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Changer of Worlds    by David Weber order for
Changer of Worlds
by David Weber
Order:  USA  Can
Baen, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

This is the third in the Worlds of Honor series, and contains four stories, three by David Weber and one by Eric Flint, all related one way or another to the Honor Harrington universe. The first, Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington, follows Honor and her tree cat straight out of the Space Academy on Saganami Island and unto her first ship, the War Maiden. She falls into immediate problems with a bullying training officer, who is unfortunately extremely stupid, which takes away some of the interest in Honor's inevitable triumph over him. Later, all her superiors are disabled in action, but Honor takes charge and blows away the inevitable shipload of bad guys.

The second, Changer of Worlds, describes how Honor's treecat Nimitz (whose true name apparently is Laughs Brightly) and his mate, Golden Voice, return to Bright Water Clan. They wish to persuade the treecats to reveal their true intelligence, which has been deliberately hidden from humans, and to start spreading to other worlds, so that they can survive any natural or man made disaster. Much of this is interesting and fills in gaps in the history, but the attempt at conveying speech between minds, admittedly a major problem, is not completely successful, which makes the story less than lively.

The third story, From the Highlands, is by Eric Flint, and is only peripherally connected to Honor. The action takes place on Earth, the time being just after Honor's return from the Peep prison planet with all the captives. One of these, the high ranking Legislaturalist officer Parnell is on his way to Earth with testimony which may well result in the withdrawal of support to the Peeps by the Solar Alliance. The teenage daughter of a Manticoran Embassy official has been kidnapped, at the instigation of the Peeps, but by an entity I believe new to the series, the Manpower Corporation, which is in the business of breeding slaves for work and recreation of various perverse kinds. The story is interesting and exciting enough, but suffers a little from the plenitude of new characters and motivations forced into a short story straitjacket.

The last story Nightfall, again by David Weber, like the first and second fills out a gap in the series history. In this case, it is the culmination in the internecine rivalry between Admiral McQueen and Oscar St. Just, the Citizen Secretary for State Security. Under, ironically, the mistaken information that the Chairman and St. Just intend to eliminate her, McQueen starts her revolt early and not fully prepared. However, she almost succeeds, and to save himself St. Just must take draconian measures and unleash a nuclear explosion in New Paris which kills not only McQueen and her adherents but several million civilians.

Since I am an enthusiastic Honor Harrington fan, I enjoyed this book particularly because it filled in some of the blank spaces in the series' development. However, I could not recommend it to a reader new to Honor. Read some of the earlier books first, and then come back to this.

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