To End in Fire
Written by David Weber and Eric Flint
Published by Baen Books
October 5, 2021
Hardback, 704 pages
Officially, technically, and if you squint just right, To End In Fire is Book #4 of the Crown of Slaves series offshoot in the Honorverse. And yes, technically, an argument can be made that it flows directly from the events of those books: Crown of Slaves, Torch of Freedom, Cauldron of Ghosts, and now this entry.
But I can also argue, I think successfully, that To End In Fire also pulls together threads from the Saganami Island story thread as well as the main thread starring the now-retired Fleet Admiral Lady Dame Honor Harrington-Alexander, Duchess and Steadholder Harrington, former commanding officer of Grand Fleet. And it’s been a very long time coming.
Since the introduction of the Mesan Alignment way back in At All Costs (at least, I think it was that far back), this plot thread has been woven in and around a number of different events in the overall universe, and it’s nice to see parts of it start to pay off finally. One can only build and build and build before some kind of resolution has to be served up, and we get the beginnings of that here, following the events of Uncompromising Honor, in which we get some light bulbs going off over atop people’s heads. Those “aha!” moments are going to start rolling in quite quickly from here on out, I do believe.
On the flip side, there’s a down side to having such a continuity-heavy story play out over a couple of dozen books. To End In Fire is definitely not a book one can just casually pick up and start reading without any advanced knowledge. I read all of the mainline and sideline books to prepare for this, thinking this is going to be the one that wraps everything up in a neat little bow.
It doesn’t. Not yet. But it’s a start. And I’m glad to see the inevitable cross-over of characters. Having pretty much everyone in this book is quite satisfying. Not only do we get some interactions between people who are normally in different parts of the galaxy, but we also get a bit of a reset to make sure everyone knows where everyone sits in terms of the relative timelines and story threads. And who doesn’t enjoy Victor Cachat playing pirate again?
Still and all, it’s nice to finally get some significant movement forward in the whole Mesan Alignment thread, as we’ve been building to this confrontation over the past two or three books, and I’ve been very curious about the resolution of the whole thing. Not that we get that here, but Weber and Flint move forward with a significant confrontation that satisfies the immediate need while leaving things open for the next act.
And that’s what this feels like — the first act of a new arc. Uncompromising Honor brought things to a close on a number of fronts, even giving us a retirement for Honor Harrington, and while she’s in this book in a significant way, it’s not until the last part of the book, and that event gives us one last boost when it comes to the Mesan Alignment and the next potential threat to the Detweiler Plan.
I always enjoy the Honorverse books, and I’ve been looking forward to this book for a long while since it was first announced. It initially wasn’t what I expected, being in the “side” narrative, but it’s a fun, satisfying read nonetheless. The mix of established characters interacting with more recent additions to the cast, along with new potential allies and enemies, keeps it interesting. The only “negative” aspect of this, if you can say there is one, is that it depends heavily on knowing what came before.
But that shouldn’t be a problem, since you’ve all been taking my advice and reading these books, right?
Read these books.