"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
Following The Accidental War, the second book of a brand-new series set in the Praxis—an epic mix of space opera and military science fiction, from a grand master of science fiction, Walter Jon Williams.
The Praxis, the empire of now extinct Shaa, has again fallen into civil war, with desperate and outnumbered humans battling several alien species for survival. Leading the human forces are star-crossed lovers Gareth Martinez and Caroline Sula, who must find a way to overcome their own thorny personal history to defeat the aliens and assure humanity’s survival.
But even if the human fleet is victorious, the divisions fracturing the empire may be too wide to repair, as battles between politicians, the military, and fanatics who want to kill every alien threaten to further tear the empire apart. While Martinez and Sula believe they have the talent and tactics to defeat an overwhelming enemy, what will prevent their fellow humans from destroying themselves?
Williams impresses with the second book of his sophisticated Praxis trilogy (after 2018's The Accidental War), more red meat for fans of high-quality space operas. After a financial crisis rocks the multispecies, interplanetary Praxis Empire, blame is placed on humans by one of the alien races that serve alongside humans on the Convocation, the empire's ruling body. The false claim is used to justify a power grab: humans are booted off the Convocation and every Terran spaceship is disarmed. But a few humans, led by war hero Gareth Martinez, preempt the attack by seizing control of a handful of ships in the Praxis Fleet. Now Martinez and his allies, including his former love, Lady Sula, are desperate to avoid the tragic fate of other species the empire has deemed rebels and strategize the best way to restore humanity's place in the empire. Williams never lets the tense action sequences overwhelm the complex inner struggles of his characters; he's especially good at portraying Sula's fears that she will be exposed as an imposter, having assumed the real Lady Sula's identity years earlier. Newcomers will have no problem getting oriented in this rip-roaring sci-fi world, and returning readers will be thrilled to dive back in.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Disappointing-Main battle only served to set the stage for the next book
Gareth, Sula and Co are supposed to be be tactical geniuses but the main battle between his fleet and Admiral Face Decay only consist of a few ambush that aren’t setup with enough story to make them meaningful and thus only take the enemy force done by about a fifth. Then they go straight into a pitched battle outnumber 2 to 1 and yes they use cool tactics to win but they lose 75% of their number. This is significant as the enemy admiral that was being held in a standoff has 200 ships and thus when factoring the reduced human fleet plus another chunk that hasn’t shown up yet for some suspicious reason means that for the final book gareth and sula will be outnumbered against the one admiral that on the other side that will use his tactics.
There was no good reason other that plot development that they had to fight the pitched battle. His reasoning is they are getting to close to their home base. Really dumb. The gorilla tactics of layer ambushes and misdirection should have been greatly expanded on to give them more impact on the battle an as a narrative element. As it was it was like ok here’s a few ambushes. Oh they didn’t kill everybody ok now let’s fight a stupid battle and get more of my people killed. A great deal more could have been done to divide up the enemy force and defeat them in detail. Like they could have disrupted another wormhole as the enemy fleet was going through. And then taken out some of each part that goes through or doesn’t. Many other things could have been done against the Uber conventional enemy admiral. The only reason the gareth lost so many ships was to further the later plot and that is not good writing.
Also Lamey has no reason to existing. It is never explained why Gareth’s brother tolerates his presence or brings him along with him. His only real purpose was to drive another wedge between gareth and sula right at the end.
Ultimately it had potential just really wasted