Select one of the keywords
The Shadow of Saganami    by David Weber order for
Shadow of Saganami
by David Weber
Order:  USA  Can
Baen, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

With this volume, Weber launches his Saganami Island series. Fans of this talented and prolific writer will be familiar with the name, for Saganami Island is the site of the Star Kingdom of Manticore's naval academy. In Chapter One, Dame Honor Harrington herself addresses the graduating class; and we learn the story behind its name. Edward Saganami's legacy of service, to fight and if necessary to die in protect those they defend, is a heavy responsibility indeed.

Under the command of Captain Aivars Terekhov, heavy cruiser HMS Hexapuma (named for a vicious predator native to the Star Kingdom) is sent on what appears to be a dull assignment far from the theatres of war. The planets of the Talbott Cluster have applied to be integrated into the Star Kingdom; and with an overwhelming popular vote in favour of integration, the duty of 'showing the flag' seems a mere formality. However, as Weber has shown before, political machinations are more deadly than weapons of war. Opposition forces organize armed resistance, and behind the scenes an unknown enemy adds fuel to the fire for his own unscrupulous ends.

Hexapuma's people are brutally tested, and their enemies will find they are worthy successors to Saganami. There are old acquaintances amongst the crew, including newly graduated midshipwoman Helen Zilwicki (whom we have met before in Crown of Slaves and in From the Highlands in Changer of Worlds), and Lt. Abigail Hearns of the Grayson Space Navy (Service of the Sword in Worlds of Honor #4). Weber juggles a very large cast, as well as complicated politics and social backgrounds, with consummate skill. (He does provide a character list to help track the cast.)

The Shadow of Saganami is a captivating read. The author has chosen to illuminate another part of his richly detailed universe. Fans of Honor Harrington will find threads providing continuity and links to Honor's world. It is a hard time for the Queen and her people, for the Star Kingdom is beset by enemies, the most insidious of whom are the cowardly and corrupt within her own borders. Weber excels in showing the stark contrast between the latter and those who are true to duty and honour.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more SF books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews