Review – Ninefox Gambit

Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire #1)Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
Synopsis from GoodReads:
Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

Cheris’s best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress.

The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao–because she might be his next victim.

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Review – At the Sign of Triumph

At the Sign of Triumph (Safehold #9)At the Sign of Triumph (Safehold #9) by David Weber
Synopsis from GoodReads:
The Church of God Awaiting’s triumph over Charis was inevitable. Despite its prosperity, the Charis was a single, small island realm. It boasted less than two percent of the total population of Safehold. How could it possibly resist total destruction? The Church had every reason to be confident of a swift, crushing victory, an object lesson to other rebels.

But Charis had something far more powerful than simple numbers. It had a king, a crown prince, and a navy prepared to die where they stood in its defense. It had the Brethren of Saint Zherneau, who knew the truth about Safehold’s founding. Who knew that the Church of God Awaiting was a monstrous lie. And it had Merlin Athrawes, last survivor of long-vanished Earth. Merlin, the cybernetic avatar of a woman dead over a thousand years, who was determined to break the Church’s grip upon the human mind and soul.

So after eight years of war, it is not Charis but the Church that stands upon the brink of defeat. But the Church still commands immense resources, and — faced with the unthinkable — it’s decided that it, too, must embrace the forbidden technology which has carried Charis so far.

In the end, it is simple, for only one can survive. The lines are drawn, the navies and armies have been raised, and all of Safehold is poised for the final battle between those who believe in freedom and those who would crush it forever.

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Review – Hell’s Foundations Quiver

Hell's Foundations Quiver (Safehold, #8)

Hell’s Foundations Quiver (Safehold #8) by David Weber
Synopsis from GoodReads:
TURNING OF THE TIDE
Centuries ago, the human race fought its first great war against an alien race—and lost. A tiny population of human beings fled to distant Safehold. Centuries later, their descendants have forgotten their history; for them, life has been an eternal Middle Ages, ruled by the Church of God Awaiting, whose secret purpose is to prevent the reemergence of industrial civilization.
But not all of Safehold’s founders were on board with this plan. Those dissidents left behind their own secret legacies. One of those is Merlin Athrawes, cybernetic avatar of one of Earth’s longdead defenders, now reawakened after a thousand years to restart human progress and reclaim our place in the universe. Merlin has intervened in the small Safeholdian realm of Charis, seeding it with ideas and innovations and helping it to rise to challenge the hegemony of the Church.
It’s been a long and bloody fight, but aided by a stream of inventions—breechloading rifles, signal rockets, claymore mines, new approaches to manufacturing and supply—Charis and its few allies seem to have finally gained the upper hand. Now major realms have begun to consider switching sides.
To all these ends, Merlin Athrawes has been everywhere, under multiple disguises and wielding hidden powers. The secret of who and what he is has been closely held. But a new player has arrived, one who knows many secrets—including Merlin’s own.

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Like a Mighty Army

Like a Mighty Army (Safehold, #7)Like a Mighty Army (Safehold #7) by David Weber
Synopsis from GoodReads:
For centuries, the world of Safehold, last redoubt of the human race, lay under the unchallenged rule of the Church of God Awaiting. The Church permitted nothing new-no new inventions, no new understandings of the world.

What no one knew was that the Church was an elaborate fraud–a high-tech system established by a rebel faction of Safehold’s founders, meant to keep humanity hidden from the powerful alien race that had destroyed old Earth.

Then awoke Merlyn Athrawes, cybernetic avatar of a warrior a thousand years dead, felled in the war in which Earth was lost. Monk, warrior, counselor to princes and kings, Merlyn has one purpose: to restart the history of the too-long-hidden human race.

And now the fight is thoroughly underway. The island empire of Charis has declared its independence from the Church, and with Merlyn’s help has vaulted forward into a new age of steam-powered efficiency. Fending off the wounded Church, Charis has drawn more and more of the countries of Safehold to the cause of independence and self-determination. But at a heavy cost in bloodshed and loss–a cost felt by nobody more keenly that Merlyn Athrawes.

The wounded Church is regrouping. Its armies and resources are vast. The fight for humanity’s future isn’t over, and won’t be over soon…

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Review – Midst Toil and Tribulation

Midst Toil and Tribulation (Safehold, #6)Midst Toil and Tribulation by David Weber
Synopsis from GoodReads:
WAR AND FAMINE

Once the Church of God Awaiting dominated all the kingdoms of Safehold. Then, after centuries of stasis, the island kingdom of Charis began to defy the edicts of Mother Church–egged on, some say, by the mysterious warrior-monk Merlin Athrawes, who enjoys the Charisian royal family’s absolute trust.

What vanishingly few people know is that Merlin is the cybernetic avatar of a young woman a thousand years dead, felled in the war in which aliens destroyed Earth…and that since awakening, his task has been to restart the history of the long-hidden human race.

Now, reeling from the wars and intrigues that have cascaded from Charis’s declaration of independence, the Republic of Siddermark slides into chaos. The Church has engineered a rebellion, and Siddermark’s all-important harvest is at risk. King Cayleb and Queen Sharleyan struggle to stabilize their ally, which will mean sending troops–but, even more importantly, preventing famine. For mass starvation in Safehold’s breadbasket is a threat even more ominous than civil war…

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Review – Six Wakes

Six WakesSix Wakes by Mur Lafferty
Synopsis from GoodReads:
A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew must find their murderer — before they kill again.

It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.

At least, Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died.
Maria’s vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn’t the only one to die recently…

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Review – How Firm a Foundation

How Firm a Foundation (Safehold, #5)How Firm a Foundation by David Weber
Synopsis from GoodReads:
The Charisian Empire, born in war, has always known it must fight for its very survival. What most of its subjects don’t know even now, however, is how much more it’s fighting for. Emperor Cayleb, Empress Sharleyan, Merlin Athrawes, and their innermost circle of most trusted advisers do know. And because they do, they know the penalty if they lose will be far worse than their own deaths and the destruction of all they know and love.

For five years, Charis has survived all the Church of God Awaiting and the corrupt men who control it have thrown at the island empire. The price has been high and paid in blood. Despite its chain of hard-fought naval victories, Charis is still on the defensive. It can hold its own at sea, but if it is to survive, it must defeat the Church upon its own ground. Yet how does it invade the mainland and take the war to a foe whose population outnumbers its own fifteen to one? How does it prevent that massive opponent from rebuilding its fleets and attacking yet again?

Charis has no answer to those questions, but needs to find one: quickly. The Inquisition’s brutal torture and hideous executions are claiming more and more innocent lives. Its agents are fomenting rebellion against the only mainland realms sympathetic to Charis. Religious terrorists have been dispatched to wreak havoc against the Empire’s subjects. Assassins stalk the Emperor and Empress, their allies and advisers, and an innocent young boy, not yet eleven years old, whose father has already been murdered. And Merlin Athrawes, the cybernetic avatar of a young woman a thousand years dead, has finally learned what sleeps beneath the far-off Temple in the Church of God Awaiting’s city of Zion.

The men and women fighting for human freedom and tolerance have built a foundation for their struggle in the Empire of Charis with their own blood, but will that foundation be firm enough to survive?

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