To Honor You Call Us : Man of War

  • by H. Paul Honsinger
  • Narrated by Ray Chase
  • Series: Man of War
  • 13 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Terran Union is engaged in a vast interstellar war against the Krag Ruthless aliens intent on exterminating humankind. In 2315, the wily Max Robichaux is given command of the USS Cumberland, a destroyer with state-of-the-art capabilities but a combat record so bad, she’s known as the “Cumberland Gap.” Capt. Robichaux’s first mission: to take his warship to the Free Corridor, where the Krag have secretly been buying strategic materials, and to seize or destroy any ships carrying enemy cargo. Far from the fleet and under enforced radio silence, Max relies only on his determination and guile…and the support and friendship of his chief medical officer, the brilliant Dr. Sahin. Because even as he deals with the ship’s onboard problems and the stress of carrying out her risky assignment, Max and the doctor discover that the Cumberland and her misfit crew are all that stands in the way of a deadly Krag attack that threatens to end the war - and humanity - once and for all. A far-future story in the tradition of “ships of wood, men of iron” novels, To Honor You Call Us and the Man of War series combine the adventure of exploration, the excitement of war, and the dangers of the unknown through the eyes of a ship and her crew.

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Customer Reviews

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Didn't Engage Me

I love a good old fashioned military sci fi but it's the space opera subgenre that I truly enjoy. This book by Paul Honsinger, previously self published, is now getting a glossy release with a great cover.

Although the book is decently written, I have to admit I did not find myself engaged by the characters. Dialogue seems to always be presented, rather than spoken, and it ended up making the characters feel either pompous or smug. I listened to the Audible version as well as reading the print and I can't pinpoint whether it was the narrator's way of tapering off sentences to an emotional low or simply stilted dialogue. But in the end, I just didn't believe any of the characters are real people. Robichaux was a bit too perfect - always coming up with the perfect solutions to any situation, alien or otherwise. I believe the author wanted to present a flawed character forged through a crucible of horrific experiences. But I'd have to have seen, rather than be constantly told in speech after speech, of that pathos. And therein was a lot of the problem for me - we get a lot of tell but very little show as to the nature of the characters. Even the narrator was having trouble making the dialogue sound believable.

Plot: Captain Robichaux lost his first command in a horrific way and now finds himself captaining a grossly mismanaged ship with serious issues. He will have to pull it together as an alien species is bent on human genocide. For it will turn out that their ship may be all that stands between the aliens and Earth.

Robichaux, we're told, is suitably flawed - suffering from PTSD, having to overcome the obstacles of his new captaincy, and with only his ship's doctor for a friend. Those who have read Patrick O'Brien's Age of Sail series will recognize these archetype characters immediately (or, at least, Star Trek interaction between Kirk and Bones). Most of the book is Robichaux fixing the issues with his new crew. As such, there's not much action until near the end: just events, speeches, crew mutiny, speeches, drug problems, speeches, introspection, speeches....and more speeches. I felt like every sentence someone spoke had to end with an exclamation mark.

There are no women whatsoever - we are told the aliens created a virus that wiped them out. Even at social functions, there are no women nor do any of the men really think of loved ones/parents/etc. I can't think that leaving part of the human race at home because of gender when there is a war to annihilate your species is going on is the smartest move - if you lose, the women bite it anyway. But it is thematic with the Master and Commander feel of the book, harkening to the days when women were considered bad luck on a ship.

One thing that really did bother me were the countless references to late 20th century space/sci fi - I think Grissom was mentioned, what, 5 times? Star Trek 7 or 8, and a lot of the terms derived from pop culture. That felt odd considering the space/sci fi of the first part of the century not really being noted - from Verne to Buck Rogers. Clearly, the author is a child of the 60s and 70s but the character Robichaux isn't - and why would any of his crew get those random historical references? It would be sort of like referencing generals of the Crimean war if you lived in the 1920s. As well, there would be many many more cultural icons to draw from in the coming several centuries before this story takes place - but no reference to anything else except 60s and 70s NASA/Sci Fi. This may seem nitpicky but it kept pulling me out of the story and was starting to feel far too gratuitous and wink wink.

Military sci fi authors each bring something special to the table for their successful series. CJ Cherryh and her psychology, Campbell's Lost Fleet and likeable characters, even another formerly self published but now published author Currie and his down to Earth motley assortment of simple folk. What I feel Honsinger brings is a more formal, stilted, old fashioned type of navy at sea a la Nelson and Hornblower. So if you like characters that don't speak, but instead Project with a capitol "P", then this likely will be a series you'll enjoy. But for me, it just didn't engage me and I just didn't like or get behind any single character in the book. I didn't dislike them - I just found them annoying and somewhat pompous.

At this point, I'm not sure if I want to continue with the series. Reading the writer's haranguing of reviewers who didn't highly rate the book here in the Amazon review comments sections was disappointing and quite off putting (personal attacks, "if you don't like it, go write your own novel!", "this person is a shill working for another sci fi author trying to discredit me!"). It's just not something that makes me want to support the book with sales or even recommend.
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- Joki

Good Military Sci-Fi

It’s 200 years in the future and an alien race wants to exterminate all humans. If the Earth-based military forces do not defeat the enemy, all will be lost. In an effort to disrupt the alien’s capability to wage war, a space ship is sent on a dangerous mission to destroy supply lines. But, instead of selecting one of their best, the military has chosen a ship deemed unimportant and, if lost, of little consequence.

Like so many military sci-fi books, humans have angered another race and must battle a foe that has superior forces and technology. Unlike other books, this one is focused on shipboard life and the challenges faced by a crew at war. Reminded me of the movie “Master and Commander – the Far Side of the World” staring Russell Crowe.
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- Connor "Enjoy the adventure"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-18-2014
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio