Asimov's Foundation series, based on the ideas from the "Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire," starts with a 12,000 year-old Galactic Empire. The great Hari Selden has mathematically proven that the Empire will soon fall and a 30-millennium Dark Age will follow, but Selden's Foundation can shorten that time by a factor of 30.
This is the story of the formation and first few centuries of Hari Selden's plan, showing the transition of the Foundation from an academic encyclopedia foundation to (cynical) religious leadership to commercial empire. All is well with Selden's plan.
The Foundation trilogy is a bit dry, and the characters are quite one-dimensional and cartoonish. It may be more enjoyable if you think of it as a history book from the distant future rather than an adventure story. The envisioned technology was typical for the 1940's (computing your course across the galaxy with a slide-rule), but seems rather quaint now. One other complaint: Asimov got pretty wordy in places, to the detriment of the story.
I like Scott Brick as a narrator and he does a pretty good job with this.
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