This is another book in the excellent Safehold series. Safehold is a planet intentionally hidden at a low tech level from an alien intelligence that has wiped out mankind except for Safehold. Safehold’s founders founded a new religion to deter industrialization in hopes of not attracting the attention of mankind’s nemesis. Much of the review here is the same for the whole series.
This book as referred to by the characters is the end of the beginning. That certainly suggests future books. This book puts a bow on much of the activity of the previous books but it is clear there can be a much longer story. Of course part of the length is Weber's inability to be succinct. As much as I like the details, sometimes they are overwhelmingly mind numbing.
The aforementioned theocracy has become dominated by the gang of four. The gang of four, are four corrupt churchmen who will do anything, no matter how despicable, to remain in power. Mass murder, terriorism, torture and even instigating civil war and denying all progress, it still manages to trumpet it’s godliness.
As all of Weber’s works he has deplorable villains and laudable heroes. Weber works many of current society’s ills into his work. Fanaticism, jihad, corruption, facile politicians, evil empires; he manages to include or refer to through proxy. The dangers of church and state intermingling is brutally depicted by the actions of the theocracy.
Weber is one of those rare authors who can infiltrate your emotions with his characters and feel you full of empathy for their actions. This book seems to show more empathy for the "bad guys". The depiction that all foes are not evil is done very well. Weber demonstrates that good people can be put in untenable situations and find themselves doing evil works. Religious warfare is shown in it's brutal reality. Something that has sadly been illustrated by current events.
Some reviews complain that Weber is wordy but each brush stroke can increase the depth and beauty of a work although in this book I did feel he got a bit effusive. I find myself being repetitive. Regardless of his verbosity or perhaps due to the same, Weber writes compelling stories.
I recommend the book.
Web Site: http://www.davidweber.net/
This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.