Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 49

The next snippet will be a new chapter and the final snippet.


Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 49

He grimaced and shook his head with a chuckle.

“If I’d known about the inner circle then, I might’ve thought about coming up with another design, but the truth is, the ones based on the Writ are about as good a fit to allowable technology as anything Owl could’ve come up with. And at least that way I didn’t have to worry about getting anything past Paitryk. The old Paitryk, I mean.”

He shrugged.

“Anyway, because of the lock size we chose, our barges are a hundred and forty feet long and forty-five feet in the beam with a draft of about six and a half feet and around fifteen or sixteen feet depth of hold, which lets them carry a hell of a lot more than your typical mainland boat. Within limits, of course. They’re basically just big, square boxes with round ends, when you come down to it We did slightly redesign the sterns for the powered barges, but not enough to change their volume so anyone would notice, so each of them can carry about ninety-five thousand cubic feet of cargo. That comes to around twenty-three hundred tons of coal per barge, which we figured was pretty much the ceiling for animal-drawn loads, even with tow roads as wide as the ones we used. Takes a four-dragon team to move the unpowered ones, and it also just about doubles their draft to twelve feet, which is as deep as you want to go in even one of our canals. The steam-powered boats are a little less than that because of the weight the engine and boilers and the fuel take up, but still . . . .”

His pen stopped scratching and he looked down at his notes.

“All right, here’re the fast-and-dirty numbers. A cubic inch of armor steel weighs about a quarter of a pound. Figuring three-inch side armor over a length of a hundred and forty feet and a height of ten feet — we might need a little less height than that; that’s the freeboard unladed, and by the time you put armor and guns aboard — oh, and you’d need to throw in a gundeck to mount the damned things on, too, you know — you’re bound to deepen the draft a little, so –”

He cut himself off with another grimace.

“Sorry. The point is that you’d need about one-point-six million cubic inches to armor the sides and ends of a box that size. Call it four hundred thousand pounds or around two hundred tons.”

“But that’s only the sides and ends,” Merlin pointed out. “You’d need to armor the top, too. They’re bound to take plunging fire from a river bluff somewhere. For that matter, we know Thirsk is already starting to produce his own version of Alfryd’s ‘angle guns.'”

“You don’t want much, do you?” Howsmyn demanded sarcastically. “You do realize we can’t armor the top as thickly as the sides, right? The roof of the box is going to be about twice the area of its sides. That’d be a lot of weight, especially that high up in the ship, where it’s not going to do stability any favors.”

“The roof would be more likely to take glancing hits or hits from fairly light shells,” Merlin countered. “What if you dropped it to, say, one-inch thickness?”

“Great,” Howsmyn grumbled, and started scribbling again. A short while later he sat back with a grunt.

“I’m assuming no taper in the casemate sides or ends here, which is probably wrong. I’m sure we’d want to slope at least the sides for a better ballistic coefficient and to improve stability, which should narrow the ‘roof’ quite a lot, but at this point I’d rather overestimate than underestimate. At any rate, using those numbers I come up with around a bit over another hundred and thirteen tons. Call it three hundred and fourteen for the entire armor weight, just to be on the safe side. And, of course, none of that allows for cutting out gunports. That would reduce the total armor requirement at least some . . . although I suppose you’d want shutters for the gunports?”

“I don’t know,” Merlin said in a thoughtful tone. “Probably. But, you know, the numbers are actually better than I thought they’d be. If you have fifteen hundred tons of three-inch armor already fabricated, you could armor four of them, couldn’t you? Maybe even five, if you’re right about the taper reducing the width of the casemate roof.”

“Except that none of that one-inch armor exists yet, of course,” Howsmyn observed in a pleasant but pointed tone, and Merlin chuckled.

“True, but I bet you could produce another four or five hundred tons of armor that thin pretty quickly, couldn’t you?”

“Faster than three-inch, anyway,” Howsmyn agreed. “The quenching process wouldn’t take as long, for one thing. I don’t know how much time we’d save total, but you could probably figure we’d be able to turn it out in — oh, I don’t know. A month if we made it a category one priority? Something like that, anyway.”

“And how long would it take you to haul four of your barges out of the water and armor them?”

“Probably about a month . . . .” Howsmyn said slowly.

“Then I think this might be very worth considering,” Merlin said in a serious tone. “Especially given how critical water transport and river lines are going to be in Siddarmark.”

“Maybe. But they’re going to be pushing the limit on any mainland canal, Merlin. They can probably — probably — get through most of the newer ones, but they sure as hell won’t get through all of them. And they were never designed for open water,” Howsmyn protested.

“With that low a freeboard, they’d be useless in a seaway,” Merlin agreed. “But we’re talking about brown water, not blue. Ten feet would be plenty for inland work — or in most harbors, for that matter.”

“Sure, but first you have to get them to the mainland in the first place.” Howsmyn shook his head. “I’m not the sailor you or Cayleb are, but it occurs to me that something that small and shallow draft would be a pain in the arse under typical ocean conditions!”

“Worse as a sail boat than a steamer,” Merlin replied. “And there are ways we could work around a lot of the problems. Garboards or leeboards to give the hulls more effective depth, for example, like we used on the landing craft we took to Corisande and the ones Dustyn is running up for Siddarmark. As for size, they’re not that much shorter or narrower than most war galleons. They are smaller, and they’re a lot shallower draft, with only about half as much freeboard, which means the hulls are nowhere nearly as deep, so they’ve got a lower displacement. But, again, that’s not a big problem for a steamer with leeboards. And since they were designed originally to carry coal, I’m pretty sure we could load them up with enough fuel for the voyage, especially if we wait to mount the guns till we get them to Siddarmark and only put a passage crew aboard them for the trip itself. And they’re good for — what? Twelve knots?”

“A little better than that, actually,” Howsmyn said. “In fact, the operational boats are ridiculously overpowered for canal work — they were propulsion experiments, and we’ve had them up to over fourteen knots on the lake. The ones we’re building now’ll have a maximum speed of no more than ten knots. Even the operational ones probably wouldn’t be able to make that kind of speed at sea, though. Not more than twelve or thirteen, tops, I’d think.”

“Even twelve would let them make the trip to Siddar City in only about six or seven five-days, though. Still a lot better than a galleon can do. Especially since they wouldn’t have to worry about calms or beating to windward.”

“True,” Howsmyn agreed. He sat rubbing his chin thoughtfully for several seconds, then sighed.

“All right. Much as I hate to do this, knowing what will happen if I do, I have to concede it’s at least theoretically possible. So should I go ahead and start shredding my production schedules right now, or shall we wait and pretend you actually intend to leave the decision up to Cayleb and Sharleyan?”

“What a perfectly dreadful thing to say!” Merlin told him austerely. “I am deeply affronted by the very suggestion. Now that you and I have discussed the feasibility, I will, of course, present the possibility to the two of them. It would be most unbecoming for us to presume to reorder their established priorities without their having had due time to consider all of the pros and cons of the suggestion.”

“But I should go ahead and start planning for it right now, right?” Howsmyn asked with a grin.

“Well, of course you should. Good manners are good manners, but we can’t let them get in the way of efficiency, now can we?”


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53 Responses to Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 49

  1. Spktyr says:

    *Some* ironclad *now* is much preferable to a perfect ironclad later. :D

  2. MCT says:


    So yeah, they are planning to deploy riverclad, I’m surprise they’re almost as long as a war galleon even though it’s smaller.

  3. Peter S says:

    I forsee a b*tch of a time getting those things across the sea to Siddarmark. Any bets on whether one of the four sinks before it gets there?

    • MCT says:

      I think none will sink, since they’re already considering on how to add “Garboards and Leeboards” to stabilize the barges, I think they will probably be travelling in a convoy, I doubt it’s cohorts will just watch one of their own sink and do nothing.

      I still can’t quite picture a ship sinking unless it hits a major storm and overturn the ship.

    • Nimitz13 says:

      No, the ironclad riverboats won’t sink. IIRC from the Weber Forums, the MWW pointed out that the biggest danger to an ironclad in blue water was the height of its smokestack, and that’s how the single example we have of one sinking came about. I don’t recall the names, but ironclads were towed (or steamed) across the Atlantic a couple of times.

      I’m no expert on ships and my nautical expertise ends at “port” and “starboard” (Bleek!) but as Merlin has pointed out, adding some stabilizers that sink well below the existing waterline on each side would give the ironclads an effective draw/draft? considerably greater than they have now. Howsmyn will cobble up something that can be removed once they arrive in Siddarmark.

      Keep in mind you can COMPLETELY disrupt canal traffic from the Border Lands into northern Siddarmark if you get an ironclad into Cat-Lizard Lake by Traymos in Tarikah Province. You can’t leave it there in the winter though, and since I expect Superman will lead the first expeditionary force to break the TL forces in Mountaincross and Hildermoss Provinces – and possibly crush the rebels in the Sylmahn Gap from the north, there goes that theory, so the ironclads will be sent further south.

      In southern Siddarmark you can completely cut off the canal/river system by capturing Dairnyth in the South March Lands – which is a port city that leads to the Gulf of Dohlar, which an ICN fleet will visit – probably next year when the new armored steamships are ready. :)

      No, I haven’t read the book, and you can check my previous comments for my expectations of where I expect the EoC forces to go. There are two possibilities in the north, either through Icewind (which isn’t rebel controlled) to cut off the supply route at Traymos, or through New Northland (notice the hint in the last snippet – the locks Howsmyn built for his canals were taken from the plans there!) which would mean that the ICA intends to land at Ranshair in New Northland and retake NE Siddarmark this year – which is what I predict. He’ll be well underway long before the ironclads are ready, as much as he could use one. Perhaps he’ll get one after it helps blast through the Sylmahn Gap, but it will have to retreat south for the winter.

      I expected half a dozen river ironclads, so as few as four is a surprise. A couple are needed in the south, since they need to capture Fort Darymahn and Thesmar and hold the rivers that debouch there. A couple in Glacierheart would cut off enemy supplies from reaching any further east than Ice Lake and any further north than Glacierborn Lake – but the river/canal system to reach the latter goes through Fort Darymahn at the northern end of the Gulf of Mathyas, which is under COMPLETE control of the ICN so that route is already unusable to CoGA forces unless they offload supplies from wagons somewhere well inland and barge them north, which is VERY inefficient.

      So Ice Lake in Glacierheart and Thesmar/Alykberg/Dairnyth are my guesses as to where the ironclads will be going. Those in Glacierheart will need to retreat to the southern theater before the rivers ice up in winter.

      The Glacierheart fighting looks to be mostly defensive, since Cliff Peak province will have to fall before the AoG can attack Glacierheart though we’ve seen TL forces doing so already. Whoever leads the forces in the south (I voted for Cayleb but maybe not) will be primarily interested in cutting off supplies to the AoG forces attacking Cliff Peak -> Glacierheart and any Dohlaran, Desnairan, and Harchongese forces that have already passed Thesmar. By blocking the relatively narrow gap between the mountains and Lake Somyr near Thesmar they can also cut off and slaughter any Desnairan and South Harchongese forces that move north through Silkiah, so that’s where I expect the vaunted Desnairan cavalry to realize (posthumously) that it’s completely obsolete. Bleek!

      The MWW said this war is all about logistics, so the CoGA should be in for a nasty surprise come next winter in Glacierheart and the South March Lands when they run out of food, clothing, bedding, etc.

      Next year, with half a dozen of the blue water armored warships leading the way, Gorath and Thirsk (and King Rahnyld) will finally get what’s been coming to them for a long time. Zion may get it the year after… although I’m really surprised that Cayleb is still thinking of invading Zion when that poses the risk of alerting whatever is under the temple.

  4. Frank says:

    These ‘little’ floating gun platforms are really going to mess-up someone’s week. But more than that they are going to allow the empire to project armor, force, and firepower inland. These will give the empire a much needed force multiplier against the overwhelming numbers that the temple can throw into the field. It will also give them direct access and control over the glacierheart coal mines. That coal is going to be vital in the new war of resource logistics that steam power creates. The temple is going to be so blindsided by this that their heads will spin. A good question will that no one has asked yet is: where is the temple going to get their coal to heat the temple lands this winter? Good luck with that. Steam power means faster force deployment and shorter transit times. Time to do a dance of joy as the grand inquisitor has another fit of rage. He is going to burst a blood vessal. I can hardly wait until Tuesday.

    • MCT says:

      Does Glacierheart have such a large deposit of coal?

      If I remember correctly the town that the priest came from, it’s coal mines were already pretty much depleted no? But I supose Glacierheart Province is a pretty big place.

      I would to point out the the Gof4 won’t give a crap about where they get their coal, since the Temple is artifically powered, considering the fact that they don’t care when the population outside the Temple freeze to death every year during winter, I don’t the’ll give a crap, Robaire might now that he’s all humanitarian and sentimental…

      I do agree that they will begin a race for resource acquirement, especially coal, but even without Glacierheart or Siddarmark’s coal and other resources, the Temple can still call about the Harcon Empire and the other regions surrounding the Temple Lands, as with everything, the Gof4 still have plenty. However I think they will start to realize they’ve effectively lost 50% of Safehold and it’s resources to the EoC once Siddarmark formalizes an alliance with Caleb. Not only that though we know they’re have very few avenues of gold from tax collection, not only was Siddarmark one of the few places where they were making their tax payments but the rest of the kingdoms can’t even make their interest payments on loans, on top of that the Gof4 have been spending ridiculous amounts of money to build 2 fleets, and are currently building the 3rd, and simulatneously financing the land armies in this up coming land battle.

      Once Siddarmark is secure and won, the Gof4 will hopefully have to curb their operations, because of lack of resources.

      • Spktyr says:

        Worse than that – what if the only place that they can get coal from is someplace they have to use a ship to transport it from? The EoC will be having field days with that.

        The CoGA has another problem, too. Sure. the Temple is self-powered, but how much fighting will the troops be wanting to do if the people at home are freezing to death for lack of heating? Or, for that matter, if they have to travel in places where there isn’t readily available firewood and there’s no coal to burn?

      • JimHacker says:

        Glacierheart has large deposits of high-quality coal, which is why it was shipped to the wealthy living in Zion (but not living in the Temple with its climate control). However, people shouldn’t start thinking ‘oh no’: the Temple has lost its acces to coal with SoS or ‘oh no’: Stohnar has lost his access to iron with SoS. This might make sense if the conflict was restricted to a small geographical region – but it isn’t. Things like coal and iron are incredibly abundant on the planetary scale. While one of the sides might loose access to the single biggest developed source, which may well have been better quality, more abundant, easier to mine etc there are going to be plenty of other sites already developed and lots and lots of sites with the potential to be developed. Due to Charis’ blockade on ocean-going traffic the Church might find transportation a bit difficult, but given the scale of Safehold’s canal network they should still manage to get by.

      • Wallace says:

        The Gof4 can siimply increase the tithe demanded of territories under their “control”, to re-capture the money spent there, on pain of Clyntahn’s Inquisition determining that any opposition is “support of Shan-Wei”. Remember the character given to Clyntahn by Mr. Weber; even the slightest opposition to his orders constitutes heresy, meriting death-by-torture. In like fashion, supplies necessary for the Knights-OTTLands army will take precedence over civilian needs.
        Remember, battles can be won, but Infantry is essential to occupy and hold land.
        I have already commented that Thirsk will be at the disadvantage had by the Charis fleet when far from home. The mention of his development of “angle” guns must consider their limited use at sea; their utility is to attacks on forts, or by land forces. (Howitzers come to mind in this regard). And Dohlar’s sea forces are a long sailing distance from Siddarmark, thus their impact on land warfare in Siddarmark would be minimal.

  5. Spktyr says:

    ‘For that matter, we know Thirsk is already starting to produce his own version of Alfryd’s ‘angle guns.’”’

    Okay, this is starting to get ridiculous. Time for Dohlar to burn before Thirsk gets any more bright ideas and makes it more expensive in lives to win – with the angle guns, the Navy Of God can attack Charisian shore targets with some hope of success and they need to not be allowed to do that.

    • JimHacker says:

      They can’t attack shore targets without getting to them. And angle guns are useless in a purely naval engagement. So I wouldn’t be panicking.

      • Spktyr says:

        See the below addendum. The ICN can’t be everywhere at once, and small raiding squadrons putting in spoiling raids against shore targets are hard to intercept. They could hit many targets outside Charis or Chisholm proper – what happens if the ‘subordinate’ kingdoms start having more remote seaports and seaside facilities flattened by offshore bombardment?

        Even if what he has in development now isn’t so much of a threat, Thirsk has shown a disturbing ability to improvise, adapt and overcome – and that needs to be taken out of the picture. On Terra, Yamamoto was killed for a reason, and not just because he was a convenient target of opportunity. Same should go for Thirsk.

        • JimHacker says:

          You don’t need angle guns to assault undefended targets. The kind of raids you’re talking about would probably actually be easier using conventional war-galleons landing boats of marines. Angle guns are useful against defended, fortified targets.
          The Empire’s shore batteries have probably been reinforced with angle-guns since they were first deployed. Which would enable them to shoot back. They would be shooting back at small targets, true, but they would also be firing from a stable platform. Also, such targets are likely protected by Charis’ fleet. If you’ve decided to conceed to the ICN and avoid them to deny battle, then angle guns don’t seem to be especially useful.

    • Spktyr says:

      And if you can’t arrange to have sufficient force to accomplish the destruction of Gorath, a better idea might be to send over small raiding squadrons to hop about hither and yon on the Dohlar coast and hammer anything in gun range that isn’t especially well defended. Keep the NoG too busy chasing those guys around and have the Dohlarans have to devote ever more resources to ‘home defense. That, by the way, would also reduce the amount of force they’d have available vice Siddarmark, to say nothing of the morale effects. Hipper’s raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby during WW1 comes to mind as an example of what needs to be done.

      • JimHacker says:

        That strategy might distract them – or it might give them the opportunity to defeat the forces sent against them in detail and to blood their crews.

        • Nimitz13 says:

          SPOILER! NOT KIDDING!!!!

          On the Weber Forums the MWW told me flat out that the ICN simply doesn’t have the ships to send a fleet to the Gulf of Dohlar this year, given its current commitments.

          It’s biggest commitment is the ongoing sealift to Siddarmark that will continue until sufficient food is harvested and distributed there. I expect that in addition to carrying troops and supplies, the navy will be engaged in convoy protection, since Thirsk is likely to get some annoyingly good ideas. That would put his ships ~15,000 sailing miles from home, but he can go ashore in any friendly port in Desnair or Silkiah for provisions and water.

          So perhaps it’s time for the ICN to ravage the major Desnairan ports and sink the galleons of the NoG that have been cowering in Desnair harbor. Bleek!

  6. Frank says:

    Have we considered the possibility that Duke Thirsk is going to try and defect just as soon as he can get his family out from under the inquisitions eyes? Seriously, we should be trying to look at him as am asset to be turned rather than killing him. Send in one of Merlin’s personas to help him make up his mind. The man is looking for a way out. Tell me it can’t be done. That act alone would quite possibly cripple the NoG, if not permanently, for the the near future.

    • Drak Bibliophile says:

      Frank, the problem is that Thrisk (and he’s not a Duke) isn’t letting anybody know what he’s thinking.

      Nothing Merlin has heard tells him that Thrisk is wanting to defect or is even thinking about it.

      Remember Thrisk is “under the eye of the Inquisition” and won’t be saying anything that could get back to the Inquistion.

      A character “talking to himself” so the Heroes know that he’s thinking of defecting happens only in bad fiction.

      Oh plenty here (and on other sites) have thought Thirsk might want to defect but so far there’s little evidence (even in his thoughts) that he wants to.

      • JimHacker says:

        Oh i think there’s evidence in his thoughts that he would like to, but that he feels he musn’t due to his oaths (and then the threat to his family added to that)

        • Drak Bibliophile says:


          And David Weber has made it clear that the oaths he’s sworn are very important to him.

          While it hasn’t been mentioned there’s the possiblity that he’d not defect *because* it would mean fighting the men he has trained.

          In the Honorverse, the former head of the Haven People’s Republic Navy, after he was rescued from Hades, decided to go into exile rather than fighting on Manticore’s side against the Navy he built.

          Thrisk doesn’t have any place to go that would be neutral in the current war.

          He may feel that Charis will expect him to fight *for* Charis if he defect to Charis.

      • Wallace says:

        On Thirsk’s possible defection: Consider the character given him by Mr. Weber in earlier chapters, such as his reaction to the report from the pulpit of the “kidnapping” of Irys and Daivyn, and his personal reaction to the order to turn over captured seamen to the Inquisition. “defection” is certainly within the possibilities that Mr. Weber may select.

  7. KenJ says:

    “If I’d known about the inner circle then, I might’ve thought about coming up with another design, but the truth is, the ones based on the Writ are about as good a fit to allowable technology as anything Owl could’ve come up with. And at least that way I didn’t have to worry about getting anything past Paitryk. The old Paitryk, I mean.”

    Um…. “Paitryk”? Who’s he? The only “Paitryk” I can remember of the top of my head is that Haynree b**tard. Perhaps “Payter”? as in Wylsyn?

  8. MCT says:

    -Thirsk aka Mr. Thirsty

    Given the oppurtuniry to defect without his family getting killed, I think Thrisk would take it. First of all he already has deep suspicion about the Gof4 and he pretty much doesn’t believe anything coming out of the Temple Lands. Second the inquisition are basically holding his family as hostage, and even if King Ronald doesn’t know about that, thus far the leadership blamed him for the sinking and defeat of their first fleet at Armagedon Reef and beached him for it for over a year before they put him back in charge and still didn’t admit that he was right about Charis’ new galleon fleet. While he swore an oath to King Ronald, the Gof4 clearly believes he might defect or betray them, hence the family hostage situation. Therefore whether or not Thirst takes his oath seriously is a moot point since they clearly think he’s likely to betray them, but I guess Thirsk is just worrying about his family too much to do anything, and up until now we haven’t had any indication of Merlin planning to pay him a visit, all that was said was that they wish he wasn’t so capable or at least have had him as a prisoner of war back when he surrendered his fleet in the first book. Besides, a rescue operation so probably insanely difficult, Gorath is so much further away, and the fact that Dholar still has a brand new fleet is going to pose any rescue attempt near to impossible when Charis is already so deeply commited to Siddarmark at the moment. If anything I believe Thirsk is in a far better position where he is to turn into a covert spy, that way his family is somewhat safe without him having to defect overtly while being taking on a more useful role than as a defector and an admiral in Charis’ Navy, besides his personality tells us he’s unlikely going to fight his own navy from the other side, and if he does his spying role correctly he could possibly keep the cost of lives on both side to a minimum, but that might be optimistic.

    -The Riverclads/barges
    I predict they’ll have 5 of them, and that they will get there around the same time Caleb gets to Siddarmark since he’ll be traveling on sail vessels whereas the riverclads will be under steam power all the way, I suspect they will take on more coal supplies in Tarrot, or at least send a message to Tarot telling them to get a coaling station ready for future steam powered vessels to take on more fuel.

    -What are the odds of Eastshare and Green Valley getting to or near the border of Siddarmarck and Silkiah on time to halt the Dholarian and Desnarian armies? I think slim, which is where, as previously mentioned, they will send the first 5 riverclads too, in order to supply the 6 or so thousand Charisian Marines and suport them in their valiant attempt at buying time for Eastshare and Green Valley 80 000 men. I think they’ll succeed, if I think i’ve got the math down…

    6 000 X 4 shots per minute with the new riffle if not more = 24 000 shots/minute
    At the first land battle in Corrisand, it was 4 000 facing 10 000 men, although the Charisian were all armed with riffles, and the Corrisandians were not, they still had more riffles in absolute terms than Charis on the field of battle. So I think 6 000 Marines could defeat an enemy force as big as 15 000-20 000 men? Was there any mention of the Desnarian and Dholarian army size?

    • Drak Bibliophile says:

      On Thirsk and his oath, from what David Weber said he does take it seriously and David Weber has said that from Thirsk’s Point Of View his king has done nothing to cause him to violate his oath.

      The big problem IMO with him acting as a spy for Charis is two fold.

      First, why does Charis need him to spy. Owl can provide any info that he could. The only info that Owl can’t get is info from within the Temple and Thirsk can’t provide that info.

      Second, assuming that he decides to get info to Charis, how does he get the info to Charis without risking being caught doing so?

      Since the Temple believes Charisian spies are well placed, they are going to be looking for those spies.

      That means that Thirsk has to be very careful (remember he’s suspected of heresy) to keep from being caught.

      With his family under Church “protection”, he’s not going to risk their lives by attempting to get info to Charis.

      Of course, Merlin (or one of his alias) could make contact with Thirsk and provide means of safely passing info, my first comment applies.

      All such an attempt to make contact with Thirsk would do is to be put Thirsk and his family in more danger.

      Of course, if I were Thirsk, I’d not trust anybody who want to help him “spy on his side”.

      Thrisk might try to turn whoever contacted him over to the Church. [Smile]

  9. JanHarry says:

    I have the book!! Kudus to some people and some traveling. Now for some heavy reading all through the night. Thanks to Drak for peaking my interest and big thanks to David Weber.
    I haven’t been this excited to read a book since the last Harry Potter.

  10. MCT says:

    I hate you even more now…sigh, I wish it’s tuesday already…

    Drak Bibliophile, having considered and thought about what you said, I believe you’re absolutely right about Thirsk’s unenviable position even as a spy. Still feel bad for the guy though.

    Anyone know if the ebook format would be onsale tonight at 12 am?

    • Drak Bibliophile says:

      Depends on the time zone you’re in. IIRC Amazon ebooks become available around midnight California time. Tor ebooks can be available around midnight Central time (Illinois time).

      Oh MCT, I feel for Thirsk as well. I hope he doesn’t get killed.

    • JimHacker says:

      It only goes on sale soon if you live in North America. Given the times you generally posted, i thought you were in a different time zone. Or perhaps that was Spectyr i was thinking of.

  11. tootall says:

    To the friendly Dragon DRAK: Thanks for all you do for us.

  12. Frank says:

    As a husband and a father myself I think that given the right circumstances he will defect. And as for you who got the gook early ‘I hates you! I hates you forever!’

  13. JeffM says:

    See, this was something that bothered me, but now it makes more sense. Having grown up on the Mississippi, barges are _never_self powered. Rafts of barges are pushed by tugs. There are myriad reasons NOT to put an engine on a barge. Even canal boats, I understand, were always pulled by donkeys (or donkey engines).

    However, if you are an author weho needs to turn them into a force in a foreign land–THEN it makes sense to have them be self powered! [G]

    • Allan G says:

      Barges and canal boats on European canals are often self powered as there is no room for a tug.
      River barges are often rafted together as space is less of an issue and power to defeat the current is (canals typically have very low flow rates and hence currents).

    • JimHacker says:

      This is a big difference between Europe and America. Europe is absolutely laced with canals as they were THE way to move goods for hundreds of years. Canals were developed even further in Britain as the industrial revolution started before the introduction of railways and all those goods needed to be moved. These canals are hardly narrow, but they aren’t the size of a mjor river either. Individual barges were pulled by donkeys and teyere pulled singly as that was all a donkeycould pull. Once barges became self-propelled they each got an engine and tugs weren’t used due to the narrowness of canals. This generally held true for river tranport as well as you didn’t want to go to the expense of building barges which could only use rivers.

      America is very different. Canals were nver really developed tothe extent they were in Europe, as the effort was put into railways. Thus water transport in the US was generally restricted to rivers – where putting barges into strings makes sense.

      In this I think safehold is much closer to the European model than the American.

      • Cobbler says:

        When I was knee-high to a grasshopper a family vacation had us driving parallel to the Erie Canal. You could have thrown a baseball across it, let alone shot a cannon.

        I asked, “Why is it called a toe path?”

        My older brother explained, “The horses bulling the barge walked on their tippy-toes.”

        I found this older wisdom confusing. How could a horse walk on his toes when he didn’t have any?

        • Shade says:

          Well, if we want to be technical a horse has one ‘toe’ on each foot. Essencially all of their 1000 pound + weight is being carried by what, on a human, would be the last joint on your finger. Their hoof is basically an enlarged fingernail :p

          So I guess a horse is always ‘walking on tip toes’–lol, but if you look up pictures of draft horses pulling heavy loads and the way they strain forward it clearly does change the way they move.

  14. JeffM says:

    See, this was something that bothered me, but now it makes more sense. Having grown up on the Mississippi, barges are _never_self powered. Rafts of barges are pushed by tugs. There are myriad reasons NOT to put an engine on a barge. Even canal boats, I understand, were always pulled by donkeys (or donkey engines).

    However, if you are an author who needs to turn them into a force in a foreign land–THEN it makes sense to have them be self powered! [G]

  15. userunfriendly says:

    I got it! Now I just need to finish my shift, and go home!

    I love Kindle!

  16. Nico de Lange says:

    I’m hoping that one of you folks can answer this, because for some or other reason none of the reference sources I have consulted seems to contain the information. Were the ‘roofs’ of the orinal ironclads (riverine & maritime both) constructed of solid sheets of steel?

    Because if the worst threat a naval ship designer has to armour a ship against, is solid shot, then a lattice-work design might also be effective, or not?.

    I’m thinking of thin, tightly arranged strips of steel woven over-and-under (like a basket) each other to form a lattice. The lattice would cover & be supported by a framework of thicker, stronger steel beams separated by 10cm-wide softwood planks. The steel beams would provide structural integrity & strength to the armour, the softwood planks would absorb the impact shocks from hostile fire, & the lattice would dissipate the force of hostile impacts – thus allowing less of any one impact’s force to be concentrated at the point-of-impact.

    Does that make sense? Would it work?

    Because if it would, it would allow one helluva big saving in the amount of steel needed, as well as radically reduce the total weight of each unit.

    • JimHacker says:

      I think it would work but that it would be incredibly difficult (maybe even impossible) to do without modern equipment and still very difficult even then.

    • Allan G says:

      Layered or latticed armor is way less effective than the equivalent weight of solid armor. This is because energy is inefficiently transferred so it can be dissipated. To demonstrate this staple 30 sheets of alfoil together and compare the amount of force required to punch a hole compared to 0.5 mm sheet. Latticed armor also has an issue that it has a minimum size that it will stop and does not absorb shrapnel very well. Bonding the layers together with glue or ceramic helps (look up chobam armor) but that is a couple of generations in both offense and defense away (shaped charges…).
      (BTW I wonder what the Safeholders call shrapnel in the absence of Colonel Shrapnel inventing shrapnel shells…)

  17. Good way of explaining, and nice article to take data about my presentation topic,
    which i am going to convey in college.

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