Rear Admiral Terrence Murphy is the son of a famous admiral who died winning a critical battle in a decades-long war between the Terran Federation and the Terran League. Recently, Terrence Murphy won his own battle. That minor success does not erase his reputation as a clothes horse and a fop, but it is enough to win him an appointment as military governor of a backwater stellar system.
So opens Governor, a new science fiction novel by David Weber and Richard Fox. It is set in a future where humans occupy thousands of planetary systems scattered across the galaxy.
Human planets are split into several polities. The largest is the Terran Federation, centered on Earth. The Terran League is its main rival. The two have been locked in a stalemated war for decades. Part of the reason for the stalemate is that the Federation is unwilling to commit the resources to win the war.
The Five Hundred, the social elite who run the Federation’s Heart Worlds, see to that. They get much of their profit and power from war expenditures. The cost of the war falls on the Fringe Worlds on the Federation’s periphery. Outnumbered in population and power by the Heart Worlds, they serve as the unwilling buffer protecting the Heart Worlds.
Murphy is a Heart Worlder, married into a Five Hundred family. They wish him to advance his career, by serving a term as military governor at a Fringe System. They pick one well away from the combat theater. Somewhere harmless.
Murphy has a sense of honor. He is not the innocuous nonentity he carefully presents to those in power. He has his own agenda as governor of New Dublin, revealing secrets long hidden by Heart World conventional wisdom. He gets more of an opportunity than he sought, after an unexpected League offensive pushes into his territory.
His response to that incursion unleashes an avalanche of consequences – for both Federation and League. It upsets the stalemate, offering the Federation an opportunity of victory. It also overturns Federation rulers’ equilibrium, threatening their political existence.
Governor offers readers a tautly written and exciting adventure. The pairing of David Weber and Richard Fox works superbly. It delivers a book that will keep readers turning the pages to the end. The political and military situation framing the story has roots in Ancient Roman history, but resonates with twenty-first century America as well.
“Governor,” by David Weber and Richard Fox, Baen Books, 2021, 496 pages, $27.00 (hardcover) $9.99 (ebook)
*Mark Lardas is an engineer, freelance writer, historian and model-maker living in Texas. Mark posts on Ricochet as “Seawriter,” and is well-known for his regular and much appreciated reviews of books on all subjects. Of his reviews, he says “I have an unusual approach to reviewing books. I review books I feel merit a review. Each review is an opportunity to recommend a book. If I do not think a book is worth reading, I find another book to review.” His website is marklardas.com.