Post by firstname.lastname@example.org Post by William Hyde Post by email@example.com
I have just finished re-reading the three original books of "Dread Empire's Fall" by Walter Jon Williams, starting with "The Praxis". The last part of the blurb on the back of this describes it as "Space Opera at its finest". I always thought of WJW as slumming it a bit in writing anything that could be described as Space Opera. Speaking as a lover of Space Opera in the tradition of E E Smith, I was entertained and held in suspense, especially in the final book "Conventions of War" (it's been long enough since I read them that I couldn't remember the details of the plot).
I do feel that there is a bit more mixed in here than pure Space Opera - there is a murder mystery, the love lives of two people, and a tour through the criminal underworld of two planets (probably the most sustained bit of world-building in the series, since the spaceships and missiles are nicely thought out but not otherwise very surprising). The technology and the extent of known space is static throughout the story ("all that is important is known"), but we see scope for innovations in tactics. If this is a sausage dinner prepared by a celebrity chef, I don't think the difference in the standard product is so much in the quality of the meat as in the variety and quantity of the other ingredients.
Agreed on all counts. I've read these more than once, which is rare these days.
Admittedly, you have to turn your science filters to "Off", but that's standard for space opera.
A bloody good read.
Seconded - very well written, lots of layers, etc. I really enjoyed all three in this trilogy.
I have now finished "Conventions of War" published 2005, and agree with
the comments of the previous posters in this thread. A bloody good read.
In addition to previous comments I think that the initial setup, the
death of the last Shaa and consequent turmoil and intrigue were
amplified by the social structure created by the Shaa which produced
characters such as Tork and that this was as much a factor causing an
enjoyable read as the variety of ingredients.
I was surprised by the conclusion to the trilogy but quickly decided
that it was a pleasant change not to have all loose ends tidied up in a
lived happily ever after ending. Out of curiosity, I skimmed the opening
pages of "The Accidental War", the other Walter Jon Williams book I have
and was pleased to see in the Dramatis Personnae that the characters are
those from the "trilogy" so took to the web. At Fantastic Fiction this
book is described as the fourth book in the Dread Empire's Fall series,
(which may have begun as a trilogy) and I was pleased to see that there
are also another two books after Conventions of War and before The
Accidental War, "Investments" published 2012, which continues the story
of Martinez, and "Impersonations" published 2016, that of Sula.
As no-one commented on the term trilogy, I wonder if anyone here is
aware of these later books or if they have been read. I am looking
forward to reading these but think I will read Investments and
Impersonations before the "fourth book in the series".