To Honor You Call Us by H. Paul Honsinger
The term “military science fiction” has, at times, been misused. The military part of the science fiction gets lost, and in essence you have something that loosely approximates combat in the future. To Honor You Call Us, book one of H. Paul Honsinger’s MAN OF WAR series, is not cut from that cloth and it was almost shockingly good.
Max Robichaux is a young Union Space Navy Lieutenant with a history. He’s made mistakes in the past, both in terms of his military career and some extracurricular activities. The great thing about Max is that he is not afraid to fight and take chances. The bad thing about Max is that he is willing to take chances.
The human race is engaged in a war with an alien species known as the Krag, a zealot race determined to exterminate us because of an insult to their faith. The war has raged for many years and the casualties for the Union Space Fleet have been catastrophic. With our back to the wall, we are fighting to hold onto the star systems we have because the Krag form of conquest is basically genocide.
After repelling a boarding attempt by the Krag and destroying the enemy ship, LT Robichaux is rewarded with something he has always wanted: command of his own ship. Promotion to Lieutenant Commander and assignment as the Captain of the Cumberland is a huge opportunity for Max to make a new name for himself and change his future.
The Cumberland is a troubled ship. The previous Commander and Executive Officer were relieved for cause, but the lingering effects of their toxic command environment are far from abated. Max has been given some very special warning as part of his new assignment and has had new officers assigned with him who are spectacular, if a bit quirky. The challenge of transitioning the Cumberland from soulless show pony to motivated combat vessel is going to be hard in addition to the mission Max has been assigned.
The Krag are short of certain strategic elements and have been circumventing certain embargoes to buy them from the free trading planets of the galaxy. The Cumberland’s mission, for which they are well suited, is to interdict enemy shipments and basically scramble their supply lines. It’s a rough mission and they will be operating far from the safety of Union systems, but they chances for achieving greatness are immense.
To Honor You Call Us is the most interesting military science fiction I have read in a long, long time. The author has done a ton of research into military tradition and he does a great job of using the real traits of military life to extrapolate a future that seems very tangible. The personnel issues, training issues and tactical issues within the story are all well orchestrated to deliver an interesting tale. I am getting ready to buy the next book ASAP.
One of my reading resolutions is more military SF. This looks like a good one to start with!
I am so glad you’re reviewing these kinds of books, John. We need these reviewed, and you’re the most qualified. I trust your opinions about them.