I read this book about 18-Oct-2012. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2010. This note was last modified Saturday, 16-Apr-2016 20:03:02 PDT.
This is book 4 of the "Safehold" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Fourth "Safehold" book.
Safehold is a weird setup with very unpleasant people. This book brings some of them to the fore. We get to the point of the Group of Four (Vicars, who really run the church) declaring holy war on Charis (now the Empire of Charis). And executing thirty other vicars and their families in the manner prescribed, according to the Inquisition, for the worst crimes, which makes being hung, drawn, and quartered look like a day at the ball-park.
In fact, there is starting to be significant actual locally-created opposition to the church (not just the bits that "Merlin", the 900-year-old PICA, is stirring up). It's still going to be a bit of a shock when they discover that their entire church is a lie, though Weber seems to be setting the foundation for the final solution being that people who want "god" can go back to the sources plagiarized to create the church they grew up with.
It's a very slow book, which pays off with a naval battle (and the first use of exploding shells in combat there) that Charis wins, though they have to take severe risks to do so. The church navy is starting to have some semi-competent commanders, which is a problem given that it's also hugely larger. But that naval battle is strangely truncated, and the end is summarized from a distance. So, all in all, this series has reached its "it'd damned well better pick up again" place. Then again, for Weber, maybe book four counts as the beginning of the dreaded "middle".
Any series that's all about destroying a false religion gets my vote, of course, but I'd like it destroyed a little faster, please.