The Honor of the Queen is David Weber’s second installment in the Honor Harrington series. This military sci-fi series takes the Horatio Hornblower-type naval battle stories and places them hundreds of years in the future, as well as in spaaaaace. I reviewed the first book in the series several T-years ago, if you’re interested.
In this book, Honor is leading a ship on a diplomatic mission/proxy war front to an area populated by separatist groups called the Masadans and Graysons. These two splinter groups are sort of like the pilgrims coming to North America, or the religious zealots escaping earth in the new(ish) HBO series “Raised by Wolves.” They have issues with mainstream humanity’s ethics, related to tech or morals, and so they’ve separated themselves in new worlds. In particular, both groups are opposed to women in leadership roles (to varying degrees). Unfortunately for the Masadans and Graysons, they’ve relocated to a place now of tactical importance to Honor Harrington’s Manticoran nation, as well as their enemies, the Havenites. Therefore, it’s a cold war/proxy war in the vacuum of space, complicated by both sides’ views on women and theories of security and expansion.
The book excels in quickly explaining what are essentially naval tactics and play-by-plays in various battles. I’m no naval expert, but I was able to feel like I was in the middle of things and understood each broadside attack. The writing itself is more workmanlike than gorgeous. Don’t look for passages to highlights or insights into the human condition. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read. I expect I’ll return the Honorverse again when the time is right!
I also want to include a trigger warning related to sexual violence. As mentioned above, the book is about Manticore and Haven’s interaction with misogynistic societies. As is the case in real life, such societies produce horrific results. Be aware those kinds of discussions occur in this book.