of this is counterbalanced by some of the best action sequences that I've read in a long time. This book is well worth your time and you won't be disappointed.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 10, 2010
Man this book has everything! just couldn't put it down. worth every cent. I won't be giving this one to the local library. It stays in my collection!
3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 29, 2009
This is an excellent fantasy read. The plot is enthralling and the characters are well-developed and engaging. The pace is fast and the action is exemplary. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes swashbuckling sci-fi fantasy grounded in western european historical events and embellished with imaginative hi-tech concepts.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2009
Have you ever thought what it might be like to travel back in time with your knowledge of today, what could you "invent" with that knowledge then this is a great book for you.
I love Sci-Fi, not fantasty, but in this case David Weber has managed to blend a truly science fiction story withing a setting that includes rowed galleons and sword fighting.
I'm looking for a sequel to continue the story, so David when you read this review (of course you read every review right?), get writing the next one!
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Posted January 5, 2014
Good setup for a long series of books. Love the detail of the Tech. Lots of personal reasons for the character actions. I like how all the characters are true to their natures. Good in depth on how to set up a multi generation low tech. society.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 21, 2013
Posted November 22, 2012
Wow I wonder how he comes up with these ideas. Hes a GREAT Sci-fi writer and I have a ton of his books. This is different, a mixture of sci-fi with a wild religeous twist. This series should keep you going long into the night.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 23, 2012
Posted March 16, 2012
Posted February 14, 2012
Posted January 20, 2012
This book has it all: politics, religion, war, diplomacy, espionage supported by a great plot and characters. I could not put this book down. David Weber has written masterpiece. This is the first book in the series and my first book of David Weber. Needless to say, I have bought the second book in the series and will be coming back for more.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 4, 2011
Posted December 21, 2010
I desperately wanted to like this book. The plot had a lot of potential, but the execution simply fell short for me. My biggest complaint is that the book is far longer than necessary. There are literally hundreds of pages with little forward momentum. It honestly felt like a never ending cycle of the protagonists doing something new followed by the antagonists wondering what the protagonists were doing. I'm fairly tenacious about completing books I start, but I was so bored that I sat this book aside multiple times to read other, more interesting books.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 25, 2009
Not a huge fan of David Weber, but thought this was very good and finished it in two days. The plot was well done and believable, which is a necessary ingredient in SciFi.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 2, 2009
I Also Recommend:
David Weber has created a stirring tale of survival and human freedoms. The characters are exciting and interesting to follow as they go through the intrigue of the courts, the trials of war, and the interesting experience of rediscovering who and what they are. A definite must read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 16, 2009
I love the Idea of the whole Safehold series, and have purchaced the first two.<BR/><Spoiler Alert!!><BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/>The Idea that technical advancement of the human race will expose them to a even more militeristic race that is even more xenophobic than our own, and tying that to religeon is great.<BR/>My only problem with the two books that I've read so far would have to be with the use of unusual spellings of common names. Though I recognize the "flavor" that this gives to the series, I personally found myself loosing track of characters given the naming conventions in these novels.<BR/>Other than that, I look forward to the resolution of technology, the sources of technology, religeon and the rationelle behind keeping them supressed.
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Posted July 2, 2008
The pace of the book threw me off a bit. In the beginning, we expand centuries, then we slow down into months. Knowing were humankind came from and where it has to go 'back into space'and where it is right now...well this series may take centuries. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed every page. I bought the paperback version and I found myself constantly referring to the charts at the beginning of the book to find out where everyone was coming from...I needed magnifying glasses to figure it out. I loved the naval battles..fanstastic.. Overall, I was hoping for more. More of what I'm not too sure. More technology from Merlin? More knowledge of what's hidden in the temple? Well, I'm off to buy the next in the series. Maybe I'll get the more I was hoping for.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.