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The proles are revolting.
The families who rule the People's Republic of Haven are in trouble. The treasury's empty, the Proles are restless, and civil war is imminent.
But the ruling class knows what they need to keep in power; another short, victorious war to unite the people and fill the treasury once more. It's a card they've played often in the last half-century, always successfully, and all that stands in their way is the Star Kingdom of Manticore and its threadbare allies.
Only this time the Peeps face something different. This time they're up against Captain Honor Harrington and a Royal Manticoran Navy that's prepared to give them a war that's far from short...and anything but victorious.
Review by Travis Starnes
The third book in the Honor Harrington Series this installment keeps up the tradition set by the first two. Although it does have some points where it drops off The Short Victorious War is an all-around good read for fans of serial science fiction.
Honor is back ship-side after having large portions of the last book set planet side. It truly is nice to see Harrington back in her element. There is almost as much intrigue and politics here as in the Honor of the Queen coupled with larger scale space combat.
Honor continues to be one of the strongest and most interesting female characters I have read in a long time. With the addition of a love interest (from a rather unexpected location), Weber has fleshed her out from the competent military leader arch type into something more human. One of my few complaints about her from earlier books was how detached she was, and now we get to see another side of Honor. Aside from the main character Weber usually makes it a point to bring back reoccurring characters in his series and this book is no different. Several supporting cast members from either the first or second book show up here, including one rather unfriendly acquaintance.
One of the problems this series has is the incompetent ally/enemy. There are times when characters such as Pavel Young make truly unbelievable actions. It is hard to accept that these people would be this foolish and petty. Not that I am being naive, I do know how petty people can be, but these people make near fatal and equally obvious mistakes again and again. At times it strains the bounds of believability that these characters have been able to reach their current station and be so obviously incompetent. An off shoot of this problem is when the villains bit too blatantly evil and way to dumb, and that is definitely an issue in this book.
Aside from the plot revolving around Honor, it was nice to see the Haven political intrigue. Weber has a pretty good hand at playing out political intrigue in his worlds and it always helps to flesh the story out and make the universe he has created feel more alive. He also continues to use interesting pieces of our history to punch up his story with the inclusion of s marvelous updating of “the tennis court” plot from the French revolution. I still think this is one of the strengths of this series, although one with a limited life span as he continues to add books to the series.
The two major Weber problems both creep into this book as well. The first is that characters spend long periods of time explaining things to each other. A lot of back story is handed down to the reader through stilted monologues he has characters recite to one another. The second is that there a tremendous amount of background, digressions, and explanations in technical areas of combat that are better skimmed then read. It doesn’t reach Tom Clancy levels of jargon but at times it gets dense and tedious to read.
Those two complaints aside this is still a solid story and Harrington makes for a fun character to follow. If you enjoyed On Basilisk Station and the Honor of the Queen, you will not be disappointed by this book.