Book Review: On Basilisk Station


Weber Pic.PNG

Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews.  I’m currently reading one of the greats of military science fiction, David Weber.  I want to read his novels, and mine them for useful skills.  He created one of the largest fan bases, so he is clearly doing something right.  Nothing has really changed on my end, so I won’t bore your ear holes with gibberish.  Instead, let’s jump right into the nuts and bolts of the story.


Title: On Basilisk Station

Author: David Weber

Price: $0.00 USD (Kindle Version)

Obtained: I bought it when it was free on Amazon

Pages: 432 pages




Rating: 4/5 Grenades

4 Grenade



This book shares the story of Commander Honor Harrington of the Royal Manticoran Navy.  She commands the HMS Fearless, having assumed command after some new weapons are added. These changes have the rank and file upset, but Honor is determined to give it the old college try when she participates in the navy’s war games.  After a sneak attack ends with her ship scoring a direct ‘kill’ against the flagship of one of the Lords of the Admiralty.  She ends up banished to picket duty on Basilisk Station, essentially an assignment to Siberia in her universe.  There is the usual tension, as she has some issues with her command, the drama of ground combat with the Medusa locals a smattering of intrigue and political shenanigans.  And lest we forget, since this IS a novel about the Royal Manticoran Navy, there is space ships knocking it out to the bitter end.



The main character in this novel is Honor Harrington, a naval commander who is given command of the HMS Fearless at the beginning of the novel.  I found myself very much drawn to her, she was a well-developed character, who had enough depth to make her believable.  Having grown up a Navy Brat and taken Navy JROTC in high school, I felt like she fit with the upstanding naval officers I’ve known.  Admittedly, I went on to an Army college and then enlisted into the infantry so otherwise my exposure to the Navy is almost nil, but I felt like she fit with what I’ve known in real life.  She’s a no-nonsense kind of woman, who gets the job done and overcomes, no matter the cost.  Honor does all this without sacrificing her troops needlessly, but isn’t afraid to risk all and pull the trigger when the need arises.



I felt like the plot moved along at a steady pace, a bit slow in places but not enough to draw you out of the universe David Weber was creating.  The plot was enough that I kept turning the pages for more, which is all we can really ask for!  He went a little heavier on the science of his space flight than I like, but I was able to skim over those pages easily enough and enjoy an otherwise good space opera.  The parts where David Weber described the combat on the ground was entirely believable, given the way he set up the primitive natives.  It fit with what I knew from my own training as a historian and my time as a grunt.  The only real issue I had was that the changes in POV felt jarring and were hard to follow.  I read this novel as an eBook, and it was published as a trade paperback in 1993.  I’m guessing that the novel was simply poorly converted, and the indications of the swapping POVs weren’t carried over, though I haven’t verified this.  Either way, it was an issue for me.


World Building:

I felt like the world building in this novel was solid, there was just enough to understand everything.  The setting was cogently written, believable and fun to imagine yourself joining.  Probably a bad idea, as lots of people die in these fights, but such are the dangers of SciFy fandom.  Admittedly, I came into these novels after being seduced to the dark side by the TRMN Fan Club at RavenCon last year so I knew a lot about the universe going in.  I think it would’ve still stood alone on the laurels of the world David Weber created, but felt the need for full disclosure.



I felt like this one is hard, my visualizations were colored by the outside representations I’ve seen from the TRMN.  These fans are dedicated and cosplay his universe, so when I read these books they were what I pictured.  I think it was well done, but it’s possible my affiliation with his rabid fans colored my readings of things.



Aside from my issues with the jarring switches from one POV to another, I really enjoyed this novel.  It kept me hooked, and gave me an idea of how to make the hard science fiction approach to space combat more enjoyable.  It was a bit heavy on the math, which I’m in no way qualified to judge the veracity of, but was otherwise enjoyable.  I did like it enough to buy book two and will be reading that next.  When the author is such an iconic master like David Weber, us noobs need to read and learn.  It wasn’t a WOWZER five grenade novel, but it was good.  Despite my issues with it, this is a book I would happily recommend.  Heck, I would even recommend that you buy the novel!  Some novel’s I’ve only liked enough to check out from the library, but this one you’ll want to buy for your reading pleasure and keep on your bookshelves.


If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out!  You won’t regret it!  Well, unless it keeps you up all night and you’re late to work… and then your boss fires you, because you became a book addict and a rabid David Webber fan.  And then, because you’re unemployed and need a job, you enlist into the Royal Manticoran Navy.  As a spacer, you are then deployed to the front lines.  This shock to your sensibilities then forces you to desert, so that you might live.  And then you track him down, the man who ruined your life, and climb into his window in your skivvies.  And he shoots you with grapeshot.  Okay, the fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT kill you.  Be warned, but enjoy the high!



Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!




–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are used on the Fair Use Doctrine.


33 thoughts on “Book Review: On Basilisk Station

  1. I have been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of space .
    Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this web site.
    Reading this info So i’m glad to express that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed.
    I so much undoubtedly will make certain to do not disregard this site and give it
    a look regularly.


  2. I was suggested this blog via my cousin. I’m not sure whether or not this submit is written by way of him as nobody else understand such targeted about my difficulty. You’re wonderful! Thanks!


  3. Hi there! This post could not be written any better!

    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room
    mate! He always kept talking about this. I ‘ll forward this article to
    him. Fairly confident he will have a good read.
    Thank you for sharing!


  4. It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or advice. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!


  5. Calvin Oberly

    I appreciated the review, mostly, but wanted to make one point. It wasn’t taking out the flagship of one of the Lords of Admiralty that got her sent to “Siberia”. That actually got her good recognition, from both startegic factions. Rather, it was that she only accomplished it once, during a series of war games, due to the horrible weapons setup she was saddled with, and she was blamed for not making her superior’s abysmal weapons decision look like an act of brilliance.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Maria Korsman

    I’ve been neglecting my “real” bookshelves for virtual lately…. but you’ve convinced me it’s time for me to go back and re-read my HH series…. a great description and review of the book. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s