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Conventions of War (2005)

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3.84 of 5 Votes: 4
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0380820226 (ISBN13: 9780380820221)

Conventions Of War (2005) - Plot & Excerpts

Conventions of War is the third and final novel in Williams' Dread Empire's Fall series. Lady Caroline Sula leads the guerrilla war against the rebellious Naxids on the Empire's occupied capital world of Zanshaa, while Lord Gareth Martinez commands a battleship in the Fleet task force waging a war of attrition on the enemy's economic heartland a la Sherman's “March to the Sea.” I can't say much more about the plot without giving it away, but I can say the book wraps up the series with an ending that -- while not “happily ever after” -- was appropriate to the characters considering their previous actions.Williams did all the things in Conventions of War that entertained me in the first two books -- military space opera without the technical jargon, conflicted characters I cared about, and “realistic” spaceships and space warfare. Don't get me wrong, I love laser battles and “warp drive” ships like any good sci-fi geek, but it was interesting to read about the challenges starship crews face with high-gravity accelerations and decelerations, along with the months it takes to simply go from one end of a single solar system to another.If I had any criticism it would be the first two-thirds of the book felt like Williams was killing time before getting to the brutal fight for Zanshaa and the ultimate space battle with the Naxids. While Sula's guerrilla exploits against the Naxids were appropriate to the story (though a tad drawn out), the murder mystery Martinez had to solve seemed thrown in just to give him something to do until the final battle.That said, I still enjoyed the book and the series overall. While not as entertaining as book two ( The Sundering), it was a satisfying conclusion to one of the best space opera series I've ever read.

This review applies to the three books in the series, which are really one whole story. The story gets started slowly, but by the time I got to the end of the third book, I couldn't put it down. Now I am going to miss the characters I have gotten to know so well.The story is well written for the most part, with lots of great detail and a well fleshed out universe.Why not five stars? The characters from other species are pretty flat and cartoonish. I can't imagine a universe where all these races would co-exist under one empire for 10 thousand years, but perhaps, the problem is with my imagination. The main characters, which are mostly human, are thoughtful and pretty well developed, if not a bit self-absorbed. Still, it was a good read, and I would recommend it to anyone who has the patience to get past the first 100 pages or so of the first book.

What do You think about Conventions Of War (2005)?

The author creates tension between the two main characters that flows through the entire trilogy. But when it comes time for the emotional pay off, it falls flat on its face. I was thoroughly disappointed with this aspect of the ending.Otherwise, not a bad read.

While it will not stick in the memory as a major classic, I have enjoyed this series. Conventions of War concludes the sequence and provides a satisfying finale. The characters (Sula and Martinez in particular) are interesting and engaging. The themes of class and difference are important to the story but do not take it over. The space travel narratives are interesting for the wormholes and the gravities experienced during accelerations. Williams fills in the time gaps here with a murder mystery that is not crucial to the whole story but provides a glimpse into the future universe where creativity and the spiritual have been diminished and are illegal or at best unwelcome in the worldview of the powerful.The battle scenes are exciting and the detail is not at all tedious. Sula's leading of the armed rebellion on Zanshaa is exciting combat action story telling very well done. She is a very cool (and the best heroines) chick!This book was my favourite in the series.
—Peter Walton-Jones

To avoid spoilers I will avoid discussion of the plot here as much as possible since this is the third book in a trilogy. That said, it is difficult to talk about whether the conclusion to the Dread Empire's Fall arc succeeds or fails without SOME possible spoilers. Certainly, I enjoyed this book as much as the previous two but its ending seems to leave open a great many questions. So many, in fact, that I believe that the author plans to return to this universe at a later date. Also, it is hard not to feel that the series does not ultimately betray the promise of the title for certain values of 'empire'.I would be more willing to overlook these shortcomings if the author had been willing to trim a little. So many damn space battles! Oh well, it's a fun ride. If you like space opera and military sci-fi that doesn't insult your intelligence, you could do much, much worse than this series. WJW is a sci-fi author worth checking out.

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