I read this book about 20-Mar-2014. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2013. This note was last modified Saturday, 16-Apr-2016 20:14:29 PDT.
This is book 5 of the "Honorverse" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
We're out in the Talbot sector, with Admiral Gold Peak's forces.
I'm reminded that, while Manticore is a "Star Empire", everybody we've seen join them since the series started (i.e. not Sphinx and Gryphon) has joined voluntarily. That makes them a lot more like the United States or some hypothetical future Federated Europe than like an empire, to my mind.
Of course, the issues with a monarchy remain; but this system was set up from the beginning as a constitutional monarchy, and some of those on Earth have decent human rights records (Elizabeth does have considerably more power on Manticore than the other Elizabeth does in England).
This is kind of fun. Mesa operatives are running around giving various Verge planets the false impression Manticore is supporting them. Manticore (or their field forces) gets word of it and decides to support them. The operative makes up a lie about Gold Peak's plans that's exactly what she's really planning, and gives the patsies a made-up codeword. But, in the book sequence anyway, she's already aware this is going on. This takes the story up to the point where Gold Peak is about to hit Mesa, looks like.