Reviews of At All Costs (2005)
Review by johnafair (2005-12-18)
When I saw the original publicity for this on Baen's web site, I was stunned - 300,000 words! The books in David Weber's Harrington series have been gaining additional length as the series continues to tell the story of the greatest war in the explored quarter of the galaxy but really...!
With a timeline that continues straight on from 'War of Honor' and overlapping 'The Shadow of Saganami' those 300,000 words tell the story of Honor's war against the Republic of Haven. Like more recent books in the series, this book focuses on the politics of both star nations as they're caught up in a war neither side really want but neither side can stop as leaders and public alike find the costs unforgivably high on both sides.
This book shows an decidedly mature performance from Weber in his depiction of both sides' politics - no-one's particularly stupid or venal, nor is anyone magically able to beat the odds. Not even Honor this time; she does pull off some superb attacks but also manages to get clobbered pretty badly herself.
Some people have expressed concern over the increasing proportion of the story that politics is taking up but given Honor's rank both in the military and society this is almost unavoidable and as I said above, Mr Weber's handling of this aspect has improved immeasurably. Of course, it wouldn't be Space Opera without some space combat and you certainly get plenty of bang for your buck with this book!
All-in-all, the eight hundred odd pages of the book just flew past with barely a chance to draw breath!