Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 50

The book should be available now so this is the last snippet.


Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 50



Royal Palace,

City of Manchyr,

Princedom of Corisande.

“You’re joking!” Sir Taryl Lektor, the Earl of Tartarian, stared at Sir Rysel Gahrvai. “Tell me you’re joking — please!

“Is this my ‘Oh, I’m so funny’ face?” Sir Rysel, also known as the Earl of Anvil Rock and the head of Prince Daivyn Daykyn’s Regency Council, shot back.

“Sweet Bédard.” Tartarian dropped into his normal chair at the long, heavy council table, staring at Anvil Rock while his racing thoughts tried to process the information.

The earl was a strong-minded, unflappable individual. Anvil Rock had been given ample proof of that over the last tumultuous few years, especially since Prince Hektor’s death had forced them into their present roles as his son’s official regents in a princedom occupied by the empire most of Hektor’s subjects were convinced had hired his murder. Tartarian was Corisande’s senior admiral — or had been, when Corisande had possessed a navy — and he’d been Anvil Rock’s closest ally in holding the princedom together. In many ways, Anvil Rock knew, his friend was actually more mentally flexible than he himself was, and he’d come to rely upon the other earl’s resilience almost as much as he did upon his integrity.

Not that resilience was the very first word which would have occurred to anyone looking at his current expression. Despite the gravity of the news, a tiny part of Anvil Rock took a certain satisfaction in seeing Tartarian look just as flabbergasted as he had when the message arrived.

“What in Langhorne’s name was Phylyp thinking?” Tartarian demanded.

“Well, according to his message, he was mostly thinking about keeping the boy — and Irys — alive,” Anvil Rock replied. Tartarian looked at him sharply, and Anvil Rock scowled, sliding into his own chair at the head of the table. “Oh, come on, Taryl! You and I both know — in fact, we’ve known the from the beginning, however long it took us to admit it to one another — that Cayleb Ahrmahk never had Hektor murdered! Obviously, Phylyp’s come to the same conclusion, and according to his message, Clyntahn was preparing to have Daivyn and Irys murdered as well. And for exactly the same reasons.”

His voice turned hard, almost as cold as his expression, with the last six words, and his eyes held Tartarian’s across the table. Tartarian looked back for a second or two, then nodded.

“I know,” he said, explicitly admitting something the two of them had been taking for granted the privacy of their own thoughts for a long, long time.

Emperor Cayleb’s analysis of all of the reasons he’d had for not killing Hektor had been convincing, yet the suspicion had lingered that just perhaps Empress Sharleyan might have arranged it without ever mentioning it to her husband. That notion had been knocked firmly on the head for both of them during Sharleyan’s own visit to Corisande the previous year, however, and it had been making steady headway through the rest of Hektor’s subjects since then. Acceptance of Cayleb and Sharleyan’s innocence was still far from universal, especially given the fact that the princedom remained under Charisian occupation, however lenient that occupation might attempt to make itself, but the change since the days immediately after Hektor’s murder was dramatic. And quite a few other Corisandians had been drawing the same conclusion Tartarian and Anvil Rock had drawn about who else might have had their prince and his heir assassinated. It was producing an interesting quandary for the Temple Loyalists, who’d managed rather effectively to use resentment over Hektor’s murder to bolster loyalty to “the Old Church” in the face of the Reformists’ slowly but steadily growing numbers. What had helped them in the past was beginning to hurt them now, and if Coris had anything remotely like proof that Clyntahn had now ordered Irys and Daivyn’s murders . . . .

“I assume he told you something more than simply that he was taking the children and running by Tellesberg for a friendly visit?” Tartarian said after a moment in a voice much closer to normal.

“As a matter of fact, he did.” Anvil Rock leaned back, one hand toying with the hilt of his dagger. “I’ll get you the entire dispatch to read for yourself, of course. The entire Council’s going to need copies, as soon as I can get them made, but some of its information has more to do with how Phylyp came to his conclusions than I’d care for the rest of them to know at this time.”

“What sort of information?” Tartarian’s eyes narrowed, and Anvil Rock shrugged.

“Oh, the fact that he’s had a double agent planted on Wyllym Rayno for years, for example. In fact, it was Hektor who planted the man on the Inquisition even before he inherited the throne himself. I think that’s one tidbit we might keep to ourselves. I don’t think it would bother North Coast too much, but I’m not so sure about Airyth, and I think Margo might still have some . . . issues about it.”

Tartarian nodded. Sir Bairmon Chahlmair, the Duke of Margo, had been a political ally of the Earl of Craggy Hill, and as Prince Daivyn’s distant cousin, he probably had a better claim to the throne than anyone else currently in Corisande. There was no evidence he’d been part of Craggy Hill’s “Northern Conspiracy,” though, nor had he ever given any sign of cherishing designs upon the throne. That didn’t mean the man responsible for protecting that throne could afford to assume he didn’t cherish those designs, however, and Margo was clearly less than comfortable with Corisande’s new Reformist church hierarchy. For that matter, so was Trumyn Sowthmyn, the Earl of Airyth. Neither Tartarian nor Anvil Rock doubted Airyth’s loyalty to Prince Daivyn for a moment, but he was almost as uncomfortable as Margo where Reformism’s steady spread was concerned. The thought that Earl Coris had been spying upon the Inquisition probably wouldn’t sit as well with either of them as it might with others, no matter what his spy might have reported . . . or prevented.

“You may have a point,” Tartarian conceded. “I agree there’s no need to find out at this point, at any rate.” He smiled thinly. “If Phylyp actually manages to get home, we can always let him explain it in person.”

“Or not explain it,” Anvil Rock agreed. “But the rest of his message is actually fairly straightforward. It reads like a really bad novel, you understand, but it is straightforward. When he found out Clyntahn was planning to have Daivyn and Irys killed — probably, he says, because there wasn’t enough resistance to Charis here in Corisande to make the pig happy — there was only one place left to run.” He grimaced. “I’m inclined to think he was right about Clyntahn’s reasoning.”

“I imagine he was.” Tartarian nodded. “Not that we had a lot of choice about cooperating. On the other hand, no matter what we’d done, the same idea would’ve occurred to a man like Clyntahn eventually.” He shrugged. “What possible drawback could there be to the murder of a ten-year-old boy and his sister, after all?”

“None that I can think of.” Anvil Rock’s expression was as disgusted as Tartarian’s. “Phylyp couldn’t see one from Clyntahn’s perspective, either, and he’s always been the sort of fellow who likes to lay out sheet anchors well ahead of time. Apparently he’d been in correspondence with Earl Gray Harbor well before he got confirmation Clyntahn had decided to act. And — you’ll love this part, Taryl! — before those frigging fanatics murdered him, Gray Harbor sent one of Seijin Merlin’s friends to . . . discuss the details of exactly how the heir to the Corisandian throne might ‘escape’ into the safety of Charisian custody. And then, Cayleb and Pine Hollow sent Merlin himself to orchestrate the escape!” He smiled at Tartarian’s expression, but then his expression sobered. “From what Phylyp had to say, it was a damned good thing Merlin was there, too. Without him — and, I might add, without the assistance of the Imperial Charisian Navy and the personal services of the Duke of Darcos — none of them would’ve gotten out of Delferahk alive.”

“It sounds like all that is going to make fascinating reading,” Tartarian said. “And you’re right, it’s exactly like Phylyp, and it proves he hasn’t lost his touch. Or his instincts. I doubt he was happy at the thought of asking Charis for help, but given the nature of the prize, he had to know Gray Harbor would jump at the chance. And pull out all the stops, too.” It was his turn to smile with sardonic amusement. “I could point out that losing them after agreeing to help them ‘escape’ would’ve been absolutely disastrous from Cayleb and Sharleyan’s viewpoint. If I were inclined to point out cynical, calculating political realities, that is.”

“Of course you could. And the same thought occurred to me. None of which changes the fact that the only reasons either of them is still alive are Seijin Merlin, Cayleb, and Sharleyan. That gives them a certain degree of leverage with me, at least.”

“And with me,” Tartarian agreed. “Still, it does raise the question of exactly what Cayleb and Sharleyan will do with them now they’re safely out of Delferahk, doesn’t it?”

“Oh, indeed it does.” Anvil Rock showed his teeth. “Thanks to Phylyp we have at least a bit of a head start, but I’ll be very surprised if there’s not a message — an official message, I mean — from Tellesberg arriving shortly. And I don’t think someone like Cayleb or Sharleyan is likely to overlook just how much additional ‘leverage’ this is going to give them with the rest of Corisande, either.”

“Well, if they should suddenly have turned into drooling idiots, I’m sure Pine Hollow hasn’t. For that matter, Staynair’s a pretty smart fellow — and one who understands mercy can be a much deadlier weapon than any amount of bloodthirsty terror. And then, let’s not forget the redoubtable Seijin Merlin. ‘Official’ adviser or not, he’s probably got more influence with them then all their official councilors combined! They go out of their way to hide it in public, but he’s always there, and I couldn’t help noticing the way both of them keep the corner of one eye on him no matter who else they’re talking to. And then there’s that seijin spy ring he seems to have going in every corner of the world.” Tartarian shook his head. “They listen to that man, Rhysel. He never seems to put himself forward, never seems to intrude, but they trust him to do one hell of a lot more than just keep them alive, and I don’t blame them one damned bit, given the quality of advice he seems to offer.”

“I noticed that myself,” Anvil Rock agreed, then he straightened in the massive wooden chair and inhaled deeply. “I noticed that,” he repeated, “and between you and me, I think it’s a good thing they do. And, also between you and me,” he met his friend’s eyes levelly, “I’ve never been happier to hear anything in my life then the news that Daivyn and Irys are safely clapped into durance vile in Charisian hands instead of being honored guests of King Zhames.”

“You and me both. Of course, it does lead to the interesting question of how the Regency Council goes about announcing this to the Princedom. And, of course, the minor matter of what our official position on requesting Daivyn’s return to Corisande might happen to be.”

“Both excellent points, and decisions which have to involve the Council as a whole.”

“Oh, I know that. But don’t you think it might be a good idea for the two of us to go ahead and decide what the ‘Council as a whole’ is going to decide after we get done explaining its choice — you did notice I said ‘choice,’ as in the singular form of the noun? — to it?”

“You’re entirely too cynical sometimes, Taryl,” Anvil Rock said severely, and Tartarian snorted.

“Not cynical, pragmatic,” he shot back. “And you know this situation’s far too tricky to let it bog down in too much debate.”

“True.” Anvil Rock pursed his lips thoughtfully for several second, then raised his eyebrows. “Since we’re alone, there’s no point pretending you’re not the brains of the team. What do you think we should be doing?”

Tartarian chuckled and shook his head. There was some truth to Anvil Rock’s statement — Tartarian did tend to be more mentally agile — but there was nothing at all wrong with Anvil Rock’s brain. It was more a case of the tenacity with which he focused on the task at hand narrowing his vision until alternate possibilities could slip past him unnoted.

“Well, I think we should get Koryn and Charlz in here and listen to their advice before we make any hard and fast decisions,” Tartarian said after a moment. Sir Koyn Gharvai, Anvil Rock’s son, commanded the new model Corisandian Army responsible for maintaining domestic order . . . under, of course, the supervision of General Sir Zhoel Zhanstyn, who’d replaced Haiwyl Chermyn as the Charisian viceroy in Corisande when Chermyn assumed the title of Grand Duke of Zebediah. And Sir Charlz Doyal, his chief of staff, doubled as the Regency Council’s effective chief intelligence officer.

“If anyone has a feel for how the Princedom’s likely to react to this, it’s them,” Anvil Rock agreed. “I think we need to bring in Archbishop Klairmant, too.”

“Not until after we talk to Koryn and Charlz, though,” Tartarian said quickly, then grimaced as Anvil Rock looked a question at him. “I trust Klairmant as much as I trust anyone in this world, Rhysel, but he’s already riding a restive horse. You know how much more ground the Reformists have been making ever since Staynair’s visit and — especially! — Sharleyan’s. I’d trust him to give us the best advice he has, but, frankly, this is more a political than a religious decision. Oh, it has enough religious implications to sink a galleon, but the actual decision belongs to the Council, and he’s not on it. And the reason he’s not was specifically to insulate the Church from these sorts of decisions. I suspect there’s going to be a lot of uncertainty — and a lot of renewed questions — in most people’s minds now that Daivyn’s actually in Charisian custody, however he got there, and it’s likely to have all sorts of impacts on that truce Klairmant’s been maintaining between the Reformists and the Loyalists. I just think it would be a lot better if he can honestly say he wasn’t consulted ahead of time about any political decisions we and the rest of the Council may take.”

“You may have a point there,” Anvil Rock conceded after a moment, his expression thoughtful. “In fact, I think you do. And I’ve already sent for Koryn and Charlz, but they’re out supervising a field exercise. It’ll take them a while to get here, and I’d still like to hear your current thinking while we wait.”

“All right.”

Tartarian got out of his chair, folded his hands behind him, and crossed to one of the council chamber’s windows to look out over the sun-drenched landscaping of the palace courtyard. He stood that way for quite a few seconds before he turned back to his friend and fellow councilor.

“I think we have to be cautious,” he said seriously. “If we don’t seek Daivyn’s return to Corisandian soil, we’ll provide fresh fodder for the anti-Charis hotheads, and Langhorne knows there are still plenty of them left, even after Sharleyan’s visit. On the other hand, she and Cayleb are going to be very cautious about letting the two of them come home, for a lot of reasons. And if they do let them return home, how much freedom of action will Daivyn — and his Regency Council — truly have? Turning him into their puppet here in Corisande could have all sorts of downsides from their perspective, including validating the anti-Charis element’s suspicions, but they’d be fools to let him return without at least some binding restrictions. Yet by the same token, if they refuse to let him come home — especially if we press them on the issue — the consequences could be even worse. At that point, the people who’re already inclined to distrust them and their lackeys — that would be us, Rhysel — will declare that they didn’t really ‘rescue’ him and Irys at all, no matter what that corrupt, nefarious spymaster Coris or their other lackeys here in Manchyr may claim. Instead, the sinister Seijin Merlin and his agents kidnapped them, snatching them out of the safety of their kinsman’s custody for the sole purpose of using him as a tool here in Corisande.”

“Which is what Clyntahn’s going to say, whatever we do,” High Rock pointed out.

“I’m less concerned about that asshole than I am about people closer to home.” Tartarian’s tone was harsh and his eyes had gone cold. “When he sent his frigging ‘Rakurai’ into Corisande and killed eight hundred people right here in Manchyr, I decided once and for all which side I’m on, as far as the Church is concerned, Rhysel. And don’t pretend you didn’t do exactly the same thing! I know better, and Koryn’s even further into the Reformist camp than you are!”

Anvil Rock looked back at him without speaking. Silence hovered for several heartbeats, and then Tartarian shrugged.

“At any rate,” he continued in a lighter tone, “I’m more concerned about the effect on people close enough to make their . . . displeasure immediately evident. Trust in Clyntahn’s veracity’s taken a serious hit here in Corisande even among a lot of the Loyalists and even before we make Phylyp’s letter public; as long as we can avoid doing anything that would tend to support Clyntahn’s version of events, I don’t really expect his fulminations from Zion to have much effect. The people who still trust him will take them as coming straight from the Writ no matter what we say, but they’re already so firmly in the anti-Charis — and anti-Regency Council — column that it won’t make any difference to the overall situation. It’s the ones with open minds we have to worry about, and that means coming up with a way to help this whole hairy mess land as softly as possible.”

“So you think we shouldn’t press them for his return?”

“I think we should buy some time by sending messages asking about his and Irys health, asking for assurances of their physical safety, and asking for the two of them to be allowed to communicate directly with us.” Tartarian turned back to the window. “That would be the natural first step no matter what, and the sailing time between us and Tellesberg will work in our favor. We publish the glad news of their safety to the Princedom as a whole, and we also publish copies of our letters to them and to Cayleb and Sharleyan to show our concern and demonstrate we’re pushing to regularize the situation. And I think we should also publish a copy of the Council’s renewed oath of loyalty to Daivyn as rightful Prince of Corisande, witnessed by Klairmant for Mother Church. It would only be appropriate for us to renew the oaths we took in his name now that he’s out of Church custody . . . and it would also be a way for us to demonstrate our loyalty is to him — which means to Corisande — first and foremost.”

“All right.” Anvil Rock nodded. “All of that makes sense. But after we send all that and, presumably, get a response?”

“A lot will depend on what Cayleb and Sharleyan indicate they’re willing to consider. I’m sure they’re both more than bright enough to realize how important it will be for us to have some guidance into what they’re thinking before we start proclaiming any public positions of our own. At the moment, I’m inclined to think the next step for us would probably be to ask for Daivyn’s return, though. The phrasing of both the peace treaty and our oaths as councilors gives Cayleb and Sharleyan a certain amount of wiggle room in this instance, but they have recognized him as Duke of Manchyr and as Hektor’s legitimate heir to the crown. There are all sorts of stipulations in there about what he’ll have to do to be allowed to assume the crown, but there’s no question of his claim to it. So I think we can approach this with an air of calm, even courtesy, by couching our requests at least initially as a request for clarification on how Charis interprets those stipulations. If we work it right — and I think that’s going to include being as public as we can in our messages, publishing our correspondence as broadly as possible, at least on this point — we can spend as much as two years in civil, rational discussion. We can make our loyalty to Daivyn crystal clear, and we can let Cayleb and Sharleyan demonstrate their own reasonableness in the form of their replies and willingness to discuss things with us. Assuming they’re smart enough to see what we’re doing, the process should give us quite a lot of time for temperatures to cool.”

“And if, after we do all that, Daivyn and Irys refuse to cooperate with Charis — or, for that matter, if it appears to us that they’re being constrained or that Cayleb and Sharleyan have decided to deny him the crown after all?” Anvil Rock asked softly.

“In that case, we’re all in a hell of a mess,” Tartarian replied, equally softly. “I doubt Daivyn and Irys would be in any physical danger, even then, but if it looks to our people here in Corisande like they might be — or if enough of our people decide Cayleb and Sharleyan aren’t going to let Daivyn take the crown, no matter what they may’ve promised — I have no idea how they’ll react. The one thing I am afraid of, though, is that in a situation like that one, what might happen could just make what Craggy Hill, Storm Keep, and the others tried look like a children’s birthday party.”


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65 Responses to Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 50

  1. anonymouse says:

    As always, and on behalf of commenters and lurkers, thank you Drak for the snippets.

    And since gratitude has an extremely short shelf life, when do you expect the next Safehold book to be coming out?

    And is it still going to be an 8 volume series?

    • JimHacker says:

      no. Weber has said that there should be approx 3 more books in the current phase. Then there’s a possible 4 book phase when the truth comes out and a final phase of Safehold vs Gbaba but he has lots of commitments. He is definitely aiming to finish the current phase in 2 to 4 books with 1 book released per year. The other phases depend on his other projects.

  2. lost sanity says:

    todays the day, release date for the new book, Midst Toil and Tribulation, and once again, just like last year, there is no way for me to purchase this book.

    to be entirely clear it appears to be a matter of rights management rather than any kind of screwup, as i went through the same thing this time last year it is driving me crazy.

    while the sites are up and the book is selling wonderfully for those who’s fortunes has enabled them to be born US citizens, those of us less fortunate must sit outside the bookshop and watch others purchasing books, because the sign on the door says ” US Citizens – red, white, and Blue ONLY”.

    in this day and age, when so much content is readily available and distributed digitally over the Internet, it makes absolutely no sense to restrict access to digital content based on physical location in a world where physical location has increasingly little meaning!

    if you release a book and yet refuse to sell it to a segment of the public (who dearly want to purchase the book) based solely on an increasingly irrelevant and almost discriminatory attribute you loose the right to complain when your (Potential) customers acquire the book through non-traditional means

    while i fully realize that an author has very little control over decisions made by the publisher in regards to release rights management, it still needs to be said, the current method of distribution is tantamount to actively driving your customer base into the shady back alleys of the Internet looking for the man in a pirate hat.

    If I’m willing to pay for a book – e-book, audio or dead tree – should a publisher care more where I buy it, or that i pay for my purchase?, apparently the publishers do not want my money.

    and they say piracy is hurting their bottom line….

    it saddens me greatly that i cannot purchase a book based solely on the colour of my flag.

    • JanHarry says:

      I am not an American either or living in the USA.
      I had my copy on monday.

      It can rain, it can shine.

      • Bewildered says:

        Not sure when my copy will turn up. Alas I won’t see it for … (groan) another 10 months. Anyone able to point me to a digital copy on an er ‘public sharing site’? :-D

    • Speaking as an author, and realizing that this response is a little more ascerbic than is usually found here, I’m compelled to ask: would like some cheese, say a nice camembert or a brie, with that whine? You nailed it when you said “…i fully realize that an author has very little control over decisions made by the publisher in regards to release rights management….” We don’t–in point of fact, we have none. And that’s as it should be–authors don’t have the time to expend on rights and distribution issues for their books, not if they’re planning to continue to be authors. I’ve had books published in German, French, Polish, Japanese, and Turkish, in addition to English, and there have been copyright and distribution issues unique to each edition in each language, all of which I leave up to my attorney and my publishers’ legal departments. This forum isn’t the place for this sort of exercise in self-pity, nor are the people here able to do anything to alleviate the situation. Aside from airing your sense of victimhood, what have you accomplished? You would have achieved more by writing a similar protest to Baen, and Baen’s distributors. Better yet, write a strongly worded letter to your appropriate elected official, assuming you live in a country with some form of representative government, urging a rationalization of international publishing and copyright laws. Believe it or not as you see fit, but those of us in the publishing industry, whether authors or publishers, find the situation as frustrating as you do; unfortunately, the law is the law, and however inconvenient or disagreeable it may be, we still have to comply with the relevant laws of the country of publication. Otherwise, we encounter those inconvenient little things like court orders, fines, lawsuits, etc. It may not be fair, but (newsflash for the unsuspecting) life isn’t “fair,” it just “is.”

      • JimHacker says:

        What would that do? baen isn’t the publisher here, TOR is. And people should be able to air their grievances. The international release of Safehold has been pretty poor (much worse than releases by other authors in Weber’s selling range). And while Weber might not have any control over it, people should still be able to voice their annoyane.

        • Jim, I goofed on the publisher–I’m so used to thinking of TMW as a Baen author. So sue me.

          As far as your sentiment that “people should still be able to voice their annoyan[c]e” the earlier part of that sentence is the operative part–“And while Weber might not have any control over it….” That’s my point: what purpose does “lost sanity”‘s whine serve when the situation is not one of Weber’s making? More to the point, why inflict it on us here, who also have no way of changing the situation? This isn’t the forum for it. Can you honestly say that reading that little rant added anything to your enjoyment of the snippet Eric provided? Was there any insight into how the Safehold story is or might be generally unfolding, or more specifically, how it’s developing in this new book? Did it add ANYTHING to to any actual discussion of the snippet itself or of HFaF in general? No. Instead we were subjected to some “Oh, poor, poor, me, victimized by those evil corporations and their minions, the copyright and distribution laws and agreements!” drivel. I thought I made the point–and with some particular authority, since it affects me far more than it affects “lost sanity”–that authors are no happier with situations of this sort than are readers–after all, it denies us what could be a not insubstantial part of our income. But, please, take the sniveling elsewhere!

          • JimHacker says:

            So what if no-one here can do anything about it? The ‘appropriate place’ to complain would be on TORs forums, where he would inevitably be ignored or, at bestm brushed off. Buyers have even less opportunity than writers to affect the publishing market given that copyright law gives a publisher an effective monopoly on an IP once they’ve bought it. The only way to protest it to boycott – which hurts the author way more than the publisher. Voicing such complaints on forums like here are the only avenue which ultimately might have an effect. Complaints like lost sanity’s (although i think he may be a bit confused over just what ‘rights’ are, both fundamental and financial) are the principal way for issues like this to filter into the cultural consciousness. And that is important because due to the nature of the publishing business, the only way things like this are going to end is with legislation, regulation and international agreements.

            • Randomiser says:

              As a non-writer I’m not clear how these contracts work, but unless the author just consigns all international rights to the publisher at the start, then surely he must have some input on when and if the book appears in other countries. I perfectly believe he excercises that input thorough his attorney but that isn’t at all the same thing as ‘he has no control’. It would just be nice for all of us if authors would get their attorneys to sort out international distribution of the English version at least before publication.

              • JimHacker says:

                Usually (but not always) the author will sell all the print and electronic rights (but not IP or multimedia rightseg movie) to the publisher. The publisher will then sell the electronic rights to whomever they want. It would seem that in this case TOR sold the North American rights and the rights to certain language editions to various people, but didn’t sell english edition rights to the rest of the world. Why, we don’t know. They probably demanded too high a price and refused to negotiate downwards when no-one would pay.

                There are very few publishing houses, so authors don’t really have all that much leverage as they can’t shop around.

            • Peter2 says:

              One way of protesting would be download a warez copy of a book, and send the appropriate purchase price directly to the author. You can then turn to the publisher and in effect say “Now, how do you like them apples?” Not that I’m actually recommending this, of course . . .

          • Shade says:

            Voicing irritation about where the book is published and distributed on this site has little (if nothing) about expecting this to change legislation. It’s more about venting to an audience that is likely to be sympathetic to your frustration. Clearly a lot of us are addicts for these snippets, and getting others to agree “yes it is unfair” may not do anything for -you- but it may give them a sense of validation for their issues. And aside from one person I don’t recall anyone else blaming Weber for this. Most are aware that this is a publishing and legislation problem, not one concocted by a nefarious author.

            My personal ‘whine’ for the day is that my local Chapters store is useless. Its 3 days after the release; they don’t have the book in the store, and tell me that ‘two are on order’. WoW… really? 2? Wouldn’t want them to over-order or anything! Bunch of lunatics. If I’d known they were going to be that helpful I’d have ordered online. To add to my annoyance they basically own every bookstore in the city, so no luck going to the others instead >.<

            • JimHacker says:

              Who has actually blamed weber for this?

              And no, this post by itself will hardly lead to changes. But the only way changes will happen is if people recognise that there are problems. And makin the point where people other than a PR flak will read it is a way to help that.

              • Shade says:

                My comment wasn’t directed at you JimH, it was more in response to DAB’s reference to lost sanity; and to quote: “the situation is not one of Weber’s making”.

  3. @lost sanity: I agree with you completely. I am a firm believer in equal rights for everyone, and I don’t care what country you live in; I am sure you are exactly as much a person as I am, no more and no less! And I am sure that the overwhelming majority of citizens of your country are nice people.

    Denying you the right to buy any book you are willing and able to pay for is not only wrong, it is stupid! For a concurring opinion, well expressed, read Eric Flint’s Salvos Against Big Brother, which is available free on this web site.
    If you are a fan of the Ring of Fire hypernovel, check out the new website RoFindex.com, which features an index of the organizations and events and the thousands of characters active or mentioned in the RoF books in print. You can get there by simply clicking on my name at the top of this post.

    • SCC says:

      Quote: I agree with you completely. I am a firm believer in equal rights for everyone, and I don’t care what country you live in
      The US apparently has a lot of trouble with granting non-citizens their rights, everyone is supposed to get a trail by jury but most immigrants apparently don’t, unless it’s politically useful (see the Dotcom case)
      Sometimes however I wonder how many US businessmen are actually trained in business

      • Doug Lampert says:

        The problem isn’t one of the US government denying anyone any rights because they are not a citizen. But a problem of private contracts and of international law and custom.

        If this were encrptation software it might be, but it’s an ebook which as yet doesn’t have distribution contracts for whereever Lost Sanity is, or if it does have such contracts then the distributor with the local distribution rights has not yet done anything with them.

        It would almost certainly be a violation of LOCAL law, whereever Lost Sanity is for Amazon to sell him the Ebook. Tor, Amazon, and others have contracts for US (and probably Canadian) distribution. They have no right to distribute elsewhere because they have no contract with David Weber to allow them to distribute his work anywhere else.

        Selling outside their distribution area is something called “Copyright infringment”.

        Holding to your contract with a supplier is not wrong and selling the book, or Ebook, outside the US, Canada, and a few oversees dependancies and military bases almost certainly violates their contracts. Because book distribution contracts for US sales traditionally cover the US and Canada, but not the rest of the world.

        Now, you can argue that the Internet is global, and that Ebook distribution contracts SHOULD be global, but that’s between Weber, his agents, Tor, and Amazon and other distributers. Presumably the ebook distributors didn’t offer much (if anything) for international ebook rights. Amazon especially has a separate AmazonUK specifically because the book markets are separate.

        • Zhal says:

          One problem is that brick and mortar stores still want to sell the book as well. If you can get an item digitally, you are less likely to go to the store and buy it. Especially if you can get it a week or so earlier from digital distribution.

          Not sure if this is the case here, but England for instance releases on Fridays, while NA tends to release on Tuesdays. This is simply different retail philosophy, but it means that digital sales are forced to follow the same release schedule, to keep the physical stores happy.

          • Peter2 says:

            Yeah. The first four Safehold ebooks were released in the UK in May 2011. There’s been nothing since. And I can’t even find an appropriate place on the TOR websites to complain about it.

            So I’ll do as I did before – borrow a copy. I’ve already got well over 2000 books, and these days I don’t buy any book where there’s an ebook version. And TOR can go to the devil.

    • Cobbler says:

      They are? Once upon a time I passed the Salvos around, including to a gaggle of librarians. All of whom loved them.

      But I haven’t been able to find the essays lately. Any links I’ve come across are dead.

      Where can I find them?

    • JeffM says:

      Gotta point out that apparently you are confusing the difference between “rights” and “opportunities”. Using one term might sound better and draw more attention, but it simply isn’t correct.

  4. Ric says:

    Another grumble about ebook availability. I’m in the UK. It’s not available on Amazon, the Kobo store, or the official Tor ebook store. How is this encouraging ebook sales, when I can’t buy the thing?

  5. Biancc says:

    Soooo….. Shadow of Freedom snippets soon?

    • Margo says:

      Hopefully “Shadow of Freedom” will be a Baen eArc in the next few weeks – I can even have fun doing my own proofreading! It is interesting finding the mistakes when the ‘real book’ appears in my “hold”queue at the local library – though the addition of several paragraphs is a little extreme (the wedding ceremony in “A Rising Thunder”) – but so much less frustrating than finding so many I can’t do anything about, just my own ‘personal’ copy for my own enjoyment.
      I hope the snail mail between US and NZ delivers copy of “Midst Toil etc” soon. I think I’m top of queue. I do enjoy the snippets and the comments to follow – talk of intense analysis! Thank you Drak and others

  6. Nimitz13 says:

    I just got the book, and I’ll spend tonight and as long as I can stay awake tomorrow in an orgy of reading!

    Many thanks to Drak for putting the snippets together and posting them for us to devour, and for his (occasionally) insightful comments. May his snerk collar be ever tight but not lethal…

    Finally, my most heartfelt thanks to David Weber for creating the universes in which Safehold, Honor Harrington, Bahzell, the Bugs, and so many other memorable characters and creatures abide. I’ve spent many a pleasant hour in their company.

    So in a day or two – let’s get started on those “Shadow of Freedom” snippets! Bleek!

  7. Tom says:

    If you don’t mind buying it as an ebook, just go to the amazon.com site, go to kindle store and you can buy it. For the people in the uk, just change your location in your account at amazon (did the reverse for a book only available for uk users, used a random adress).

    In case you dont have a kindle device, kindle for pc is available. I usually buy the arc on the baen website and read it on my computer, this is not much different.

    • Ric says:

      The only address I can see to change is the one associated with my credit card. If I change that, I can’t buy anything, as the charge isn’t authorised…..

    • Ric says:

      Looking further, I can reset my kindle account to the US.

      There’s then no Kindle release of MTaT.

    • robert says:

      Yeah, it is different because this is a TOR book, not a Baen book. It is not available on Baen in any form, ARC or not. The Kindle edition is available from Amazon for $14.99 as is the nook edition from the B&N website.
      By the way, as you all know, TOR has decided to go DRM-free on ebooks.

      • Ric says:

        Do you have a URL for the Amazon version? I’m not finding it when searching for ‘midst toil and tribulation kindle’, and it’s not listed as a format on the Hardcover’s Amazon page.

        • Charles says:


          is where I bought it from, and I’m in New Zealand. No issues, no drama, although a simple page to actually download the files rather than being locked into the publishers annoyingly unconfigurable e-reader application would be nice.

          And before anyone says it – yes, actually, I can rip it out and read it in a proper e-reader. Shouldn’t be necessary to do for a non-DRM book that I’ve purchased legally, but there you go.

          It’s ironic when the anti-piracy features just mean that the pirates get a better version of the same product…

  8. AJNolte says:

    Anyone know when the audio version will be available on audible.com? I’m looking forward to listening to this one.

    • DKCWong says:

      You can buy the audio version at Amazon although I don’t know if it’s available for shipping. I’m not buying yet as I can’t find out who the reader is (I’ve had the hardcopy since Sunday and I’m almost finish – but no spoilers from me). If the reader is Charles Keating again I sadly won’t buy it. He was a great actor, but his reading of HFAF was monotone and bland. Worst I couldn’t tell the characters apart. I didn’t buy the audio version of HFAF because of this (I was able to hear a sample of his reading before I could buy a copy).

      I’m still a bit upset about that as I do have audio copies of the first four books. They are great to have on those long business trips. Oliver Wyman (OAR and BSRA) did a great job. Jason Culp (BHD and AMF) wasn’t too bad and I would have liked his reading more had I not gotten use to Oliver Wyman’s voice characterizations and style. I can’t find out who is the reader for MTAT so I won’t buy until I can get a sample or read a review of the reading.

      Otherwise, thanks to Drak for providing the snippets and everyone for all the wonderful and many times informative comments. Looking forward to the snippets for the next Honor entry.

    • Anette says:

      The audio version is now up at Audible.

      It’s a new narrator. I complained a lot about the last one being too monotone and putting me to sleep. This one certainly doesn’t have that problem. I’m not entirely sure that much… enthusiasm (not quite the right word, but I can’t find a better one right now) is entirely good either, though. And I really wish the narrators had a list of proper pronounciations for names.

      By the way, I could access the Amazon Kindle version on the 18th and buy it from Sweden without problems.

  9. Mark says:

    did you see:

    Midst Toil and Tribulation
    Safehold (Volume 6 of 11)
    David Weber
    Tor Books

    in the macmillan site

  10. Oliver says:

    I pre-ordered the book quite a few month ago from Amazon in the Hardcover version but it is still shown in my order list that they will inform me when the date of availability is known. Therefore I have the question: Is the book out in paper form already or only as e-book? If only as e-book has anyone an information when the printed version will become available?

    I read e-books now too, but the works of my favorite writers I still like to have in a printed Version. The feeling is just better… ;)

    • Drak Bibliophile says:

      Where are you located? People have been reporting *having* the paper version for the last few days. It may just be a problem of Amazon not having enough copies on hand.

      • Oliver says:

        I am in Germany

        • KenJ says:

          Ach! Mist!!! Pro’lly the same situation as Lost Sanity with a block in your area. You’ll need to track down what the LOCAL release date is… (next summer??!?! :( )

      • JanHarry says:

        The Netherlands. And I just bought it in a book store. And I will buy the hardcopy as long as I live.
        With very bad eyes I can read as long as I like in bed. :-)

        • Randomiser says:

          I preordered the hardback weeks ago from Amazon UK which lists the publishing date as 18th September. However they don’t propose shipping mine till the 25th :-(
          The ordering page now says ‘usually delivered in 1-3 weeks’ which sounds like poor stock control.

  11. Frank says:

    The audiobook is also not available at this time. Very frustrating. Should have been released at the same time as the hardcover. Patience is not my strong suit. Dram Bibliophile get me answers please!

  12. JeffM says:

    Yet again, thanks for your efforts, Drak!

  13. KenJ says:

    Well, got it Tuesday, finished it yesterday. VERY well written. Weber at his best!!!

    No, I won’t spoil it but I WILL recommend it!! (Personally I think it is the best-written book of the series so far!!!)

  14. Spktyr says:

    For those that are interested, it was available at 12:00:01 on the iTunes Book Store. Which is where I got my copy.

  15. Randomiser says:

    Out of curiosity, how much of the book have we got in the snippets? Up to page X would be most helpful. (Mine isn’t coming for a week or so … see earlier post)

    • Drak Bibliophile says:

      It’s safer to say that I posted about one third of the book (by word count). Part of the problem is that I got a rough draft as a Word Doc so there was changes and the page count that I could give will be different than the hardcover page count.

  16. HenryS says:

    Audio book showed up at Audible.com this evening. Another new reader.


    • HenryS says:

      Just started the audio book. The new reader is bad. I’m on chapter 2, I’m not sure I can make it to the end. Every word is read with breathless excitement. Very irritating, IMHO.


      • MarkR says:

        And a prose stylist Weber isn’t. I couldn’t get beyond the 6th CD of the 28 for A Mighty Fortress. Weber repeated too much stuff and kept using the same verbal tics like “Truth to tell”. Give me Pratchett, Bujold, or even S.M. Stirling anytime (I’ve really liked listening to all of the Change books).

        Thing is, Off Armageddon Reef was much better, but then if Weber hadn’t worked harder at making it good bait how many readers would he have hooked.

  17. Bewildered says:

    Bother!!! I ordered a few books a while ago. Just idly checking things and discovered I’ve the Safehold 2011 not the Safehold 2012 ordered, worse it’s already in the mail. Major pain! :-(

    Can’t actually see where I actually purchased it though, and I know I’ve read the story so … Maybe I should hold off ordering books until I’m reunited with my collection? :}-

  18. So, given that it appears the next novel is going to have a heavy emphasis on ground combat, what is the projected title, “Onward, Charisian Soldiers”?

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