The plot of this novel has a lot in common with Weber’s 1632 series, and from what other reviewers are saying, some of his other series as well. There is a person or small group from a future/higher technology stranded in a society at a medieval tech level. How do they cope, how does their knowledge affect the much larger society?
The similarities aside, Weber creates a unique viewpoint here. The protagonist is just an AI recording of a dead person in an artificial body.
The last remnants of the human race have exiled themselves to a single planet, hiding from an alien menace. The leaders of this group create a religion prohibiting technological advance so that the aliens will not be able to find them from their electronic emmisions.
The protagonist awakes in a very different world 800 years later.
Rather than glossing over the similarties in the plot to the arthurian myth, Weber embraces it fully. The protagonist (also aware of the similarities) names itself Merlin as it tries to bring the human race back to a spacefaring technology level. It is hoped that with foreknowledge the humans can this time beat the alien menace.
I really enjoyed the premise, rewriting Arthurian myth as sci-fic has been done many times but this is the most original I have seen. The ‘shock and awe the rustics’ with technology is always amusing, especially when the rustics turn out to not be so rustic after all and improve on the technology.
The book did drag a bit in the middle as we are introduced to hords of side characters, their motivations and the various factions in this world. Hopefully this will pay off in future installments of the series. For now though there were some just amazing fight/battle scenes. You really do not want to be around when Merlin risks turning off his reflex and strength governors and moves from more than human to superhuman.
In the end a good book with a great premise that will hopefully pay off more as the series continues.