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Conventions of War

Dread Empire's Fall, Book 3
Narrated by: David Drummond
Series: Dread Empire's Fall, Book 3
Length: 23 hrs and 25 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (93 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The universe has fallen into bloody chaos now that the dread empire of the tyrannical Shaa is no more - at the mercy of the merciless insectoid Naxid, who now hunger for domination. But the far-flung human descendants of Terra have finally tasted liberty, and their warrior heroes will not submit. Separated by light-years, Lord Gareth Martinez and the mysterious guerrilla fighter Caroline Sula each pursue a different road to victory in tomorrow's ultimate battle - for the new order will be far more terrible than the old... unless one last, desperate stratagem can hold a shattered galaxy together.

©2005 Walter Jon Williams (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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Getting into a groove

I am writing this review only after listening to all three books in the Dread Empire's Fall trilogy. So in some ways it may comment on the series as a whole, but with specifics of this book.

See my reviews of the first two books for comments on the universe that Williams sets the story within.

As this is the last book in this series of three, it's hard to review it properly without the potential for spoilers. So beware as I will touch upon plot details that have been carried through the entire series.

Much as before its a mixture of space battles, romance and family drama. Caroline Sula as guerrilla leader was interesting and enjoyable. Garath Martinez’s story line morphs into a murder mystery. At first I found this a bit off putting, but in the end enjoyed the genre switch mid-stream even if the sub-plot didn’t really impact the larger story. However, upon reaching this point in the series, I found I was much more interested in the deeper details of the universe and not wanting it to be one space battle after another.

One significant negative of the first two books is addressed in this one. The universe initially seems to be populated by nothing but cardboard cutouts that are unable to think on their own. blindly do as their are told and show no concept of learning from, or adapting to, their chaotic environment. All of the great ideas spout from the minds of Martinez and Sula alone. However, starting in the second book and very much continuing in the third book, we find other characters actually have brains and being able to contribute to the tasks at hand. This was a welcome improvement and sets the tone for style even after this initial three book set.

I will say that while the main plot line is resolved, the story of the romance between Martinez and Sula is left unresolved at the very last moment. I found that quite unsatisfying. I felt as if the rug had been yanked out from under me on the last few pages. It felt tacked on. I suppose this was done to leave things unresolved and available for a plot line in the continuation of this story by Williams.

As with the prior two books, the narration was very good and enjoyable.

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Great book, but

It’s a great book, but Mr. Drummond made every female, including Sula sound like some whiney high schooler. These were warrior women of the future, not some Valley Girl mall shoppers. Aside from that, great book, great reading. Thanks

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  • Michael
  • 09-28-15

Solid, well-plotted military space opera.

Solid, well-plotted military space opera with moments of vividly imagined scenes that raise it above the crowd. As military sci-fi, it excels in convincingly imagined space combat, built on plausible physics, as well as some visceral, cinematic scenes of ground combat. The main protagonists are strongly characterised but the book would be strengthened by a more fully drawn supporting cast, especially the non-human characters.