A Call to Arms
David Weber, Timothy Zahn, and Thomas Pope
Baen, Oct 6 2015, $26.00
The impoverished Star Kingdom of Manticore parliament debate continues over whether the isolated in a remote area of the galaxy nation needs a defenseless naval fleet loaded with obsolete in terrible shape ships and corrupt lazy officers. Those in favor insist on modernization though know budgeting remains an issue; those opposed insist no one out there gives a crap about this out of the way orb. Changing the pros and cons is the discovery of a strategic wormhole that the external superpowers want to control. The parliamentary members mostly ignore the impact except to consider leasing the rights to control of the wormhole to one of the coveting outside powerhouses.
However, not everyone watching Manticore remains patient with the minor Star Kingdom’s internal argument. Hostile takeover comes to Manticore, but the underfunded obsolete Royal Navy led by courageous in corrigible officers like Lieutenant Travis Long defends their nation while the Parliament deliberates over going to war or less costly (and personally profitable) surrender.
The storyline starts leisurely as the plot builds a solid foundation that leads to an exciting military science fiction. Once again loyal Long thinks outside the crypt while preparing for war at a time when the Manticore Parliament seems to mirror our Congress (take credit for success and blame others for failure; but mostly do nothing except claim exceptionalism and patriotism). In spite of a sameness to the overarching premise to the previous Manticore Ascendant thriller (see A Call To Duty), this is an interesting space opera that Harrington fans will enjoy; especially how ancient history differs from what future generations and historians, and the “books” believe happened.