Scott Westerfeld, the acclaimed author of Fine Prey, Polymorph, and Evolution's Darling, reached new heights of excitement in last spring's The Risen Empire, and left readers begging for more. Now he comes through with the dazzling payoff in book two of Succession, The Killing of Worlds.
Captain Laurent Zai of the Imperial frigate Lynx is a walking dead man. Unjustly held responsible for the death of the Child Empress, sister of the immortal Emperor, Zai has been sent to fight an unwinnable battle. The Lynx must stop a vastly superior Rix ship from reaching the planet Legis, a suicide mission that will almost certainly end in oblivion for Captain Zai and his crew.
On the planet Legis below, a Rix compound mind--a massive emergent AI formed from every computer on the planet--as been isolated by their Imperial blockade. But the mind has guided a lone Rix commando, Herd, to the planet's frozen north, and will soon order a desperate attempt to seize a polar communications array and break the blockade. Herd is a single warrior against an Imperial army, but moving silently behind her is the intelligence of an entire planet.
Ten light-years away, Captain Zai's true love, the psychic (some say mad) Senator Nara Oxham is engaged in a deadly game of political intrigue. From her position on the Emperor's War Council, Senator Oxham must find a way to forestall the Emperor's final solution if the blockade is broken: a nuclear strike to destroy the compound mind, which will also kill millions of Imperial citizens. She suspects that the Emperor has a hidden weakness discovered, by the mind, a secret so dangerous to his immortal dynasty that to prevent its discovery the Emperor is willing to countenance the ultimate crime. . . .
The killing of worlds.
With this powerful conclusion to the first story arc of Succession, Scott Westerfeld confirms his stature as one of the leading writers of high space opera.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
After Westerfeld's excellent first installment, The Risen Empire (2003), in which a far-future empire of 80 worlds depends on its ruler's ability to give his most loyal subjects immortality, this concluding sequel comes as something of a letdown. That said, the author does a superb job of depicting an escalating space battle between human and rival Rix (cyborg) forces, with its constantly amazing but logical weapons and tactics, as well as political maneuvering back at the imperial capital. Vivid characterization and a witty, laconic style lift this far above the space-opera average. Readers, though, will need to go back to the first book to understand what makes the struggle between the empire and the Rix significant to meet Laurent Zai, brilliant space captain, whose allegiance to the emperor is weakening, and his lover, Senator Nara Oxham, who believes that the promise of immortality is choking human evolution. Without this personal perspective, the displays of military hardware come across as merely clever. At the end, huge promising and threatening changes have just begun. Despite the billing as the second half of the story, some may suspect that there's at least a third half lurking offstage.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Not a Second Novel, Simply Part 2
I enjoy a rollicking space opera,, especially with a hard science foundation, and that’s what the author, Scott Westerfield supplies in “The Risen Empire” and “The Killing of Worlds.” Taken together they constitute a single, very enjoyable novel. Taken apart, they are only disappointing fragments: the first for ending what seems like not so much a cliff hanger ending as a mid-paragraph screeching halt, the second (this volume) for beginning in the midst of a storyline that is made utterly proof against comprehension by the absence of the first volume. I don’t know who pointed a finger at this long novel and said “cut here.” But if it was the author he should feel utterly ashamed of his lack of integrity: a novel has a beginning, middle and end, and neither of these books survives this test: they are not books 1 and 2 of a saga, they are parts 1 & 2 of a single novel split asunder for reasons of greed. I can think of no other reason for these books to be packaged as they are.
A fun and worthy conclusion.
This exciting book nicely ends the Risen Empire duo-logy. I still think this should have been released as one book, but that's besides the point. A great scifi.