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Safehold Series

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The Safehold Series is an open-end series of science fiction novels written by author David Weber.

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06 - Midst Toil And Tribulation
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Setting Edit

The main setting of the series is the world of Safehold, a planet slightly smaller than Earth orbiting a sun many light years away from the Sol System and the late Terran Federation. After the rest of humanity has been annihilated by a mysterious and ruthless alien species known as the Gbaba, Safehold was populated with the last eight million human survivors.

However, in order to keep this last colony from attracting the Gbaba's attention with emissions of any kind, the administrators of the colonization project Operation Ark had the memory of the Safeholdians altered. When they awakened on the surface for the first time, these "Adams and Eves" believed a God to have created them on Safehold, to live according to the teachings of the archangels – demigod identities assumed by the control staff under Administrator Eric Langhorne.

Another group of administrators, however, opposed the "Archangel Langhorne" and his followers, believing that it was vital to keep humanity's knowledge of technology, of its own history, and – most importantly – the memory of the Gbaba threat alive. In order to keep this group from interfearing with their plans, the "archangels" destroyed the "techies"' compound with an orbital bombardment, only to be destroyed themselves by the vengeful husband of the "techie" leader, Commodore Pei Kau-yung, a short time later.

Nearly a millenium went by (the action takes place just before the "year of God" 900) until Nimue Alban, a young female Federation Navy officer who died in battle against the Gbaba, awakes in the body of her PICA, an android with a backup of her personality and memories. Learning of what happened to her friend Pei and his wife, and how Langhorne corrupted the purpose of Operation Ark, she assumes the identity of the sage Merlin Athrawes to restore humanity to its former glory. Her purpose takes her to the Kingdom of Charis, whose social and technical evolution she begins to influence – a development that soon draws the attention of the powerful upholders of the archangels' teachings, the Church of God Awaiting.

Concept Edit

Weber says he wanted to create a series in which high technology fused with "the feel of a 'last defender of elfland', but without the urban fantasy matrix"; the cybernetic protagonist who is unsure of his own humanity "grew naturally for me out of that initial basic premise."

Weber explains that like many of his novels, the meat of the novel grew from questions such as "What set of circumstances could create a situation in which my PICA hero (Personality Integrated Cybernetic Avatar) came into existence? And given those circumstances, and the personality of Nimue Alban, how was "Merlin" going to react?"

As Weber puts it, "The lead character, Nimue, is a brilliant tactical officer, only about 27 years old at the time of her biological death, and has never known a time when humanity wasn’t fighting a losing battle for its very existence." She awakens, in the body of an android, 800 years after her death, into a world which has retreated nearly completely into tyranny and ignorance. Even with magnificent technological resources, how in the world is she going to make things better?

In the summer of 2009, Weber stated that he expects the series to comprise at least eight novels.

Links to other works Edit

The concept of the technologically superior Gbaba aliens, determined to exterminate all life forms that could be a threat to them, resembles the Achuultani aliens from Weber's earlier novel Mutineers' Moon, the first novel in his Empire From the Ashes trilogy. Furthermore, the third novel in that trilogy, Heirs of Empire, contains a plot where a small group of people with high technology use their knowledge of military weapons and tactics to assist a group of humans living on a world of low technology. This resembles how on the planet Safehold the character Merlin assists the Charisians in their struggle with the Church and its allies.

References Edit

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