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Oh dear. Someone let[1] Victor… improvise. Again.

On Mesa.

To quote, entirely without context, a minor character’s reaction to this:

She was now discovering that the Hey-Look-Victor’s-improvising club was not a fan club. At one time or another – this very moment, in her case – every member of that club had wanted to strangle the lunatic.

Ladies and gentlemen: Victor Cachat.

Cauldron of Ghosts is the third collaboration by David Weber and Eric Flint following Crown of Slaves and Torch of Freedom. It’s possibly the one where the bits written by each author are easiest to tell apart and most of the strength of Cauldron of Ghosts is down to Mr Flint in my opinion.

The drawn-out sequences of urban fighting feel like Mr Weber and are the weakest sections of the novels. Conversely the character work, especially the maelstrom surrounding Victor, Anton Zilwicki, and Thandi Palane, that strongly carry the return visit to Mesa feel like Mr Flint’s work.

I should also note that Cauldron of Ghosts is tightly synchronised to the ending of Shadow of Freedom. That synchronisation may stretch credibility a bit, but it was set up from the beginning and was more or less inevitable given the number of things going on in the Honorverse.

Despite some of the weaker passages I had a lot of fun with Cauldron of Ghosts, and it certainly made the flights from Canberra to Perth pass a lot more quickly.  Strongly recommended for fans of the Honorverse, possibly a bit too heavy on Continuity Lockout for new readers.

[1] For those familiar with Victor “let” in this case means “not adequately chained down and gagged”.