The Shadow of Saganami (Honorverse Series)

The Shadow of Saganami (Honorverse Series)

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by David Weber

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The Star Kingdom has a new generation of officers! And this elite group hand-picked and trained by Honor Harrington herself is going to be needed immediately, as their first assignment turns out to be more dangerous than anyone expected. What was supposed to be a quiet outpost, far from the blazing conflict between the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the People's


The Star Kingdom has a new generation of officers! And this elite group hand-picked and trained by Honor Harrington herself is going to be needed immediately, as their first assignment turns out to be more dangerous than anyone expected. What was supposed to be a quiet outpost, far from the blazing conflict between the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the People's Republic of Haven has actually been targeted by an unholy alliance between the slaveholders of Manpower, the rival star kingdoms of Mesa and Monica, and the bureaucrats of the Solarian League. The alliance stands to benefit if the Havenites defeat Manticore, and are preparing for a surprise attack from the rear to divide Manticore's forces, which are already strained nearly to their limits. With their captain, the young Manticoran officers will risk their careers, if not their lives, on an unauthorized mission to expose and counter the threat to their Star Kingdom. Follow their journey as they show what they're made of. New York Times best-selling author David Weber begins a new series that will be a must-buy for the hundreds of thousands of Honor Harrington fans.

Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
The Shadow of Saganami marks the beginning of a new series by David Weber featuring members of the graduating class of Saganami Island, the Royal Manticoran Navy's academy, handpicked by Honor Harrington to continue the Star Kingdom of Manticore's fight against its myriad enemies.

The novel revolves primarily around five recent academy graduates assigned to HMS Hexapuma, a state-of-the-art heavy cruiser assigned to the remote Talbott Cluster. The untested midshipmen and -women are somewhat disappointed to be assigned so far away from the action (the Star Kingdom is at war with the People's Republic of Haven), but the situation in the Cluster is deceptive. Although the governments of the Cluster have agreed to join the Star Kingdom, pockets of revolutionaries have begun to murder innocents en masse on planets in the Cluster. When the captain of the Hexapuma uncovers a connection between the terrorists and rival star kingdoms, all hell breaks loose.

Weber has been called the Master of Military Science Fiction and his bestselling Honor Harrington series has gone a long way in redefining the subgenre. Not only does the saga feature a plethora of female protagonists -- a dramatic departure from traditional military sci-fi -- but the sheer scope of Weber's "Honorverse" is breathtakingly huge. Ten novels and numerous short-story anthologies are just the tip of the thematic iceberg of potential plotlines Weber can explore in this massive universe. The Shadow of Saganami -- with a cast of literally hundreds of characters and dozens of tangled political subplots -- proves once again that the master of the military space opera is still in top form. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
In his long-running saga of the Manticoran Space Navy and its battles (War of Honor, etc.), Weber has chronicled the career of Honor Harrington, a distaff Horatio Hornblower transplanted into a futuristic conflict based loosely on the Napoleonic wars. These hugely entertaining and clever adventures are the very epitome of space opera, but their emphasis on one officer's contribution tends to give a lopsided view of how a military organization fights. In his rousing second Honorverse novel (after 2003's Crown of Slaves, coauthored with Eric Flint), Weber focuses on how each member of a unit contributes to the mission's success through teamwork, discipline and individual initiative. A scratch task force is dispatched to a series of fringe systems that have petitioned to join the Manticoran Space Nation. What is supposed to be a relatively easy assignment to a sector far from the front lines of the renewed Havenite War is soon complicated both by terrorists who oppose the annexation and by corrupt elements of the Solarian League-the major power in Weber's universe-who don't want the stiff-necked Manties sniffing around their highly illegal (and lucrative) genetic slave trade. Weber emphasizes the role that tradition plays in inspiring our lads and lasses in uniform, reminding the reader that a hero can be anyone who does his or her job with honor, commitment and skill. (Nov.) Forecast: A 75,000-copy first printing should ensure a run up genre bestseller charts. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Honorverse Series
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Shadow of Saganami

By David Weber

Baen Books

ISBN: 0-7434-8852-0

Chapter One

Admiral of the Red Lady Dame Honor Harrington, Steadholder and Duchess Harrington, sat beside Vice Admiral of the Red Dame Beatrice McDermott, Baroness Alb, and watched silently as the comfortable amphitheater seating of the huge holographic simulator filled up. It was an orderly audience. It was also quite a bit smaller than it would have been a few years earlier. There were fewer non-Manticoran uniforms out there, as well, and the vast majority of the foreign ones which remained were the blue-on-blue of the Grayson Space Navy. Several of the Star Kingdom's smaller allies had cut back sharply on the midshipmen they sent to Saganami Island, and there were no Erewhonese uniforms at all. Dame Honor managed-somehow-to maintain her serene expression as she remembered the tight-faced midshipmen who had withdrawn from their classes in a body when their government denounced its long-standing alliance with the Star Kingdom of Manticore.

She didn't blame the young men and women, many of whom had been her students during her own time on the Island, despite her personal sense of betrayal. Nor could she really blame their government. Part of her wished she could, but Dame Honor believed in being honest with herself, and it had not been Erewhon which betrayed the Star Kingdom's trust. It had been Manticore's own government.

She watched the final midshipman take his place with a -military precision fit to satisfy even a Saganami Marine. Then Dame Beatrice rose from the chair beside hers and walked with brisk yet measured strides to the traditional podium.


Command Sergeant Major Sullivan's harsh voice filled even the vastness of the simulator with a projection the finest opera singer would have been hard-pressed to match, and a perfectly synchronized, thunderous "Bang!" answered as eleven thousand brilliantly polished boots slammed together in instant response. Fifty-five hundred midshipmen and midshipwomen came to attention, eyes front, shoulders square, spines ramrod straight, thumbs on trouser seams, and she looked back at them unblinkingly.

They were graduating early. Not as early as some of their predecessors had before Eighth Fleet's decisive offensive under Earl White Haven. But much earlier than their immediate predecessors had, now that Eighth Fleet's triumph had been thrown away like so much garbage. And they were headed not to the deployments of peacetime midshipman cruises, but directly into the cauldron of a new war.

A losing war, Dame Beatrice thought harshly, wondering how many of those youthful faces would die in the next few desperate months. How many of the minds behind those faces truly understood the monumental betrayal which was about to send them straight into the furnace?

She gazed at them, a master swordsmith contemplating the burnished brightness of her new-forged blades, searching for hidden flaws under the glittering sharpness. Wondering if their whetted steel was equal to the hurricane of combat which awaited them even as she prepared their final tempering.

"Stand easy, Ladies and Gentlemen."

The Academy Commandant's voice was even, a melodious contralto that flowed into the waiting silence, filling the stillness with its own quiet strength.

A vast, sibilant scuffing of boots answered her as the thousands of midshipmen assumed the parade rest position, and she gazed at them for several more seconds, meeting their eyes levelly.

"You are here," she told them, "for one final meeting before you begin your midshipman cruises. This represents a custom, a final sharing of what naval service truly is, and what it can cost, which has been a part of Saganami Island for over two centuries. By tradition, the Commandant of the Academy addresses her students at this time, but there have been exceptions. Admiral Ellen D'Orville was one such exception. And so was Admiral Quentin Saint-James.

"This year is another such exception, for we are honored and privileged to have Admiral Lady Dame Honor Harrington present. She will be on Manticore for only three days before returning to Eighth Fleet to complete its reactivation and take up her command once more. Many of you have had the privilege of studying under her as underclassmen. All of you could not do better than to hold her example before you as you take up your own careers. If any woman in the Queen's uniform today truly understands the tradition which brings us all together this day, it is she."

The silence was utter, and Honor felt her cheekbones heat as she rose from her chair in turn. The cream and gray treecat on her shoulder sat stock still, proud and tall, and the two of them tasted the emotions sweeping through the assembled midshipmen. Emotions which were focused on her, true, but only partially. For today, she truly was only a part, a spokeswoman, for something greater than any one woman, whatever her accomplishments. The silent midshipmen might not fully understand that, yet they sensed it, and their silent, hovering anticipation was like a slumbering volcano under a cool, white mantle of snow.

Dame Beatrice turned to face her and came to attention. She saluted sharply, and Honor's hand flashed up in answer, as sharp and precise as the day of her own Last View. Then their hands came down and they stood facing one another.

"Your Grace," Dame Beatrice said simply, and stepped aside.

Honor drew a deep breath, then walked crisply to the lectern Dame Beatrice had yielded to her. She took her place behind it, standing tall and straight with Nimitz statue-still upon her shoulder, and gazed out over that shining sea of youthful eyes. She remembered Last View. Remembered being one of the midshipwomen behind those eyes. Remembered Nimitz on her shoulder that day, too, looking up at Commandant Hartley, feeling the mystic fusion between her and him, with all the other middies, with every officer who had worn the Star Kingdom's black and gold before her. And now it was her turn to stand before a new arsenal of bright, burnished blades, to see their youth and promise ... and mortality. And to truly sense, because this time she could physically taste it, the hushed yet humming expectancy and union which possessed them all.

"In a few days," she said finally into their silence, "you will be reporting for your first true shipboard deployments. It is my hope that your instructors have properly prepared you for that experience. You are our best and brightest, the newest link in a chain of responsibility, duty, and sacrifice which has been forged and hammered on the anvil of five centuries of service. It is a heavy burden to assume, one which can-and will-end for some of you in death."

She paused, listening to the silence, feeling its weight.

"Your instructors have done their best, here at the Island, to prepare you for that burden, that reality. Yet the truth is, Ladies and Gentlemen, that no one can truly prepare you for it. We can teach you, train you, share our institutional experience with you, but no one can be with you in the furnace. The chain of command, your superiors, the men and women under your orders ... all of them will be there. And yet, in that moment when you truly confront duty and mortality, you will be alone. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a moment no training and no teacher can truly prepare you to face.

"In that moment, you will have only four things to support you. Your training, which we have made as complete, as demanding, and as rigorous as we possibly could. Your courage, which can come only from within. Your loyalty to the men and women with whom you serve. And the tradition of Saganami. Some of you, most of you, will rise to the challenge of that moment. Some will try with all that is within you, and discover that all the training and courage in the universe do not make you immortal. And some, hopefully only a very few, will break."

The sound of a single indrawn breath would have been deafening as every eye looked back at her.

"The task to which you have been called, the burden you have volunteered to bear for your Queen and your Kingdom, for your Protector and your Planet, for whatever people you serve, is the most terrifying, dangerous, and honorable one in the universe. You have chosen, of your own free will, to place yourselves and your lives between the people and star nations you love and their enemies. To fight to defend them; to die to protect them. It is a burden others have taken up before you, and if no one can truly teach you the reality of all it means and costs until you have experienced it for yourself, there remains still much you can learn from those who have gone before. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the reason you are here today, where every senior class of midshipmen has stood on the eve of its midshipman cruise for the last two hundred and forty-three T-years."

She pressed a button on the podium before her, and the lights dimmed. For an instant, there was nothing but dense, velvet darkness, broken only by the pinprick glitter of the LEDs on her podium's control panel, burning in the blackness like lost and lonely stars.

Then, suddenly, there was another light. One that glowed in the depths of the simulator.

It was the light-sculpted image of a man. There was nothing extraordinary about his appearance. He was of somewhat less than average height, with a dark complexion, a strong nose, and dark brown, slightly receding hair, and his dark eyes had a pronounced epicanthic fold. He wore an antique uniform, two T-centuries and more out of date, and the visored cap which the Royal Manticoran Navy had replaced with berets a hundred and seventy T-years before was clasped under his left arm.

"Your Majesty," he said, and like his uniform, his recorded accent was antique, crisp and understandable, but still an echo from another time. A ghost, preserved in an electronic shroud. And yet, despite all the dusty years which had swept past since that man breathed and slept and dreamed, there was something about him. Some not quite definable spark that burned even now.

"I beg to report," he continued, "that the forces under my command have engaged the enemy. Although I deeply regret that I must inform you of the loss of HMS Triumph and HMS Defiant in action against the piratical vessels based at Trautman's Star, I must also inform you that we were victorious. We have confirmed the destruction of thirteen hostile cruisers, light cruisers, and destroyers, and all basing infrastructure in the system. In addition, we have captured one destroyer, one light and two heavy cruisers, and two battlecruisers. Several of these units appear to have been of recent Solarian construction, with substantially heavier armaments than most 'pirates' carry. Our own casualties and damage were severe, and I have been forced to detach HMS Victorious, Swiftsure, Mars, and Agamemnon for repairs. I have transferred sufficient of their personnel to the other units of my command to fully crew each of my remaining vessels, and I have instructed Captain Timmerman, Swiftsure's commander, as the detachment's senior officer, to return to the Star Kingdom, escorting our prize ships.

"In light of our casualties, and the reduction in my squadron's strength, it will be necessary to temporarily suspend our offensive operations against the pirate bases we have identified. I regret to inform you that we have captured additional corroborating evidence, including the quality of the enemy's warships, of the involvement of both Manpower, Incorporated, and individuals at the highest level of the Silesian government with the so-called 'pirates' operating here in the Confederacy. Under the circumstances, I do not believe we can rely upon the Confederacy Navy to protect our commerce. Indeed, the collusion of senior members of the government with those attacking our commerce undoubtedly explains the ineffectiveness of Confederacy naval units assigned as convoy escorts.

"Given this new evidence, and my own depleted numbers, I see no option but to disperse my striking force to provide escorts in the areas of greatest risk. I regret the factors which compel me to temporarily abandon offensive action, but I fully intend to resume larger scale operations once I receive the reinforcements currently en route to Silesia.

"I have prepared a detailed report for the Admiralty, and I append a copy of it to this dispatch. Your Majesty, I have the honor to remain your most loyal and obedient subject.

"Saganami, clear."

He bowed, ever so slightly but with immense dignity, and his recorded image faded away.

There was another moment of darkness, one that left the watching audience alone with the memory of his message. His final message to Queen Adrienne, the monarch who had sent his squadron to Silesia. And then, the holo display came back to life.

This time there were two images, both command decks. One was the command deck of a freighter; the other, the bridge of a warship.

The freighter's command crew sat at their stations, their shoulders taut, their faces stiff, even terrified. The merchantship's skipper looked just as anxious as any of his officers, but he stood beside his command chair, not seated in it, looking into the communications screen which linked him to the second ship.

The warship's bridge was quaint and cramped by modern standards, that of a "battlecruiser" smaller than many modern heavy cruisers, with displays and weapons consoles that were hopelessly out of date. The same almond-eyed officer stood on the command deck, his old-style vac suit far clumsier and bulkier than a modern skinsuit. Battle boards blazed crimson at his ship's Tactical station, and the flow and rush of his bridge personnel's disciplined combat chatter rippled under the surface of his voice when he spoke.

"My orders aren't open to discussion, Captain Hargood," he said flatly. "The convoy will disperse immediately and proceed across the hyper limit on least-time courses. Now, Captain."

"I'm not refusing your orders, damn it!" Captain Hargood shot back, his voice harsh. "I'm only trying to keep you from throwing away your own ship and the lives of every man and woman aboard her!"

"The effort is appreciated," Commodore Saganami said with a thin smile. "I'm afraid it's wasted, however. Now get your ship turned around and get out of here."

"God damn it to Hell, Eddy!" Hargood exploded. "There are six of the bastards, including two battlecruisers! Just what the fuck do you think you're going to accomplish? Unlike us, you've got the legs to stay away from them, so do it, damn it!"

"There won't be six when we're done," Saganami said grimly, "and every one we destroy, or just cripple badly enough, is one that won't be chasing you or another unit of the convoy. And now, I'm done arguing with you, James.


Excerpted from Shadow of Saganami by David Weber Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

David Weber is the science fiction phenomenon of the decade. His popular Honor Harrington novels (the eleventh, At All Costs, will hit the stands in November 2005) can't come out fast enough for his devoted readers. In addition to the Honor Harrington series, he has written many top-selling science fiction novels, all for Baen, including Mutineers' Moon, The Armageddon Inheritance, Heirs of Empire, and Path of the Fury. He has also begun a top-selling epic SF adventure series in collaboration with John Ringo, with four novels so far: March Upcountry, March to the Sea, March to the Stars, and We Few. His recent Wind Rider's Oath continues his popular fantasy adventure series.

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Shadow of Saganami 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
too much focus on politics but overall still a good book. would've enjoyed some more space action, especially in the first half where there was none.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr Weber is trying to move out of science fiction and into political fiction and failing badly. This book is as tedious to read as Dickens. Is he getting paid by the word? or has his editor disappeared. At least a third of the book is nothing more than boring conversations and should have been cut. Mr Weber is no John LeCarre' or even Robert Ludlum when it comes to political fiction. He should stick to what he knows.
harstan More than 1 year ago
While war rages between the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Republic of Haven in another sector, the Talbott Cluster has voted to join the former. As a show of diplomatic unity, flag-raising, and military strength, the heavy cruiser HMS Hexapuma journeys to this remote sector. Though Captain Terekov is a weary war hero, much of the crew remains untested as recent graduates from the Saganami Island Royal Naval Academy............................ However, the simple show of strength turns dangerous as an alliance has sprung up abetting local terrorists opposed to joining the Star Kingdom. Apparently a pact to destroy Manticore has been agreed to by the Manpower slaveholders, the genetic slavers of the kingdoms of Mesa and Monica, and the Solarian League bureaucracy. The crew of the Hexapuma is all that stands in the way of a rear attack on the Star Kingdom, but how will this untested crew stand up when brothers and sisters in arms start dying?....................... THE SHADOW OF SAGANAMI may be military science fiction great David Weber¿s best tale in the Honorverse as he shows war from various perspectives mostly from five newcomers. The audience can taste the excitement and fear that death stalks anyone and everyone and no one is immune. The rookie warriors will learn honor comes from the long tradition of those who previously served and in some cases died doing their military duty irregardless of mission for their kingdom. Mr. Weber provides an action packed tale with a fully developed multiple cast that lives up to the values of today¿s American army (Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage)................... Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
David Weber's newest novel, Shadow of Saganami, is set in the Honor Harrington Universe but, aside from one brief cameo appearance, Honor herself is conspicuously absent. Don't worry, though -- there are plenty of other three-dimensional characters to make the reader care. Set in the 'new frontier' of the Talbott Cluster, which has voted to seek membership in the Star Kingdom of Manticore, this book shows us yet another facet of the intricately realized 'Honorverse' Weber has created. The heavy cruiser HMS Hexampuma, with a war-hero captain who has seen too much combat and a crew including midshipmen and midshipwomen from Sganami Island, the Royal Manticoran Navy's academy, are dispatched to the cluster for what everyone expects to be a routine peacekeeping, flag-showing deployment. But the situation soon turns ugly in patented Weber fashion, with complex plots by genetic slavers from the Mesa System, corrupt Solarian League bureaucrats, local olagarchs with their own agendas, and nationalistic terrorists. An unstoppable juggernaut is rumbling down on the Cluster, and Hexapuma and her crew stand squarely in its path. In the end, as the title suggests, all they truly have is the Saganami tradition -- that the RMN may die, but it never gives up. In this book, Weber manages to maintain a much better balance between the action sequences he does so well and the political machinations than he did in the last 'mainstream' Honorverse novel, War of Honor. He seems intent on broadening his canvas to include other areas of the Honorverse and other characters, and to this end he has launched two new series. This one -- the Saganami Island series of solo novels -- and the collaborative 'Crown of Slaves' series with Eric Flint. It seems evident that he's looking for new blood and also for smaller scale books in which he can let his characters buckle more swashes while giving us the necessary political developments in smaller, more manageable bites. If that is, in fact, his objective, he has succeeded very well indeed. I think this is the best Honorverse novel since Honor Among Enemies, which is strong praise indeed. On a more somber note, this book also explores questions about terrorism, its definition, its motivation, how to fight it, and how to avoid becoming the enemy in the process. Yes, it's space opera and entertainment. It's also thought-provoking and, in my opinion, insightful.
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This is another one of David Weber's awesome Honor Harrington series of Books.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The ability to create characters and places with a depth fairly close to reality makes Davis Webers novels such a satisfying read. It makes you re-read the books, thus often experiencing new angles to the stories you hadn't seen before. Only in this case it has to be mentioned, that a series usually consists of more than one book!