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    Review of Dread Empire's Fall: The Sundering by Walter Jon Williams (see his website)

    Harper Torch, February 2004

    Review by Jennifer Vilches

    The Praxis Empire is embroiled in civil war as the Naxid try to take control. Gareth Martinez and Caroline Sula, two human heroes of earlier battles between the Naxid and the loyalists, work together from their respective ships to formulate new battle tactics to face the larger fleets of the rebels. Their relationship grows through these long-distance exchanges and sparks fly when their ships return to Zanshaa, the capitol planet. Will the ambitious Martinez be able to overcome the jealousy and inertia of his superiors and put their innovative plans into action? Will their romance survive Caroline's dark secret?

    The Sundering picks up where the first book, The Praxis, ended and the books should be read in sequence. The plot is a well-balanced mix of political maneuvering, exciting combat sequences, and romantic entanglements. This series reminds me of the space operas by Peter Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds with a slightly more manageable cast of characters.

    It's refreshing to read well-plotted space battles that pay attention to the laws of physics. The main characters are compelling and definitely have their share of flaws as well as virtues. Martinez is developed more in this book as he struggles to keep his arrogance and hot temper from thwarting his ambitions. Williams' has an easy to read writing style and the series so far has an interesting and not entirely predictable story line.

    See more reviews of novels by Walter Jon Williams.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/02/04

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