On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington Series #1)

On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington Series #1)

by David Weber, George Ed. Weber


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Introducing Commander Honor Harrington, here is a major new series from a major new author. The Basilisk System was a place to sweep incompetents, fools, and failures under the rug . . . or to punish officers with enemies in high places. Commander Honor Harrington has enemies, and she's about to make more of them--because the people out to get her have made one mistake: They've made her mad. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671577933
Publisher: Baen
Publication date: 02/28/1999
Series: Honor Harrington Series , #1
Edition description: HRD
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.58(w) x 8.55(h) x 1.08(d)

About the Author

David Weber is a science fiction phenomenon. His popular Honor Harrington space-opera adventures are "New York Times" bestsellers and can't come out fast enough for his devoted readers. Weber and his wife Sharon live in South Carolina.

Read an Excerpt


The ticking of the conference room's antique clock was deafening as the Hereditary President of the People's Republic of Haven stared at his military cabinet. The secretary of the economy looked away uncomfortably, but the secretary of war and her uniformed subordinates were almost defiant.

"Are you serious?" President Harris demanded.

"I'm afraid so," Secretary Frankel said unhappily. He shuffled through his memo chips and made himself meet the president's eyes. "The last three quarters all confirm the projection, Sid." He glowered sideways at his military colleague. "It's the naval budget. We can't keep adding ships this way without--"

"If we don't keep adding them," Elaine Dumarest broke in sharply, "the wheels come off. We're riding a neotiger, Mr. President. At least a third of the occupied planets still have crackpot 'liberation' groups, and even if they didn't, everyone on our borders is arming to the teeth. It's only a matter of time until one of them jumps us."

"I think you're overreacting, Elaine," Ronald Bergren put in. The Secretary for Foreign Affairs rubbed his pencil-thin mustache and frowned at her. "Certainly they're arming--I would be, too, in their place--but none of them are strong enough to take us on."

"Perhaps not just now," Admiral Parnell said bleakly, "but if we get tied down elsewhere or any large-scale revolt breaks out, some of them are going to be tempted into trying a smash and grab. That's why we need more ships. And, with all due respect to Mr. Frankel," the CNO added, not sounding particularly respectful, "it isn't the Fleet budget that's breaking the bank. It's the increases in the BasicLiving Stipend. We've got to tell the Dolists that any trough has a bottom and get them to stop swilling long enough to get our feet back under us. If we could just get those useless drones off our backs, even for a few years--"

"Oh, that's a wonderful idea!" Frankel snarled. "Those BLS increases are all that's keeping the mob in check! They supported the wars to support their standard of living, and if we don't--"

"That's enough!" President Harris slammed his hand down on the table and glared at them all in the shocked silence. He let the stillness linger a moment, then leaned back and sighed. "We're not going to achieve anything by calling names and pointing fingers," he said more mildly. "Let's face it--the DuQuesene Plan hasn't proved the answer we thought it would."

"I have to disagree, Mr. President," Dumarest said. "The basic plan remains sound, and it's not as if we have any other choice now. We simply failed to make sufficient allowance for the expenses involved."

"And for the revenues it would generate," Frankel added in a gloomy tone. "There's a limit to how hard we can squeeze the planetary economies, but without more income, we can't maintain our BLS expenditures and produce a military powerful enough to hold what we've got."

"How much time do we have?" Harris asked.

"I can't say for certain. I can paper over the cracks for a while, maybe even maintain a facade of affluence, by robbing Peter to pay Paul. But unless the spending curves change radically or we secure a major new source of revenue, we're living on borrowed time, and it's only going to get worse." He smiled without humor. "It's a pity most of the systems we've acquired weren't in much better economic shape than we were."

"And you're certain we can't reduce Fleet expenditures, Elaine?"

"Not without running very grave risks, Mr. President. Admiral Parnell is perfectly correct about how our neighbors will react if we waver." It was her turn to smile grimly. "I suppose we've taught them too well."

"Maybe we have," Parnell said, "but there's an answer to that." Eyes turned to him, and he shrugged. "Knock them off now. If we take out the remaining military powers on our frontiers, we can probably cut back to something more like a peace-keeping posture of our own."

"Jesus, Admiral!" Bergren snorted. "First you tell us we can't hold what we've got without spending ourselves into exhaustion, and now you want to kick off a whole new series of wars? Talk about the mysteries of the military mind--!"

"Hold on a minute, Ron," Harris murmured. He cocked his head at the admiral. "Could you pull it off, Amos?"

"I believe so," Parnell replied more cautiously. "The problem would be timing." He touched a button and a holo map glowed to life above the table. The swollen sphere of the People's Republic crowded its northeastern quadrant, and he gestured at a rash of amber and red star systems to the south and west. "There are no multi-system powers closer than the Anderman Empire," he pointed out. "Most of the single-system governments are strictly small change; we could blow out any one of them with a single task force, despite their armament programs. What makes them dangerous is the probability that they'll get organized as a unit if we give them time."

Harris nodded thoughtfully, but reached out and touched one of the beads of light that glowed a dangerous blood-red. "And Manticore?" he asked.

"That's the joker in the deck," Parnell agreed. "They're big enough to give us a fight, assuming they've got the guts for it."

"So why not avoid them, or at least leave them for last?" Bergren asked. "Their domestic parties are badly divided over what to do about us--couldn't we chop up the other small fry first?"

"We'd be in worse shape if we did," Frankel objected. He touched a button of his own, and two-thirds of the amber lights on Parnell's map turned a sickly gray-green. "Each of those systems is almost as far in the hole economically as we are," he pointed out. "They'll actually cost us money to take over, and the others are barely break-even propositions. The systems we really need are further south, down towards the Erewhon Junction, or over in the Silesian Confederacy to the west."

"Then why not grab them straight off?" Harris asked.

"Because Erewhon has League membership, Mr. President," Dumarest replied, "and going south might convince the League we're threatening its territory. That could be, ah, a bad idea." Heads nodded around the table. The Solarian League had the wealthiest, most powerful economy in the known galaxy, but its foreign and military policies were the product of so many compromises that they virtually did not exist, and no one in this room wanted to irritate the sleeping giant into evolving ones that did.

"So we can't go south," Dumarest went on, "but going west instead brings us right back to Manticore."

"Why?" Frankel asked. "We could take Silesia without ever coming within a hundred light-years of Manticore--just cut across above them and leave them alone."

"Oh?" Parnell challenged. "And what about the Manticore Wormhole Junction? Its Basilisk terminus would be right in our path. We'd almost have to take it just to protect our flank, and even if we didn't, the Royal Manticoran Navy would see the implications once we started expanding around their northern frontier. They'd have no choice but to try to stop us."

"We couldn't cut a deal with them?" Frankel asked Bergren, and the foreign secretary shrugged.

"The Manticoran Liberal Party can't find its ass with both hands where foreign policy is concerned, and the Progressives would probably dicker, but they aren't in control; the Centrists and Crown Loyalists are. They hate our guts, and Elizabeth III hates us even more than they do. Even if the Liberals and Progressives could turn the Government out, the Crown would never negotiate with us."

"Um." Frankel plucked at his lip, then sighed. "Too bad, because there's another point. We're in bad enough shape for foreign exchange, and three-quarters of our foreign trade moves through the Manticore Junction. If they close it against us, it'll add months to transit times ... and costs."

"Tell me about it," Parnell said sourly. "That damned junction also gives their navy an avenue right into the middle of the Republic through the Trevor's Star terminus."

"But if we knocked them out, then we'd hold the Junction," Dumarest murmured. "Think what that would do for our economy."

Frankel looked up, eyes glowing with sudden avarice, for the junction gave the Kingdom of Manticore a gross system product seventy-eight percent that of the Sol System itself. Harris noted his expression and gave a small, ugly smile.

"All right, let's look at it. We're in trouble and we know it. We have to keep expanding. Manticore is in the way, and taking it would give our economy a hefty shot in the arm. The problem is what we do about it."

"Manticore or not," Parnell said thoughtfully, "we have to pinch out these problem spots to the southwest." He gestured at the systems Frankel had dyed gray-green. "It'd be a worthwhile preliminary to position us against Manticore, anyway. But if we can do it, the smart move would be to take out Manticore first and then deal with the small fry."

"Agreed," Harris nodded. "Any ideas on how we might do that?"

"Let me get with my staff, Mr. President. I'm not sure yet, but the Junction could be a two-edged sword if we handle it right...." The admiral's voice trailed off, then he shook himself. "Let me get with my staff," he repeated. "Especially with Naval Intelligence. I've got an idea, but I need to work on it." He cocked his head. "I can probably have a report, one way or the other, for you in about a month. Will that be acceptable?"

"Entirely, Admiral," Harris said, and adjourned the meeting.

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On Basilisk Station 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 87 reviews.
JESiers More than 1 year ago
It isn't the story that's a problem. On Basilisk Station is Book 1 in David Weber's long-running, best-selling Honor Harrington series, and it's a good, well written story.The problem is with this edition. The book was originally issued in paperback only, then later as an undersized, no-dust-jacket hardcover (which I already have, and read many years ago). I ordered this one because it was advertised as an "author-signed, leather bound edition." Yes, it is; but the leather binding is very cheaply done -- looks more like an excuse for not having a dust jacket, and the gold-leaf lettering is nothing special. Inside, the paper and print are no different than any one of Baen's "everyday" editions. There is a special insert page for David Weber's hastily-scrawled signature (really just "DW" and not a full signature), which implies that EVERY copy of this edition is author-signed. There is one interesting feature -- a glossy color insert page inside that shows the original cover artwork, with an updated version on the reverse. Bottom line: It's a good book, and if you are looking to read it for the first time, it's worth buying; but if you are looking for a "premium quality" edition for your bookshelf, this will be something of a disappointment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoy this whole series. All are available from Baen Books as e books for less than $6 each and some are on their free e library. Most of the books on my nook are from Baen.
seekingflight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my old favourites - space opera, Dilbert style. Honor Harrington has finally achieved the Captain's beret she has long coveted. Her first command, Fearless, isn't quite what she was hoping for - she's used as a pawn in her superiors' jostling for position and power, and sent off to what seems like exile in Basilisk Station when her presence reminds them too much of their own incompetence. Her crew aren't too thrilled with this, and their reactions are not entirely unlike those of sulky spoiled teenagers. Honor insists on doing her duty, nevertheless, and does the Star Kingdom of Manticore proud. The first in a favourite feel-good series.
sanguinity on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hornblower...! In...! SPAAAAACE...! Except, not really. In that she's too pretty, too perfect, too given to eye-twinkling. Not to mention that she's got the equivalent of one of McCaffrey's Special Psychic Dragons That Chose MEEEEE riding around on her shoulder.And the world-building is crap, too. There's a detailed exposition of why Manticore is an aristocracy, but no explanation whatsoever of why the government EXACTLY parallels the British, nor why the navy EXACTLY parallels the British, nor why the navy slang EXACTLY parallels the British... Even though it's umpteen-odd centuries from now.And the biological world building? The primitive planet, with primitive sentients, and primitive flora (nothing more modern than moss!), and primtive wildlife (nothing more modern than insects!)... Don't get me started.The story moves well enough, I suppose, in an indifferent space-opera-y sort of way. But mostly it just made me want to go read Hornblower -- even schmaltzy, early Hornblower -- and get a fix of the real stuff.
Archren on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I now know that I¿m not going to be a military SF fan. This book dragged for me, and I found it difficult to finish. There was a lot of info-dumping, even more awkward when it was embedded in dialog. A lot of the political and scientific background of the story seemed to have been crafted to create an interesting tactical space for the antagonists to operate in, not because it necessarily made sense or was natural. Once the climactic battle started, the violence and repercussions were very graphically described: good for military accuracy, but not something I¿m a big fan of.In a way, things seemed a bit too pat. Even I saw the big ending surprise coming a mile away. No matter how bad things get for the captain, no matter how completely impossibly the odds are stacked against her, she will prevail, no matter how unlikely. No matter how often the author had the opponent say ¿It¿s impossible that she¿s still going!¿ there she was, still going. It got a bit predictable, I¿m afraid. The basic plot is: brilliant young captain gets sent to the boonies due to personal whims of higher-ups. Personally starts to put right everything that was wrong about the boonies, which was extremely messed-up due to stupid liberal politicians back home. Uncovers enemy plot and deals with it. The fact that one knows that this is merely the first book in Weber¿s Honor Harrington series really sort of spoils any possibility of suspense for the young captain¿s fate.So, if you enjoy war gaming and seeing detailed battle plans in your mind and reading pages of tactical briefings; and really appreciate reading about the horrors of war but seeing the good guys prevail, this is a well written book with some half-decent characters. If not, then this won¿t be your cup of tea.
lpg3d on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the introduction to the Honor Harrington series. I got it as a free ebook from Baen and had to go out and purchase more books from the series. I guess their giving away the first book worked.
teampoush on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel introduces us to Honor Harrington, an officer in the Royal Manticoran Navy. One of the many fun things in this book is that the author applies traditional naval terms and traditions to a starship navy. Honor is an ambitious, humble, dutiful, and very capable naval officer. Through her adventures in this book, we get the pleasure of seeing her apply leadership principles and use plain hard work and good character to overcome problems. Some of the plot and dialogue is a little cliche, but once you get started it is hard to put it down. It is just an all-around good tale, and it is a joy to get to know Honor better.
usnmm2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On Basilisk Station by David WeberHonor Harrington has been billed asthe female Hornblower in space. And the story does have that feel to it.Commander Harrrington has made her superiors look foolish so her ship and her are sent to Basilisk Station. A back water (space) asignment for the Royal Space Navys Worst Officers.When she gets there she is abandoned by her senior officer and left on her own. At which point she starts doing the job that the Navy is supposed to do. Of coarse this does not sit well with some very high ranking people. THis is where the fun starts.I found the book a pleasent read. My one complaint (and it's a small one) would be it's a little long. It could have been shaved by about a 1/4, and still been a good story. I would recommend this book to any who like the military sci fi sub genre, or those who like a story with lots of twists and turns.
SimonW11 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From the Baen free Site I have now read several of his Honor Harrington Series So I tried the first its a typical Military Space Opera. Suffered the usual faults of the Genre plus some very bad jokes for example there is an Admiral" of the Red" called Sonja!
morriss003 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a strong but feminine heroine, you will find her in Honor Harrington. Weber's characters are complex individuals, even the bad guys. He has created what may be the best universe since the Master, RAH. His explanations of the weaponry is thorough (too thorough in his later Harrington books), his descriptions of the battles that are fought are completely believable and almost unbearably tense.
irunsjh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this was a pretty good book. I found that it had a few sections where it dragged out a little much. I understand that it is important to understand how the ships work, and the idea of space travel, but to have it explained in the middle of the action I was distracting. I think this is a good start to a series, and look forward to reading more books in the series.
SheilaDeeth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Commander Honor Harrington has enemies and she¿s about to make more of them!¿ That¿s what it says on the cover of this very traditional looking science fiction paperback. The slightly stern face of a young, female, naval captain stares out, dressed in smart uniform, obviously in charge, with fierce-looking cat on her arm.Well, given that this is science fiction, it¿s probably not a cat. Which explains the teeth. And the eyes¿This is really my husband¿s sort of book. Naval battles in space. Formations, rules, regulations. Science, mathematics, space. Yes, definitely my husband¿s sort of book, except that the hero¿s a heroine.To be fair, I read all my husband¿s favorite books long ago and loved them. The only trouble with good old-fashioned science fiction was that the heroes were nearly always male. The same goes for good old-fashioned historical warfare books. Captain Sharpe. Midshipman Hornblower¿ Even in Star Wars it was the guys that got to do all the good stuff.So here¿s Honor Harrington in an imaginary world of the future, a solidly scientific world, a rigorously military world, and a man¿s world still, but one in which she excels. Wise decisions, clever intuition, assiduous willingness to trust in friends and turn enemies into allies¿Okay, the politics got a bit much in places. Why make the enemies ¿evil¿ socialists instead of just failed ones? But even so, I was hooked by the story; a cleverly designed plot, intelligently designed science, cool spaceships and fascinating situations. I¿ll hope to read more, but On Basilisk Station is certainly a fun introduction to an exciting new character and series.
misericordia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Honor Harrington, fresh young space captian, get a dog of a ship and a exile assignment at Basilisk Station! Honor turn this all to her advantage and cuts her enemies to atom with a gravity lance!
Kade on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Honor Harrington is an interesting, three-dimensional character in some ways, and a cardboard cutout Mary Sue in others. That's perhaps what's so infurating about The Harrington series. Depending upon the book, Honor Harrington is either a compelling protagonist or a complete Mary Sue, easily arriving at victory which is never in doubt. However On Basilisk Station is NOT one of those books, save for a few irritating details. Honor Harrington starts out very excited at her new command, then moves to being frustrated at how it has been retrofitted with terrible weaponry, to proud at doing her duty, and crushed again as her weaponry turns out to be a one trick pony and she's given the worst assignment in the fleet. What's interesting in On Basilisk Station is how David Weber turns monotony into an interesting, well-written situation. Honor's solution to how to handle the monumental task ahead of her is creative but not Trek technobabble, and her crew have their own issues to struggle over. Captain Harrington's main trait is discipline and a determination to see her duty done. This is admirable, and it's astounding how many reviewers discount this as something that's easy to write into a novel. It isn't, and what saves Harrington from Mary Suedom is mainly this trait. She does not solve problems easily where others have trouble, but she does get the job done. On Basilisk Station's "situation" is one of the best setups in the series so far, and I was turning page after page to see how the crew handled things as bland and usually uninteresting as customs inspections! It's a sign of good writing to be able to pull that off, which is what makes On Basilisk Station so good. However, Captain Harrington does have an empathic cat dangling from her shoulder, one that she has received special dispensation from the Queen herself to carry as an exception to the Navy's no pets policy. She has been sexually assaulted at the Academy, though she beat off her attacker easily. She is beautiful, but thinks she's ugly. She is remarkably tall for a woman, and strong as well. These traits tend to put her dangerously towards Mary Sue territory. She also becomes a millionaire by the end of the book for the prize capture of a single smugging vessel. David Weber has a tendency to "Wrap up" his books at the end with very "Happily Ever After" endings, with the exception of Field of Dishonor and unfortunately On Basilisk Station succumbs to this. Otherwise it is a very good read, and a very good start to the series.
voodoochilli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wanted to like this book, and it did start well. However, I soon became flooded with military and naval references that were lost on me. I would recommend this book for someone who likes hard military fiction, with a sci-fi slant. This book is less accessible than say Ender's Game or Old Man's war and does focus more on the micromanagement of naval and space warfare. Not really my cup of tea and I stopped reading about a 150 pages in.
kmartin802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first Honor Harrington book introduces us to Honor and her treecat Nimitzas she takes command of the Fearless after Horrible Hemphill has gutted her weapons systems for some experimental armament. Honor originally makes it work but, once the element of surprise is lost, the weapons prove to be a very bad idea. Rather than accepting blame herself, Hemphill has Honor and the Fearless transferred to Basilisk Station. The current commander, an old enemy of Honor's, leaves Honor in charge while he goes takes his ship home for an "essential refit." Honor knows she has an impossible job but she is determined to do her best. She immediately gets to work stopping smuggling and foiling a plan by Manticore's enemy Haven to throw Manticore out of the Basilisk system and to claim it for themselves.
4fish on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a little slow to start. There's not a lot of action until about halfway through the book, but after that it's a roller-coaster ride to the end. Lots of fun to read.
NancyChase on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Fantastic Military Sci-Fi story! From the beginning the plot and the pace of "On Basilisk Station" was set and the story picks up and never stopped holding my interest. Honor Harrington is assigned to a large space command. Basilisk Station is the end of the line in the Navy - only those that have brought discredit to the Navy are sent there. But in Harrington's mind, all she believes is that she is being punished for doing her best in a very difficult situation. I was expecting a so-so read, not a great book, but was I pleasantly surprised, for this novel was fabulous - I couldn't put it down. If you enjoy military Sci-Fi I would recommend this book. So Long.
wfpb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fun adventure sci-fi with a heroine who won't give up. I love her commitment to do what's right even when everyone says it's impossible.sexual content: Attempted rape successfully avoided by fighting back.Very tastefully dealt with.Inspiring.
Queensowntalia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first two thirds of this book involve a great deal of info dumping and political staging, two things which simply don't interest me at all, but the last third is high-octane military action and absolutely riveting. I am not one in general for hard military sci-fi, for which this clearly qualifies, but space battles? YES PLEASE! 'On Basilisk Station' delivers beautifully. Various 'Star Wars' themes were running through my head all the way through the last portion of the book. :)Which is not to say the rest of the book is sans merit. It's enjoyable for the character development and interactions between the crews. Weber does flesh out his characters well. Unfortunately, he also has the tendency to go off on multi-page schpeels about technical things or political history. While some might consider this necessary to make the story more complete, as it were, that sort of thing bores me, and I found myself skimming multiple pages. I am also wary of the Perfect Commander trap I see developing. As of yet, Honor Harrington has yet to display any particular flaws, and I'm always suspicious of people who seem "too good to be true." They are just hard to buy. Even so, in general she's likeable, and I am open to reading more of these books - the action definitely delivered.
tinLizzy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Am not usually one for space operas, and I tend to find female protagonists done up by male writers less than convincing. But fie on all that - I'm in love with Honor Harrington as a protagonist and David Weber as an author. Hurray for a new series to munch through!
melsewee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am rereading this series between new reads because I love Honor and the world David Weber created. You fall in as much in love with the supporting characters as Honor, like Nimitz Honor's treecat. I highly recommend this series for anyone looking for a great military space story. The military aspect only enhances the "human" storyline. If you haven't given it a try, jump in with both feet and enjoy the ride.
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Old favorite. It's hard to see her as she is - forget what she will be - especially right after reading a late one. I keep expecting comments on her arm and face. She hasn't changed a lot, either - well, she has matured, but her style of command hasn't changed much. That's why it's hard to keep the timeline straight.
TimCTaylor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you liked Star Trek NG, you¿ll like thisI found the book got better as I went along, and by the end I was glad I'd read it.Overall, I've got mixed feelings. There was a lot of exposition towards the beginning and some felt contrived. On the other hand, a fair chunk of the exposition was about military ship technology and tactics, and I have to say this was well thought out -- far better than the average Star Trek clone. And there was a lot less contrived dialogue than most SF TV shows.Except for the few bad apples, who are the exceptions to prove the rule, naval officers and crew in the Royal Manticore Navy are all shining examples of decency and honour. There's never any question about who the good guys are and who needs to be shot. Hopefully that gets muddied in later books as I would find that would grate after a while, but I was happy enough to go along with that for this book.For me, the section that swung it for me to give a good rather than middling review was the ship chase and battle at the end. Tense and felt realistic.In conclusion, this book does what it intends to very well.
BobVTReader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The author dedicates the book to C.S. Forester, though the bookhas more in common with Jack Aubrey and the Patrick O'Brian series. I will start the Horatio Hornblower series soon, as it has been many years since I have read that series of book. I have given this book only 3.5 stars. There are a few plot problems and I find some sections to plod along. It is definitely better written than the Chris Longknife series (which, in my estimatation, nothing more than mind candy)