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The Praxis (Dread Empire's Fall S) by Walter…
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The Praxis (Dread Empire's Fall S) (edition 2003)

by Walter Jon Williams (Author)

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7341923,536 (3.66)26
"Space opera the way it ought to be [...] Bujold and Weber, bend the knee; interstellar adventure has a new king, and his name is Walter Jon Williams." -- George R.R. Martin The first book in the completed Dread Empire's Fall trilogy, followed by The Sundering and Conventions of War. All will must bend to the perfect truth of The Praxis For millennia, the Shaa have subjugated the universe, forcing the myriad sentient races to bow to their joyless tyranny. But the Shaa will soon be no more. The dread empire is in its rapidly fading twilight, and with its impending fall comes the promise of a new galactic order . . . and bloody chaos. A young Terran naval officer marked by his lowly birth, Lt. Gareth Martinez is the first to recognize the insidious plot of the Naxid -- the powerful, warlike insectoid society that was enslaved before all others -- to replace the masters' despotic rule with their own. Barely escaping a swarming surprise attack, Martinez and Caroline Sula, a pilot whose beautiful face conceals a deadly secret, are now the last hope for freedom for every being who ever languished in Shaa chains -- as the interstellar battle begins against a merciless foe whose only perfect truth is annihilation.… (more)
Member:ThomasBrand
Title:The Praxis (Dread Empire's Fall S)
Authors:Walter Jon Williams (Author)
Info:Earthlight (2003), Edition: UK ed., 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Praxis by Walter Jon Williams

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» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Exciting adventure. The long set up is worth it. Heart pounding action by the last third. The main characters have high quality flaws to go along with all their brilliance and chutzpah. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
Space opera set in the far future when there is only one powerful empire. Multiple races are subjugated by one race, that imposes by force a set of rules (no artificial intelligence, no immortality, etc.) for thousands of years. Starts a bit slow but has enjoyable actions and characters. The whole story makes a lot of sense and characters are both believable and they somehow evolve based on their challenges. Lots of descriptions of a (very) hierarchical society. Does not introduce a lot of strange technologies (except wormholes and really dense energy producing - but not much else). Was kind of nice that half of the book was just to introduce the characters and the initial action did not miraculously link with the second part when the war started ( )
  vladmihaisima | Jun 14, 2021 |
Williams, Walter Jon. The Praxis. Dread Empire’s Fall No. 1. Harper, 2002.
Walter Jon Williams is a journeyman author of science fiction. He is well versed in all the tropes of the genre, builds consistent fictional worlds and always tells a good story. The Dread Empire’s Fall has a lot in common with other series of its kind—notably, David Weber’s Honor Harrington novels and Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga. It is less wedded to the C. S. Forester model than Weber’s work and has a harder edge than Bujold’s novels. The premise is that an ancient race got to all the wormholes first and imposed a ruthless clan-based aristocracy on all the sentient species in the galaxy. Wen the last alien overlord dies, chaos erupts in the empire. Think Russia in the post-Soviet era. The series is held together by two strong characters, the second son of a mercantile family whose talents are unappreciated by the aristocratic military leadership, and a woman from the mean streets masquerading as an aristocrat. Both are highly skilled starship commanders. They are attracted to one another but also highly competitive. This frenemy relationship keeps our interest through the series. If epic space opera is your thing, you will be hooked by The Praxis. ( )
  Tom-e | Jan 19, 2021 |
Surprisingly good. Not freaking fantastic, but really, really good.

Of course, I have to discount the opening which made me want to run and hide, saying, "no, no, this book is so not for me," with all its stuffy space fleet stuff, but once we got into everything else almost immediately after the slog of a beginning, I was hooked.

One really shouldn't judge a whole series based on the first 30 pages. I should know better. And I was right. The life on the planets set me right. We got to see how the rich versus the poor live in a very cool setup that satisfies, we got to get knee-deep in the politics, but what caught me most was the steady, careful worldbuilding. The alien species are interesting, but not as important as the political moves and the attempted coup.

Sound like standard stuff?

Well, here's where it gets kind of interesting. This came out in 2002 and yet I was getting some serious Battlestar Galactica vibes... as in the remake, the gritty terror. And then there was the serious satire and weakness of the ancient military and this one captain's obsession with football that matches the entire fleet's idiocy. And then there was the homage to the end of the Senate in Star Wars, some serious culture vibes that would make it into the later Mass Effect games, and much more.

It's almost like this book inspired all the modern breed of space operas. Not the single-minded pursuit of space opera, but the celebration of all the things surrounding a big space battle while also delivering on that space battle.

For that, I really appreciate the novel. The writing isn't always what I'd call fantastic, but the ideas and the steady inclusion of so many different aspects of SF in general WAS. I enjoyed it quite a lot ever since we got through the opener and actually grew to love it by the end. It snuck up on me. :)

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
This is what good literature should be like- engaging plot, solid characterization, solid character development. Williams uses a flashback format in an effective manner to keep me guessing, but with enough foreshadowing so that thinks make sense. I don't have to be completely astounded by what happens. (I'm looking at you, GoT.) A reader wants to enjoy where the plot is going, which means we can make some level of prediction as to what happens- even in science fiction, especially in science fiction, the characters have to be *real*.

However, I like a book that finishes. It shouldn't be "To Be Continued". This book quite definitely doesn't finish. Numerous key points are in no way answered or explained, and it ends in the middle of a battle. A solid series should have every book complete in itself, like Lewis' Narnia. I should want more of those characters and that universe, not more of the plot to understand what happened. There is no way to understand this story without reading - and buying - the next book. ( )
  Carosaari | Jul 26, 2019 |
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"Of course, following the Great Master's death, I will kill myself."
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"Space opera the way it ought to be [...] Bujold and Weber, bend the knee; interstellar adventure has a new king, and his name is Walter Jon Williams." -- George R.R. Martin The first book in the completed Dread Empire's Fall trilogy, followed by The Sundering and Conventions of War. All will must bend to the perfect truth of The Praxis For millennia, the Shaa have subjugated the universe, forcing the myriad sentient races to bow to their joyless tyranny. But the Shaa will soon be no more. The dread empire is in its rapidly fading twilight, and with its impending fall comes the promise of a new galactic order . . . and bloody chaos. A young Terran naval officer marked by his lowly birth, Lt. Gareth Martinez is the first to recognize the insidious plot of the Naxid -- the powerful, warlike insectoid society that was enslaved before all others -- to replace the masters' despotic rule with their own. Barely escaping a swarming surprise attack, Martinez and Caroline Sula, a pilot whose beautiful face conceals a deadly secret, are now the last hope for freedom for every being who ever languished in Shaa chains -- as the interstellar battle begins against a merciless foe whose only perfect truth is annihilation.

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