A little darker in places than the previous book, On Basilisk Station
, this book touches on religious (in)tolerance, sexual discrimination and violence as well as the different moral lines in the sand that individuals and groups will set themselves in an ongoing war. Weber handles the topics well, each group manages to get represented across most of the human spectrum – some good people, some not so good people, some downright fucking nasty people and some people who need a trigger event of some kind to make them appraise their own culture and hopefully rise above it.
Fresh from her success in On Basilisk Station
, a promotion and a new ship and crew. Honor is volunteered to accompany her former teacher on a diplomatic mission to form an alliance with one of two worlds that sit slap-bang in between Manticore and their enemies – the People's Republic of Haven. These two worlds are theocracies, both subscribing to a sort of ultra-conservative Christian off-shoot that has attempted to reject many of Earth's previous advances – including advanced technology and feminism. As with any religious group, it seems, once they got out into space and colonised their new world, schisms appeared and suddenly they needed two worlds. Now, not only are they sitting slap between the two warring systems, but they don't speak to each other and the second world views the recolonisation (or destruction if necessary) of the previous world as the will of God.
Honor hasn't ever been strong on diplomacy it seems, and with two warring systems and a sister-world all congregating round the tiny inhospitable world of Grayson it isn't going to be long before the shooting starts...