Field of Dishonor (Honor Harrington, #4)

Field of Dishonor (Honor Harrington, #4) - David Weber *4.6 Stars*

Scorecard: (Out of 10)
* Quality of Writing - 10
* Pace - 9
* Plot development - 9
* Characters - 10
* Enjoyability - 8
* Insightfulness - 10
* Ease of Reading - 8
* Photos/Illustrations - NA
Final Score: 64/70 = 91%

*WARNING: This is a sad story that deals with ideas of duels, political machinations, duty, honor, and justice.

*The Gush*

This is a different book from the previous three. Where all the preceding volumes dealt with Honor and her crew out on the front lines and facing the enemy across empty space, this time Honor has to face an enemy she’s not prepared for – her own people. Because of events at the end of [b:The Short Victorious War|77736|The Short Victorious War (Honor Harrington, #3)|David Weber||1913024], the nearly apolitical captain is thrust into the political carnage as half of the Political parties rise up against her not only over Young’s Court Martial but by a couple bad choices from previous books that are coming back to haunt her.

With no battles and basically no completely new characters (you finally meet people who are talked about or alluded to in previous books), this is a very different novel from any we’ve seen previously. This is a personal book, not only for Honor but Manticore, a nation we root for but until now have known little about. We see the weaknesses but also the strengths of the empire; a strength that’s soon to be sorely tested in the coming novels.

This is also another look at Honor as a person, not merely as a captain. We learn more about her not just from her own thoughts and actions but through her friends, her subordinates, her superiors, her enemies, and through Paul Tankersley. The relationship between Honor and Paul is amazing and easily some of the best parts of the book. This is why you should remember Weber is ruthless and no one is safe from death. The event that rocks the middle of the book and the unbelievable events that take place after is shocking and virtually impossible to predict. It is also the saddest thing I’ve read, I still cry when I read it.

Characters such as McKeon, Sarnow, White Haven, and some old friends from Grayson play important parts in the story. The main ‘new’ people are Honor’s guardsmen that are now permanent fixtures because of her role as Steadholder. While they play more of a support role in this book, the foundation is there for a few of them to shine later on.
One small note: the main plot point dueling in this book comes straight from Forrester’s Hornblower. I think it’s a section from [b:Mr. Midshipman Hornblower|84748|Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (Hornblower Saga Chronological Order, #1)|C.S. Forester||3144740], but it’s been awhile since I’ve read it. While Weber does some things differently, the bones and spirit of the tale are very similar.

*The Rant*
Tankersley’s death is heart-wrenching and can be hard to read in places. Also, some of the descriptions of dueling are a bit…difficult. It certainly is much less than any of the previous books.

While at times a difficult book emotionally to get through, this is another great novel in the series, particularly because it is personal and mostly about Manticore. The politics might be off putting for some, but I can’t stand politics and I like this book a lot.