The world has changed. The mercantile kingdom of Charis has prevailed over the alliance designed to exterminate it. Armed with a multitude of small technological improvements - better sailing vessels, better guns, better devices of all sorts - Charis faced the combined navies of the rest of the world at Darcos Sound and Armageddon Reef, and broke them. Despite the implacable hostility of the Church of God Awaiting, Charis still stands, still free, still tolerant, still an island of innovation in a world in which the Church has worked for centuries to keep humanity locked at a medieval level of existence.
But the powerful men who run the Church aren't going to take their defeat lying down. Charis may control the world's seas, but it barely has an army worthy of the name. And as King Cayleb knows, far too much of the kingdom's recent good fortune is due to the secret manipulations of the being that calls himself Merlin - a being that, the world must not find out too soon, is more than human. A being whose very existence is the result of a centuries-ago final desperate roll of the dice. A being on whose shoulders rests the last chance for humanity's freedom.
Now, as Charis and its archbishop make the rift with Mother Church explicit, the storm gathers. Schism has come to the world of Safehold. Nothing will ever be the same.
Listen to more in the Safehold series.
©2008 David Weber; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio
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It is odd to read reviewers of this Weber opus to find those who decry the slow deliberate political intracacy. This is the entire point of the work. Draw whatever parallels you may with interaction of religion and politics in our current world - they exist as intended by the author. This series isn't some mindless actioner although there is enough action to keep it moving and interesting. The thought processes of the characters are explored in depth as they wrestle with the political and religious realities of their time and place.
This is a fascinating world that is much like our own and the questions involving religion and politics are what makes it great. This is wonderful for the thought it provoked and I expect the continuing saga to be as involved and detailed as the first two installments. I see no need to hurry while I enjoy every minute with these characters and their minds.
"Great Character's...Great World...No Story"
Only David Weber story in my collection that doesn't have 5 stars (and I have them all). I love his writing and thoroughly enjoy the world that he has created in Safehold. Unfortunately, I agree with everyone else that this book didn't exactly progress very much (at least from an action stand point).
There is plenty of character development in this book but it is all political. I can see why some of the reviews were a little poor as a result. It lacks on the intense battles that are generally a staple of Weber. I still enjoyed the book and I can't wait for the next one. This felt a little like a set up book...
"Enjoyable, but missing an opportunity..."
A good read/listen but a little bit of a letdown from the previous book in the series, tending towards more of a soap opera than a sweeping saga. Don't get me wrong, it was enjoyable, I just feel that the overall concept/idea was not really furthered. To achieve his/her aim, the main character may have to endeavor for thousands of years, and this book covers just a couple - I kept thinking where is this going!
"Aimless and Didactic"
I love David Weber. Let me say that again, I LOVE David Weber. I latched onto his Honor Harrington series and devoured it in record time. I even enjoyed his non-SF series, with only a few exceptions.
"By Schism..." is not his best book.
The first problem is that it's a middle book in a long series. That wouldn't normally be a problem, but Weber makes it one. The book doesn't have a well-defined story arc. In other words, you really don't have any idea where it's going. What's the climactic goal of THIS story? Where's the dramatic tension?
The more subtle problem is the book's didactic narrative. This is NOT an action thriller. It's more talky and long-winded than the first in the series.
The last problem is a byproduct of Weber's success, I think. "By Schism..." DESPERATELY needed a strong editor. It's a tedious listen, and I often found my thoughts wandering as I listened. Why? The narrative is full of fluff, and plenty of wordy baggage. A good editor would have cut and tightened, and pointed out the need for dramatic tension on the way to a climactic ending.
I compared it to other long series before I came to this conclusion. Take Rowling's Harry Potter series, where the series itself has an overarching story, but each book ALSO has a well-defined story arc. Or David Eddings's Belgariad, where each book has a beginning, middle, and end, which all fit into the overall story. "By Schism..." is missing this arc. It still fits in the overall story, but it's a muddled mess as a story by itself.
My last complaint is about Weber's villains. They're... flat. (For comparison, a near-perfect villain is Hans Gruber from the first "Die Hard" movie.) Weber's villains make absurd choices, without any realistic thought about the repercussions.
I really wish I could give this more than two stars. It isn't BAD, per se, but it's not good, either.
Final word: a lackluster book by a fantastic author.
"A weak second book"
Off Armageddon Reef was an excellent first book, even though there were the usual Weber moments. But in this second book in the series, those Weber moments drag on to Weber hours, and the overall preachy-ness is much more pronounced. Of course, I did continue to listen to it, and I went right ahead and bought #3 in the series. Which I will, undoubtedly read and grumble about until I finish and buy #4, etc. Weber seems to have the knack of getting me to keep coming back for more, even as I complain about his interminable digressions. This book is read, and read competently, by Oliver Wyman. Nothing special, but perfectly acceptable. He seems to handle the annoying phonetic names well enough, which is good. Character development seems to be OK, though the villains are pretty one-dimensional and without redeeming virtue with one or two exceptions. I did like the turning of an apparent villain into one of the good guys - it was well done and believable.
I enjoyed Off "Armageddon Reef" and was looking forward to the follow up volume. But "By Schism Rent Asunder" had nothing new to offer. First, the plot barely moved forward. In fact, skipping this book can't possibly detract from enjoying the next volume. But a bigger problem is the preachy text. I enjoy philosophizing, this was too simplistic, and offers nothing new over the first volume. Save your credits and read David Weber's Prince Roger series or Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series instead. If you are looking for something good in a different style, read Shantaram, almost anything by Lois McMaster Bujold, or Altered Carbon.
"Great Book and Very long"
Great characters that you want to find more about
many unexpexted twists and turns and it made me laugh out loud
yes, he is a very good narator, sometimes it is difficult to seperate voices
it made me laugh a couple of times
"A Bit slower than 1st one"
I don't think I will continue the series as I see that Oliver Wyman isn't narrating the rest of the series and book five has a different narrator than 3 and 4. Wyman is the only reason I gave 4 stars.
"Nothing signifigant, only waiting"
This book is similar to The Matrix 2 in that it seems to just be a filler. Nothing changes that much, no real climax, just the usual casual progression in the usual over-explanatory manner. He just loves to explain how clever he is, doesn't he.
If book 3 is out and you're on a budget, you can skip this one.
"Tedious and Long Winded"
This first book had a great setup with the philosophical, ethical, and theological questions of how the world began.
This book is tediously long winded about political maneuverings. By the way, NOTHING happens that couldn't have been summed up in 10 pages.
"really, really wonderful"
Its been years, decades, since I read such a good series as David Webers Safehold Saga. This, the second book in the series has been fantastic from beginning to end.
The Author has a long history of excellent Naval fiction and science fiction, and I think that with this series he has bested all his previous work.
The premise has mankind starting over again on a new planet, not knowing its true history, and just one person, in the form of an almost immortal human like robot housing the mind of a young Naval officer from 'Old Earth' with a secret cache of highly advanced technology, trying to get humanity back on track before the enemy who wiped out old earth comes for them.
Only there's a catch, in this new world, no-one remembers this enemy, or Earth, or anything before the day their ancestors stepped off the colony ships, and technology of any kind is viewed as evil, so she has to act in secret.
The series has a definite Naval edge to it, in fact it would be fair to say that the development of a Navy similar to that of England in the 17 and 18th century is a focal point for this book. Don't let that put you off though, this story is used as a backdrop to the development and interaction of a great many believable and interesting characters.
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