How Firm a Foundation : Safehold

  • by David Weber
  • Narrated by Charles Keating
  • Series: Safehold
  • 28 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Charisian Empire, born in war, has always known it must fight for its very survival. What most of its subjects don’t know even now, however, is how much more it’s fighting for. Emperor Cayleb, Empress Sharleyan, Merlin Athrawes, and their innermost circle of most trusted advisers do know. And because they do, they know the penalty if they lose will be far worse than their own deaths and the destruction of all they know and love.
For five years, Charis has survived all the Church of God Awaiting and the corrupt men who control it have thrown at the island empire. The price has been high and paid in blood. Despite its chain of hard-fought naval victories, Charis is still on the defensive. It can hold its own at sea, but if it is to survive, it must defeat the Church upon its own ground. Yet how does it invade the mainland and take the war to a foe whose population outnumbers its own 15 to one? How does it prevent that massive opponent from rebuilding its fleets and attacking yet again?
Charis has no answer to those questions, but needs to find one… quickly. The Inquisition’s brutal torture and hideous executions are claiming more and more innocent lives. Its agents are fomenting rebellion against the only mainland realms sympathetic to Charis. Religious terrorists have been dispatched to wreak havoc against the Empire’s subjects. Assassins stalk the Emperor and Empress, their allies and advisers, and an innocent young boy, not yet 11 years old, whose father has already been murdered. And Merlin Athrawes, the cybernetic avatar of a young woman a thousand years dead, has finally learned what sleeps beneath the far-off Temple in the Church of God Awaiting’s city of Zion.
The men and women fighting for human freedom and tolerance have built a foundation for their struggle in the Empire of Charis with their own blood, but will that foundation be firm enough to survive?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Annoying Performance

I am so very disappointed with Mr. Keating's reading that I am probably going to discontinue listening and spend an additional 15 bucks for a copy from Amazon.

Mr. Keating's name and place pronunciations really annoy me after having listened to the other 4 books in the series. Both Mr. Culp and Mr. Wyman give far superior performances. Mr. Keating may be a fine narrator (I???ve not heard any of his other performances) but he was absolutely the wrong choice to bring in at this time.
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- William

Weber delivers despite weak narration

Book: How Firm a Foundation follows in Weber's tradition of detailed scenes and completeness of back-story. That makes for some very exhaustive descriptions, which can understandably cause some readers/listeners eyes to glaze over a bit. For myself, that richness of detail and insight to the thoughts and minds of the characters is a signature of Weber's writing; Safehold would not be the same without it. That being said, this is also a middle book in a series, and if realism demands a bit of 'hurry-up and wait', just as real life does, this book has more of the waiting.

Production: When I heard to first words of the book read, I was wary of the new narrator, for good reason. With every reintroduction of a character from the previous books I am wracking my brain for alternative pronunciations to make the connection. None of the blame is to be laid at Keating's feet however; it is the responsibility of the producer to check pronunciation for consistency and correctness, not the performer. The producer continues to fall down on the job as Keating varies his pronunciations of names and places throughout the performance. While I do enjoy listening to Keating read, I believe he would be more well received in this series as a co-narrator, as he does not impart a unique voice to each of the large cast of characters, nor does he do justice to the depth of emotions expressed by those characters.

Overall: I have enjoyed another tale of Safehold, but have been sorely disappointed in the production company: to change narrators, a second time; their choice of narrators for this production; the lack of attention to consistency throughout both the series and this installment.
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- Lowe

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-13-2011
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio