Growing up, Travis Uriah Long yearned for order and discipline in his life . . . the two things his neglectful mother couldn't or wouldn't provide. So when Travis enlisted in the Royal Manticoran Navy, he thought he'd finally found the structure he'd always wanted so desperately.
But life in the RMN isn't exactly what he expected. Boot camp is rough and frustrating; his first ship assignment lax and disorderly; and with the Star Kingdom of Manticore still recovering from a devastating plague, the Navy is possibly on the edge of extinction.
The Star Kingdom is a minor nation among the worlds of the Diaspora, its closest neighbors weeks or months away, with little in the way of resources. With only modest interstellar trade, no foreign contacts to speak of, a plague-ravaged economy to rebuild, and no enemies looming at the hyper limit, there are factions in Parliament who want nothing more than to scrap the Navy and shift its resources and manpower elsewhere.
But those factions are mistaken. The universe is not a safe place.
Travis Long is about to find that out.
There are a few writers who I will read without fail when they release a new book and David Weber is one of them. A Call to Duty, co-written with the legendary Timothy Zahn, was a nice departure, taking his Honorverse universe back in time slightly to the early years of Manticore and showing a Royal Navy dealing with very different problems – a lack of enemies means that internal pressures are about to see the RMN fold completely, left with only a small number of ships to protect its borders.
As usual, A Call to Duty has a large cast of characters, but the main storyline centers around Travis Long, a young enlisted whose out of the box thinking brings him both opportunities and major problems. Your reaction to A Call to Duty is likely to depend entirely on how you feel about the rest of Weber’s work – the book has the same long descriptions of hardware, political intrigue, space battles and lack of aliens. I for one love the universe Weber has created and Long is a worthy successor (predecessor ?) of Honor Harrington. The ending has all of the trademark action and tension as one expects from David Weber and sets things up nicely for the sequel whenever that may be.
I gave A Call to Duty 4 stars.