David Weber is author of the New York Times best-selling Honor Harrington novels, as well as a mind-boggling array of other books. On top of that, he’s a really nice guy who took the time to share a glimpse into his universe.
SciFiBookshelf.com: Torch of Freedom is the fourteenth book in the Honor Harrington series. For someone who hasn’t picked up one of your books yet (hard to imagine, I know) would this be a good place to jump on board? Or should a curious reader start with an earlier book?
David Weber: For the honor Harrington series, I think you almost have to begin with Basilisk Station if you want the full experience of the series. Torch would definitely not be a good place to begin; there are way too many threads already in play by that point. I think someone could probably pick the book up and enjoy it even without that background, but they wouldn’t understand a lot of what was going on. I think that any of the first four or five books in the series — up through, say, Honor Among Enemies — would make a pretty satisfying standalone read, and would offer enough of the back story to keep the reader from missing everything that’s going on. Beyond that point, it starts to get more complicated. If you can get hold of one of the CDs Baen has bound into hardcovers in the series, you’ll have the earlier books available in electronic format, along with a lot of other material, but you’ll still do better starting actually reading the series at the beginning. And it is my intention for there never to be an Honor Harrington novel set earlier than Basilisk Station. That’s a deliberate decision on my part, and I’ve been using shorter fiction in the anthologies to fill in some of those gaps. So it probably wouldn’t hurt to look at some of them — especially “Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington” — to get a feel for how Honor became who she is by the time of Basilisk.
If you’re asking about where someone might begin with my books in general, rather than specifically with the Honorverse, I’d probably recommend In Fury Born. I’m rather partial to the Bahzell books, as well, of course, but I think Fury is still probably the best “David Weber introductory” book I’ve done.
David Weber’s web site:
Stay tuned for more insights from the irrepressible David Weber!