A joke of sorts: How do you tell the difference between a Weber novel and a Ringo novel? David kills off humanity in large cataclysmic events. Ringo hunts them down and kills them individually.
The basic concept of the joke is stolen (thanks David!), but is in some ways not far off the mark. The question to my mind is who is the more devious about it and has the most fun with it...
That said, David Weber has outdone himself on that and other areas in Off Armageddon Reef. The book in some ways goes back to some of the plot and underlying concepts in his Empire from the Ashes series. Indeed, one will find enough similarities that it can cause concern; yet, those would be misplaced. While part of the plot is very similar to the series, and many names and considerations are similar to the last book in particular, it is not simply a rehash. Rather, many of the characters have similar names because of historic and philosophical issues and people that underlie the concepts.
What has been done is the creation of a new universe and a new series that explores a variety of concepts in a new and novel fashion, from religious and military history to gender identity, from the rights of individuals to ways in which power is so often abused by those who find themselves with what appears to be absolute power. By the end of the book, the major characters are fully fleshed and any concerns about rehash are out with the trash.
The read is compelling, informative, and fun. It is still in the bookstores as a hardcover, and I do recommend it -- and not just for Weber fans. As with most Weber books, though it is well grounded in history and philosophy, it also echos the events of today on a level that reminds me very much of the Honor series. Go check it out.
Who also says "Thanks David! Sorry it took so long!!"