The empire of the Shaa had lasted 10 millennia. 10,000 years of terror, infinite violence and oppressive, brutal order, legitimised by The Praxis, the harsh code of ethics that they imposed on the races they conquered. But the Shaa began to commit ritual suicide when it became clear that their near immortality came at a price. For each Shaa there would come a time when their vast minds were no longer capable of absorbing new information: their memories were full. Now the Shaa are no more, but the terror and violence are only beginning. The death of the last of the Shaa leaves the galaxy-wide empire leaderless, and into this power vacuum flow the pretenders to the throne: the Naxids, oldest client race of the Shaa, who believe themselves inheritors of the empire; and a frail alliance of the remaining races, including humanity. And so, the story of a dread empire's fall begins...
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(178mm x 111mm x 27mm)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
This first volume in the Dread Empire's Fall sequence displays genuine ambition and imagination, with a galaxy-spanning narrative that glitters with invention and energy. Many have suffered under the brutal and corrupt regime of the Shaa. For thousands of years, their unbending code, formulated by the eponymous Praxis, has made a misery of the lives of millions. But a change is in the air as the Shaa grow disillusioned and begin to destroy themselves, despite their immortality. With the death of the regime, an explosion of chaos seems inevitable, and the void left by the passing of the implacable masters will not last long, as many pretenders jostle in a bid for power, including the Naxids, the old associates of the Shaa, who regard themselves as the natural successors. As events rush to a terrifying climax, a small band of individuals begin a fight for humane values in the face of the terrifying new order. This is a classic example of the new breed of space opera, re-inventing old science-fiction tropes: larger-than-life heroics acted out against a massive backdrop, with dauntless protagonists and evil villains engaged in a cataclysmic struggle and galactic power the prize to be won. Walter Jon Williams demonstrates such panache with this material that readers will be keenly awaiting the succeeding volumes in this highly promising sequence. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Walter Jon Williams
Walter Jon Williams is American, but was brought up in the UK. He has written SF novels since the mid-80s, and has won or been nominated for most of the major SF honours, including the Hugo and Nebula Awards. His novels include HARDWIRED, ARISTOI and METROPOLITAN.