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Off Armageddon Reef [Format Kindle]

David Weber

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From Publishers Weekly

Weber's latest opus is a complex tale of action and intrigue set early in the 25th century, hundreds of years after the near total annihilation of humanity by the Gbaba, an alien race hell-bent on eradicating humans from the universe. After decades of war and facing certain defeat, the last remnants of the human race escape and settle on a distant planet, appropriately named Safehold. To ensure they remain undetected by their enemies, the leaders of the survivors ban technology, and genetically adjust the populace to remain in a perpetual pre-industrial state. However, 800 years later, an android of the old world awakens, charged with the task of guiding humanity back onto the path of science, technology and, eventually, the stars. Wyman rises nicely to the near Herculean challenge of performing this 30-hour epic. His clear, expressive reading never falters while he skillfully navigates his way through a labyrinth of plot twists and multiple characters. Whether describing high-tech space battles or the covert activities of courtiers and spies, Wyman brings Weber's intricate world of Safehold to life.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


With humankind threatened to the brink of extinction by a ruthless alien race, a contingent of humans escapes to set up the last human outpost. However, those in charge differ on how the colony should run. The rise of factions threatens humanity's survival in a battle that will span centuries but will still not be long enough for listeners. Oliver Wyman delivers this compelling novel with consistency throughout all 30 hours. His range of character voices and accents, as well as his gripping narrative tone, keeps listeners fully engaged. Unfortunately, the audiobook lacks the maps and glossary included in the printed version, so the many people and places discussed can be confusing. L.E. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2334 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 608 pages
  • Editeur : Tor Books; Édition : 1st (2 janvier 2008)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B000Q67KJ2
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°140.521 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  268 commentaires
89 internautes sur 97 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 "Off Armageddon Reef" Decent Start to New Series ... 30 juin 2007
Par M. Keck - Publié sur Amazon.com
"Off Armageddon Reef" was the first David Weber-penned novel I've read, so I like to think that this can be a useful review for other readers who are also new to Weber. Time will tell, I guess. With no further ado:


1. The introduction to the new series rocked. I thoroughly enjoyed the setup involving the Terran Federation and the Gbaba Empire. And, while I enjoyed it, it was also sad because, over the span of three to four decades, the reader bore witness to humanity's gradual destruction at the hands of the ever-advancing Gbaba, despite our having taken the war to some of their worlds for a period of time.

2. The introduction of Safehold and how the administrators of humanity's last colony set up a system that ensured it would become stagnant, technology-wise, and, even worse, worship those same administrators as archangels and angels. As a person who loves learning new things and seeing society advance forward in general, it was for me to swallow seeing millions of people intentionally held down in the Dark Ages. Yet, at the same time, it was for their own good. To rise again too quickly would likely bring the Gbaba down on humanity's last hope, even if the colony was 10,000 light years beyond the former star systems of the destroyed Terran Federation. Heh. They should have split the difference -- keep humanity's remnant ignorant for say, 500 years, then let them begin learning again, about not only their lost past, but new things as well.

3. I became attached to a number of the characters, but in particular, Crown Prince Cayleb and King Haarhald, both of Charis. It's always a good thing when an author can make a reader care for at least some of the characters. Other characters that drew my attention included Nimue Alban/Merlin Athrawes and, oddly enough, Archbishop Erayk Dynnys. (I think I spelled the names correctly; if not, my apologies.)

4. The occasional use of ancient, advanced (and, mostly, lost) technology that was scattered throughout the novel.

5. Great description, especially of the space and naval battles. The writing was so good that there were times I winced and felt genuine sorrow for the crews, nameless as they mostly were, of these great starships and seagoing vessels that were being chewed up in the meatgrinder of war.


1. The bastardization of characters' names. Allow me to use some of the names I mentioned above: Erayk Dynnys, Crown Prince Cayleb and King Haarhald (these are just a few of the many, many such names readers will encounter in this novel). Almost every time I ran into these names, especially in the first third of the novel, they would throw me right out of the story, as I had to stop and figure out how to pronounce them. Throwing a reader out of the story is a *major* no-no, as I'm sure you're aware of, Weber. So why do it? And, no, that line about how pronunciations and spellings shift over the centuries doesn't work, especially when it's seemingly only people's names that are affected and nothing else.

2. Too much detail. Yes, I know it sounds like a contradiction to what I wrote in the "like" part of this review, but there were some parts of the novel, such as when a character was being introspective, where it simply got to be too much for this reviewer. C'mon! Let's move the plot along! Don't take 10, 15 or 20 pages detailing a character's (or group of characters) thoughts on a single issue, like, say, the development of a new type of cannon or gunpowder!


1. "Armageddon" is but the first novel in a new series, judging from its jacket and whatnot. With this in mind, I sure as heck hope it won't be another four, six or eight novels before humanity gets back to 21st century technology and, beyond that, another 10, 12 or 14 novels before they're able to take on and (hopefully) defeat the Gbaba Empire. If that's the case, Weber, odds are I won't be along for the ride.

In closing, this new series by Weber has a great deal of potential. In fact, awesome potential. "Armageddon" only scratches the surface of the aforementioned potential (and it's pretty good). That said, don't drag the series out. That'll kill whatever potential there is, in my humble opinion.

M. Keck
28 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Make sure you REALLY like military history 9 février 2007
Par Ethan M. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Generally, I have been enjoying this latest by Weber, it draws on fewer cliches then some of his other novels, and the plot moves quickly, even if only to set up the sequel. Since 600+ pages is serious reading, however, here are the major strengths and weaknesses you may want to consider:

The strengths: An extremely original premise sets up an interesting world for Weber's typical story of technological and military progress in the face of forces designed to slow or stop it. Additionally, the story is quite engaging and generally well-written, despite the fact that this is clearly the beginning of a very long series and that the plot advances quite slowly (and with few surprises) relative to the length of the book. And, if you like history, especially military history, you will very much appreciate Weber's incredibly deep knowledge of the way that gunpowder was milled or cannons fixed to their carriages, and how that affected the ability of armies and countries to do battle or act as centers of commerce.

The weaknesses: Weber uses many of the standard tired narrative elements of both science fiction and military technothrillers in this book. For example, there are many long, and sometimes suprisingly complicated, technical descriptions that are presented as the musing or lectures of various characters ("Capt. Thundermountain thought of the advantages of using two rollers to mill grain. By reducing heat that caused grainocentisis, this would change the way flour production worked forever!" - except for 20 pages at a time, and that doesn't even count the long passages aboard ship). There are also some occasionally repetitive or annoying word choices, such as "thunderous thunder," and the fact that everyone is always "quirking" their eyebrows or lips.

Additionally, Weber draws characters with broad strokes, the bad guys tend to be pretty bad, the good guys very good; and there is little human emotion or interaction among the characters aside from "manly virtues," characters may respect, fear, or honor each other, but rarely have more complex interactions. Indeed, this is a book of men doing manly things, so much so that there are basically four women in the book after the fist couple dozen pages. Three appear for a single paragraph or so each (a grieving widow, a dutiful wife, and a young queen clearly modelled on Elizabeth I), and the final "woman" is the main character, who effectively becomes a robot AND changes sex at the start of the novel and thus is basically treated as a man.

All in all, a fun read for those who like to hear all the details of technological development, especially at sea (think Patrick O'Brian without character development) but others should probably skip it.
43 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Nothing new, but well put together 9 janvier 2007
Par J. Vogel - Publié sur Amazon.com
This book has a lot in common with Weber's Children of Empire: Both feature high-technology protagonists marooned on a more-or-less medieval planet where the only remaining high technology is treated as divine and used to prop up a monolithic organized church, which inhibits further technological progress theologically and culturally. Amidst this, both books involve the protagonist(s) inserting themselves into the most philosophically progressive country around, with fairly predictable results.

That said, Weber remains an interesting writer with a strong sense of imagery. The characters tend to group pretty easily into omni-competant moral paragons versus backstabbing morons, but frankly, the book is just so much fun to read that it doesn't matter. If you like Weber's style, naval combat with a twist, or plots of this general template, this is a book worth reading. Otherwise, it may leave you fairly cold.
152 internautes sur 198 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 WEBER IS GETTING REALLY SLOPPY 3 septembre 2007
Par Draper Kauffman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
My wife and son and I love David Weber, but this is one of a number of recent very disappointing books that have taken Weber off of my family's "automatic buy" list. Although Weber's action scenes are as good as ever, Armageddon Reef just doesn't work. The plot holes are gaping and intrusive and the stylistic defects are annoying enough to detract seriously from the story.

The worst plot hole is Merlin, the AI/android who is the story's protagonist. We are supposed to believe that mankind has been locked for centuries into a desperate life-and-death struggle against a large, implacably hostile, but only slightly more technologically advanced civilization. Furthermore, these aliens do not innovate at all; their tech base is completely frozen. Obviously, humanity's only hope is to force the pace of science and technology development.

At the same time, we are told that humanity has the ability to produce AIs that duplicate in every way the minds, memories, knowledge, and abilities of specific living humans. Merlin thinks, feels, and acts in every way like the real person he is based on, except that he has superhuman strength, reflexes, and mental processing speed.

So of course, in these desperate circumstances, mankind would use this technology to replicate its leading scientists, engineers, technicians, and military cadres, vastly multiplying the productivity of its R&D efforts and making it much easier to staff its star fleet. Need a dozen Einsteins? You got 'em. Need 20 copies of your greatest fleet Admiral? No problem. Need 600 starship engineers, all with the knowledge and abilities of the greatest starship engineer available? Coming right up! Oh, yes...the copies think and act faster than the originals, never need to eat or sleep, and never get fogged out by fatigue or distracted by bodily aches and pains.

Um, no. Weber tells us that this technology is used ONLY for RECREATIONAL purposes! We are supposed to believe that the human race would let itself be wiped out rather than make use of a technology that could easily multiply its scarcest intellectual resources a hundred-fold. Nor are there any ethical considerations that would explain it. After all, this is the same society that creates a secret colony by MIND-WIPING tens of thousands of colonists. Apparently they have no problem with the idea that desperate times require desperate measures.

I'm as willing as the next SF lover to believe 6 impossible things before breakfast, but the conventions of SF require that the impossibilities at least be logical and internally consistent. This is neither. It's just plain dumb...sloppy, self-indulgent, contemptuous of the reader, and DUMB.

There are other gaping plot holes, but compared with that one they seem trivial.

The worst stylistic problem is Weber's treatment of names. The book is written in early 21st century English. All of the place names are written normally. Yet ALL of the character names (except Merlin's) are bizarrely transliterated, using a pseudo-phonetic spelling. Weber takes normal names, substitutes vowels & consonants at random, adds H's, turns many different vowels into Y's, and changes J's, G's, S's, Ch'sand Sh's into Z's & Zh's.

Coupled with Weber's continued obsession with giving half of his characters "J" names, the result is hopelessly confusing. John becomes Zhan, Gerald becomes Zherald, Jason becomes Zhasyn, Janet becomes Zhanayt, Jennifer becomes Zhenyfyr, Jim becomes Zhym, James becomes Zhames, Jeeves (a valet - I kid you not!) becomes Zheevys, Jasper becomes Zhaspyr, Jack becomes Zhak, Joseph becomes Zohzef, Joshua becomes Zhoshua, Jacob becomes Zhaikeb, Johnson becomes Zhansan, Jepson becomes Zheppsyn, Jessup becomes Zhessyp, Jolson becomes Zhoelsyn, George becomes Zhorzh, Samson becomes Zahmsyn, and so on.

There is absolutely no justification anywhere in the book for the altered spellings. In fact, given that the colony world starts with an absolutely universal culture and language and that writing everywhere remains stable and uniform, the idea that the spelling of names - and ONLY names - would have drifted this far is patently absurd.

In addition, the proliferation of unintelligible but very similar names, loaded with Z's, H's, and Y's, balks the reader at almost ever line, utterly ruining the story continuity. I particularly treasured one section in which two minor characters named Zhaspahr Maysahn and Zhames Makferzahn - or is it Zhames Maysahn and Zhaspahr Makferzahn? - spend 3 pages talking and it is virtually impossible to tell them apart or to remember afterward who was a spy for whom.

Any author who creates a sprawling novel with many major and minor characters needs to give careful thought to naming his characters in ways that help the reader tell them apart. Making it this hard for the reader is either extremely sloppy or arrogantly insulting. The attitude it conveys is, "I'm so great I'm above the rules. I can shove any stupid thing down the reader's throat and get away with it." This attitude was evident in the later Belisarius novels and has become blatant in Armageddon Reef and Hell's Gate. Much as I love some of Weber's books, he's starting to remind me of another beloved author, Robert Heinlein, whose output became increasingly undisciplined, self-indulgent, and forgettable once he reached superstar status.

I would not recommend this book to anyone but a die-hard and completely uncritical Weber fan.
39 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Mediocre Weber but Great Book 16 janvier 2007
Par John A Lee III - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
In my opinion, the is just a mediocre effort by David Weber. That makes it a great book because even his off days produce great work.

The situation is this: Humanity is about to be wiped out by an alien species. A last ditch attempt is made to send out a colony that will avoid detection by the aliens in the hope that humanity will somehow survive. The key to this plan is to forswear all advanced technology that could lure the aliens in at least for a while. In time, after the search is over, perhaps they can develop advanced methods to deal with the stagnant aliens.

The ship makes it but there is a problem. The leaders of the expedition are megalomaniacs with the all too common attitude that "somehow, it must all be our fault". They change the parameters of the mission. Technology is suppressed altogether, except for the leaders. The colony is planted and the people are taught that the leaders are agents of God, and expect to be venerated and obeyed as such. They have no desire ever to confront the aliens again.

Some of the leadership does not agree with this policy and the two faction wipe themselves out leaving just the ill prepared colonists to survive at a pre industrial level. That brings us to the beginning of the real story.

An electronic copy of one of the losing officers has been cached with some supplies. After nearly a thousand years, that electronic copy is awakened to try to set things right. To do so, she must guide a rebellious kingdom towards technological advancement while avoiding having that kingdom wiped out by the all powerful but corrupt church. She's got quite a job ahead of her.

Webber does what he does best as he guides the reader through the political and military conflicts that are to come. This book takes the heroine through her first appearance and effort. Expect many sequels.

I don't expect to like this series nearly as well as some of his other ones but I like it just fine. Its going to be an interesting slog back towards technological civilization.
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