View Full Version : Book Review: Path of the Fury

15th August 2002, 06:25 PM
Path of the Fury is written by David Webber.

This book is somewhere between science fiction and fantasy.

Path of the Fury was written originally in 1992, which makes it one of David Webers earlier books. I have to confess that most people don't seem to have heard of David Weber in the science fiction arena, and I attribute this in part to the publishers. I have personally had great trouble finding those books he has written, of all the book shops I frequent (Ottakers, WHSmiths, Hammicks, and Waterstones) only Waterstones stock them (and then only briefly - if you miss the 4 week window they stock the books after they are first released, you won't see them again unless you order them!). Anyway, my copy of Path of the Fury is a 4th Printing, released in 1998. In addition to Path of the Fury, David Weber has also written (and is still writing) the Honor Harrington series (sci-fi), as well as Mutineers Moon, The Armageddon Inheritance, Heirs of Empire (a trilogy, and actually the first 3 novels written by David Webber, also sci-fi), Oath of Swords and the War Gods Own (the first 2 books in a fantasy series), as well as several collaberations with Steve White (also Sci-Fi). So not only has he written alot of books, he's currently busy writing a whole load more. To put this in perspective, the Honor Harrington series has currently 10 books in it, and by the authors own admission he is barely halfway through the story arc, and in addition he also planning to write another 8 or 10 books based in the same universe as a seperate series - this allows for one of the most detailed new science fiction universes I have seen for a very long time.

Anyway, onto the background. Before you get all worried about this being part of a series, let me reassure you that it isn't - Path of the Fury is (I think) the only book David Weber has written that is not part of a series (hence I am reviewing it first). The story is set in a universe of the future, where mankind has spread out into a vast stellar Empire. This empire evolved out of the collapse of the former Terren Republic (which broke down in civil war, and then was partially conquered by an alien race called the Rishathen). Anyway, the story starts on the frontier world of Mathisons world, home of ex-drop commando Alicia DeVries and her family. Unfortunately this world has just been raided by pirates, who seem to be intent of killing every possible witness to their theft. Regretably for them, drop commandos are somewhat harder than your average person, and Alicia manages to kill all the drop team sent to her farm, albiet being mortally wounded in the process. Lying there in the snow, she is offered a choice by an entity that should not exist - die in peace, or live solely for revenge.

The main character in the book is of course Alicia DeVries (and her partners in crime). In addition to Alicia, there are several other characters used. Sir Arthur Kieta, commander of the Imperial Cadre who is drafted in to find out why the pirates are raiding in such a brutal manner. Major Tannis Cateau, Alicias former squad medic, who is assigned to determine if Alicia is in fact insane. Inspector Ferhat Ben Belkassem, an Inspector from the Ministry of Justice, brought in to try and help locate the pirates, and again find out what they want. There are also a surprising number of lesser characters used to build perspectives from all sides of the conflict.

The story is told from multiple perspectives in a linear manner, and builds up a remarkably detailed view of this universe of the future. The use of perspectives is well done, and helps actually build suspense as the story develops.

So then, is this book a good read? Well I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others. The story is well told, and the plot moves along nicely, with some subtle touches of humour helping the storyline. The premise for the story has been criticised somewhat for being a little far fetched, and not proper science fiction, but to be honest I didn't notice as I got wrapped up in the story. This book may look like pulp sci-fi (and if I may confess, I only bought it at first because I thought it WAS pulp sci-fi), but it is actually rather better than it appears. David Weber is undoubtedly one of the better technical writers of recent years (although not quite to the level of say Peter Hamilton in character development or sheer scale), and I look forward to reading many more books by him. Of all his books, I have to say I like this book the most, followed by On Basilisk Station, and Insurrection.


16th August 2002, 11:20 AM
Good review, I've read two of the Honor Harrington books (5,6). I started at 5 because I needed something to read at the time. I tend to shy away from long series, Weber is up to book 10 now.:eek: But from what I read in 5,6 I could read this series if I had all the books.