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In Conquest Born (In Conquest Born, #1)
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In Conquest Born (In Conquest Born #1)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,939 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Book club edition (11589).
Hardcover, 440 pages
Published 1986 by DAW
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Anila
Okay, so I've been staring at this book for a couple of months. Maybe three. I bought it at a library book sale on a whim, partly for the synopsis and partly for the awesome cover.

Seriously, take a good look at this thing. I adore it to bits and pieces. You can have all your new-wave abstract photomanip covers; I'll take the old-school sci-fi art like this. Just looking at it tells you so much - the characters' personalities are there in their faces and the way they stand. Anzha, the woman, is s
...more
Stephen
4.5 stars. This was my first C.S. Friedman book and I just got done re-reading it to see if it was still as good as I remembered it. Short answer: yes it was. In general, I would describe this as smart, plot-orientated, "psychological" space opera. The story revolves around two generals (generals isn't exactly correct but close enough) from two very different cultures that have been a war for a very long time engaged in a very "personal" vendetta. Anzha, an Azean, is an exceptional telepath from ...more
Jennifer
My favorite CS Friedman book, by a mile. Centuries of interstellar war between two genetically engineered super-races of humans comes to a crux in a personal vendetta between two warriors. It's engrossing, richly drawn... and compelling because it's asking us to question our own motivations and how they can be intertwined and hidden to us. Appeals immensely to those who favors strong heroines. A strong book about strong people with some excellently thrilling twists.
Kat  Hooper
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

If you like epic space opera with imaginatively detailed world-building and a focus on characters rather than gadgets, try In Conquest Born, C.S. Friedman’s extremely impressive first novel. This complex, sprawling story begins with the births of two enemies-to-be from two different worlds that have been fighting each other for generations:

Zatar, a Braxin, is bred for beauty and aggression because those are the qualities his brutal, elitist, and misogynist
...more
Cody
IN CONQUEST BORN is the greatest space-opera I have ever read, and I will even go so far as to say that it is the greatest space-opera penned by a human hand. This novel is the first foray I have into the multi-faceted, three-dimensional world of C.S. Friedman and I have to say that it was a pleasant experience and I've come away enriched in a way I never thought possible when it comes to the science-fiction genre.

The novel takes place far, far in the future in a galaxy that I can only assume i
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Don
No doubt about it, Friedman is a good author. Here she writes an intricately detailed, sprawling story, with lots of ideas. I really liked the previous book of hers that I read - The Madness Season. So I went into this one with high expectations.

Ultimately, I was a bit disappointed with it. It is a big epic story, focusing on two main characters, one on each side of rival human civilizations. My main problem with it was that it was so sprawling, I never felt that invested either of the character
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Ramsey Hootman
This is one of those books I've passed over on bookstore shelves for years. Finally downloaded a sample and was hooked. In a purely literary sense, it's pretty rough. But that didn't matter. It was clever, it was interesting, it was epic in every sense of the word, and it had me turning pages all the way to the end. Which is all that really matters. I'm a sucker for alien culture stories of any kind.

My one criticism is that the end is rather abrupt and, honestly, did not feel emotionally satisfy
...more
Andreas
Certainly impressive for a first novel, In Conquest Born details the struggle between Anzha and Zatar, prime representatives of their endlessly warring nations. The structure of the novel is unusual, as every chapter is somewhat like a short story in itself, often with different narrators, viewpoints and styles. The advantage is that exposition can be made from several angles. The disadvantage is a certain feeling of disjointedness as the device weakens the motivation to find out what happens ne ...more
Chris Moyer
In Conquest Born by C. S. Friedman is what I’d call a hardcore space opera. It’s not a quick read. It’s not a simple read. Complex names, concepts and characters fly fast and furious. It also feels like a plot on two levels.

First is the background, which is well enough developed to be a major part of the story. This is the Azean-Braxian war that almost seems to have alway been in progress, and has no end in sight. Azea and Braxi are both spacefaring civilizations of basically human form. They ha
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Laurie
I was excited to read this as I had loved this author's first book in the Magister series, one of the few fantasy novels that managed to engage me. The premise of In Conquest Born is intriguing: two far-future civilizations--both genetically engineered to evolve as two separate species so that they are hardly recognizable as human, are fighting an endless war far from earth in some distant part of the galaxy. The author builds complex, multilayered civilizations, each with their own mores and so ...more
Brendan
I've been a fan of Friedman for something like 15 years at this point, but I had never read her debut novel. I will say that for a first effort it is incredibly ambitious in scope, and overall I'm impressed.

However, the book falls short in several areas, not the least of which is the ending, which I will say (without giving anything away) left me totally unsatisfied. You could probably argue this point, but I would contend that there wasn't actually a resolution, which bothered me immensely.

The
...more
Vincent Stoessel
I did not realize till much later that C.S. Friedman was a female author. I hate to admit this but I avoided female SF writers as a rule because I was fearful of the story becoming a romance novel. Sad, I know. Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley were among the great female SF writes that really changed my mindset. Enter C. S. Friedman who's book I had enjoyed so much in the 90s. I hate to even say this but... Friedman writes like a man. Looking back now, it makes more sense now. His ... uh, h ...more
Deirdre
I actually wanted to like this but somehow it didn't work all that well for me.

The Braxana and the Azean have been at war for generations. Braxana have a complicated society that's obscure to all but the initiated. Azeans are masters of genetic science and have their own rules that are also complicated and strange. Neither like each other and both consider that they know best. Zatar and Anzha are two generals on each side and they have made this war their own.

Somehow it just didn't work for me,
...more
Janet
I believe that my paperback copy of this book is the original printing. I've had it for decades, and have always enjoyed it. When I downloaded it to my Kindle last week I was nervous that it would not stand the test of time. It did.

This is a complex, intense, original story of two warriors whose lives seldom touch directly but whose personal vendetta re-shapes their empires. Their relationship is one of hatred more passionate than most loves, and both are driven to greater and greater achieveme
...more
Natlyn
Friedman builds a portrait of two cultures in perpetual war and two extraordinary nemeses born of them. Characters are introduced and discarded by the dozens to fill in aspects of the culture; all building to two face-to-face meetings.

The cultures were interesting as thought experiments and analogies to our world but not much else. The characters were … there. I never engaged with either Zatar or Anzha (the nemeses) and really thought they should get over themselves. Actually I thought the whole
...more
Bookbrow
In Conquest Born is the excellent first novel from C.S. Freidman, an epic story involving two cultures and rivals. The culture and world building is realized through the very strong characterization of the two main characters. Friedman gives you a detailed battle of equals that intelligently moves towards its conclusion; minor characters punctuate the story adding layers and depth. Initially I had heard about positive reports about this book, and picked it up, the cover blurb really does an inju ...more
laurenpie
Plot too long and poorly timed

Contrary to other "low-score" reviewers, I actually did like the main characters. And the writing style is picturesque and enjoyable. My problem is with the too-long and poorly-timed plot. That and... (view spoiler)

I must say, the first several chapters are WONDERFULLY written. I LOVED the Kindle sample, but the whole book? No, I didn't like it at all
...more
Lucas K.T. Lee
This was Friedman's first novel, and it shows in the sense that it lacks the adroitness and polish of her later works. In particular, the world building is not as assured as in her later works (particularly the Coldfire trilogy).

However, there are moments of brilliance: the Braxana culture is exquisitely drawn, and the character of Zatar is a "magnificent bastard" that one either loves or hates.
Fred
This was far from being on a level with the first trilogy of hers that I read. I would not recommend this book to anyone, ever. It took me a half a dozen tries to start and finally finish this book over a period of about two years. Once I really got into it, it wasn't the worst thing that I have ever read. But the first hundred pages, man they were painful.
Mark C
The two empires of Azea and Braxi have been at war for centuries. Now the Endless War is coming to a head as Anzha of Azea and Zatar of Braxi face off across the light years. One a vengeful telepath and the other a politically-astute warlord, they will wage war and battle to the death.. if not their own, then to the death of their respective cultures ad civilizations.

This novel came highly recommended from several friends, so I am sorry to report I was not nearly as captivated with it as they we
...more
John
Feb 27, 2012 John rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: scifi
A story told over a span of decades. This is exactly the kind of story I normally thrive on. And there is no doubt that I liked this book. There is, however, something ineffeable that detracted from my ability to give it a five.

Whether it's the dramatically mysognynistic outlook of the Braxana, or the conclusion, (view spoiler) I cannot say. The sto
...more
Kris
This is a book that I consider a future classic. It was a stand alone story until 2004 when the author, C.S. Friedman, wrote a sequel. It can still be read as a stand alone novel and I think it is a superb story. It is a laser story with space empires, advanced technology, and aliens so all the basics are there to enjoy but that is not why it is so good. The plot revolves around two main characters Zatar and Anzha and as we learn who and what they are we learn who and what the 2 empires and cult ...more
Nancy
If you like your science fiction rich in character development and cultural exposition, and with a stronger emphasis on "fiction" than on "science", this is the book for you. I found it absolutely fascinating, so much so that I have read it more than once. The author does an amazing job of getting the reader to simultaneously root for AND be repelled by both of the two central protagonists. They hate each other and each can only win at the cost of the other, yet somehow we want to see them get t ...more
Daniel
First the negative, to get it out of the way:

This is not the first edition of the book, and yet there are rampant errors in spelling and punctuation. I don't feel that it is unreasonable of me to expect perfection in that. C.S. Friedman is a good writer -- not great -- but good. And she has editors at DAW, right? Then what is their excuse?

Anyway, despite some awesome ideas -- she really is a great writer and I loved the Coldfire Trilogy -- this novel falls short of being truly great. There was n
...more
Fantasy Literature
If you like epic space opera with imaginatively detailed world-building and a focus on characters rather than gadgets, try In Conquest Born, C.S. Friedman’s extremely impressive first novel. This complex, sprawling story begins with the births of two enemies-to-be from two different worlds that have been fighting each other for generations:

Zatar, a Braxin, is bred for beauty and aggression because those are the qualities his brutal, elitist, and misogynist culture admires. Ruthless, clever, and
...more
Gerard Coleman
An interesting book. I found myself getting more sympathetic with the warrior character, Zatar, over the course of the book. He was evil incarnate in the beginning but later his motivations become more understandable. Anzha, on the other hand, was more complex and nuanced over the course of the story. I could sympathize with her from the beginning, but grew to dislike but respect her as events, and her motivations, unfolded. I wanted her to win but not necessarily in the way that she did. I don' ...more
Jennifer
I read so little sci-fi that I don't even have a shelf for it. It's just so hard for me to get into, but every now and then I get past the first 100 pages and get totally transfixed, like I did with this book. The front cover quote says "a space opera for people with brains". That pretty much sums it up.
Charlotte
Interesting take on the human universe 10,000 + years on. It keeps you on your toes, and requires quite active reading. The reader is not spoonfed. Hints are dropped and things described that become important much later in the book. There are also unspecified time gaps during which important things happen that are not described, but it is assumed you can figure it out. An important background to the book is that the science of genetics has been highly developed for millennia, yet curiously babie ...more
Jamie
An interesting read, and every page is as dramatic as the title. It’s about two space-faring races who are perpetually at war. This has arrogant aristocrats, fierce warriors, devoted women, vengeful telepaths, conniving politicians, paranoid infiltrators and cunning assassins.

The book feels more like a collection of short stories than a novel. The writing is dense; this is an intellectual read more than an adventure story. I liked it, but it’s not entirely satisfying as a novel. The characteriza
...more
Amanda
For use of craft, I have not found anything better than C.S. Freidman's In Conquest Born. She so skillfully flows from omniscient narrator, to third person omniscient, to slamming you into first person. Each change in POV is carefully calculated, driving the plot forward while increasing your understanding of a character, which, in the discovering, contributes to the story as a whole.

I have never read anything else like it. I have re-read this novel many times, not only for the story itself, bu
...more
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Celia S. Friedman is a science fiction and fantasy author. She has also been credited Celia S. Friedman and Celia Friedman.
More about C.S. Friedman...

Other Books in the Series

In Conquest Born (2 books)
  • The Wilding (In Conquest Born, #2)
Black Sun Rising (The Coldfire Trilogy, #1) Crown of Shadows (The Coldfire Trilogy, #3) When True Night Falls (The Coldfire Trilogy, #2) Feast of Souls (The Magister Trilogy, #1) This Alien Shore

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“Civilized man longs for the illusion of barbarism. Either his culture fulfills this need by adopting its outer trappings, or he will be seduced by his first contact with a culture that does.” 10 likes
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