What if someone took Horatio Hornblower and put him in a sci-fi setting? What you would get is a one of the best military sci-fi books I have read. Weber has morphed the character into Honor Harrington and made her the captain of a Starship, but you still get a headstrong, duty bound, extremely competent naval officer that C.S. Foster would recognize.
The setting itself is a big strength of On Basilisk Station. Weber has done an excellent job of fleshing out his universe and you can feel the detail everywhere the characters go. The way the space travel and technology work feel well researched and plausible. While this isn’t hard sci-fi everything that happens does not break the realm of believability. While the filled out nature of the world is a benefit for me it also leads to one of the few complaints I hear about this book. Weber likes explaining things … often in great detail. If reading 5 pages about the political layout of one of the factions or a history and technical lesson covering the details of faster than light travel then there will be large sections of this book that become tough to read. However for those who do not revel in this level of detail these parts can be skimmed over fairly easily without hurting the enjoyment of the rest of the book.
Weber is an excellent, seasoned writer and you can feel it in On Basilisk Station. The action beats are superbly written and the final battle kept me on the edge of my seat. The dialog for the most part always feels genuine and not forced, and even comes off as funny at times.
These small issues however are not a deal breaker and don’t really detract from the story. If you like military fiction and sci-fi then this is a great book and the start to a stellar series.