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Honor of the Queen cover The Honor of the Queen by David Weber

Published by Baen Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

Honor Harrington's spectacular victory against a much stronger enemy at Basilisk Station also won her renown. But her new assignment will test all her abilities to the utmost.

In their ongoing covert war with the People's Republic of Haven, the Stark Kingdom of Manticore is looking for allies. Among the potential allies is the world of Grayson, founded by religious separatists who responded to the modern world's conflicts with their beliefs by trying to reject technology. However, the beautiful world to which they fled proved to be a deathtrap, and only through constant application of the very technologies they hate can they stay alive.

But Grayson takes their beliefs very seriously in other ways -- in particular, their belief in the inherent inferiority of women. The women of Grayson are perpetual minors, barred from holding any responsibility in their society and under the authority of one or another adult male throughout their lives. Thus the presence of Honor Harrington, a woman in a position of authority over men, is an affront to everything they hold dear.

But the Havenites have not been idle. They see a potential for advancing their own position, for the people of Grayson have an enemy -- a splinter group of their own religion who regard them as apostate for not holding strictly to the most severe interpretations of their doctrine. Exiled to the nearby world of Masada, they long to take their own brand of holiness back to the world from which they were driven.

Now Honor Harrington is faced with one of the most difficult problems of her career -- to balance the need to avoid affront to a potential ally's sensibilities with the imperative to uphold the honor of the Queen whom she has sworn to defend. It would be easy if this fight were simply a battle between ships, instead of this delicate cultural infighting.

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Review posted December 15, 2000

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