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Crown of Slaves
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Beginning a new blockbuster series set in the "Honorverse"- the universe of Honour Harrington. The Star Kingdom's ally Erewhon is growing increasingly restive in the alliance because the new High Ridge regime ignores its needs. Add to that the longstanding problem of a slave labour planet controlled by hostile Mesans in Erewhon's stellar backyard, a problem which High Ridge also ignores. Finally, the recent assassination of the Solarian League's most prominent voice of public conscience indicates the growing danger of political instability in the Solarian League - which is also close to Erewhon. In desperation, Queen Elizabeth tries to defuse the situation by sending a private mission to Erewhon led by Captain Zilwicki, and accompanied by one of her nieces. When they arrive on Erewhon, however, Manticore's most capable agent and one of its princesses find themselves in a mess. Not only do they encounter one of the Republic of Haven's most capable agents - Victor Cachat - but they also discover that the Solarian League's military delegation seems up to its neck in skulduggery. And, just to put the icing on the cake, the radical freed slave organization, the Audubon Ball-room, is also on the scene-led by its most notorious killer, Jeremy X.
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Fans of Weber's Honor Harrington series know that one of its more intriguing aspects is the "Honorverse," the historical, political and astrophysical foundation upon which he builds his plots. They will be delighted with this offshoot in which he and coauthor Flint (1633) develop several situations and characters from other stories. Due to the incompetence of Queen Elizabeth's current government, the alliance between the Star Kingdom of Manticore and Erewhon is on the verge of dissolution, so the queen sends her niece, Ruth, as a representative to a state funeral to patch things up. When a band of terrorists attack Ruth, Havenite agent Victor Cachat seizes the opportunity to forge new bonds between the Erewhonese and his own star nation. At the same time, Cachat liberates an interstellar slave ship and, in a Machiavellian scheme, puts together an alliance that includes Manticorans, Havenites, Erewhonese and units of the Solarian League Navy to liberate a slave planet and form a new star nation dedicated to the extirpation of slavery. Despite the authors' opposing political views, they have managed, in a rare and impressive display of bipartisanism, to blend Edmund Burke and Carlos Marighella into an intriguing synthesis that should appeal to readers of both persuasions. This outstanding effort transcends the label "space opera" and truly is a novel of ideas. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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