14 February 2006

Conventions of War by Walter Jon Williams

This is the third and final volume in Williams' "Dread Empire's Fall" trilogy. It's a great conclusion to a great series, and I recommend you read them all. The first two are The Praxis and The Sundering. Basically, you have a multi-species interstellar empire ruled by these immortal aliens who dominated all the others with a rigid legal system (The Praxis). The first book begins as the last of these guys commits suicide (they believed that immortality was a mistake). The empire almost immediately falls into civil war. The book follows two naval officers who end up playing key roles in the good (or "less bad") faction of the war.

It's great stuff. Both the main characters are interesting, flawed and heroic. The society is full of cool details. (My favorite example is that naval combat maneuvers are all totally scripted, and each ship is rated on how well they follow the scripted 'battle'. This creates issues when they have to actually fight.)

This final volume has some moving human drama, brutal war stories and amazingly neat and exciting space battles. Not to mention a whole lot of the heroes struggling against the rigid traditions of the empire.

I'll be putting this down as another inspiration for The Devil & The Deep, as well.

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