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In Conquest Born (In Conquest Born #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  2,372 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
Book club edition (11589).
Hardcover, 440 pages
Published 1986 by DAW
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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
Aug 25, 2008 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-space-opera
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
Jan 25, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Jun 11, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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
Jan 28, 2017 Carlex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Four and half stars
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
Aug 31, 2009 Cody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ramsey Hootman
Sep 02, 2013 Ramsey Hootman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 30, 2009 Don rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Chris Moyer
May 05, 2011 Chris Moyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 16, 2010 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
There's a certain flavor, I'm finding, with science fiction written by women during a particular time. C.S. Friedman reads much like Cherryh J. Carolyn or Melissa Scott. If you've enjoyed their works, you'll enjoy this one.

And goodness, did I enjoy this one. The worldbuilding reads a lot like Foreigner in a way that I can't really articulate. It unfolds piece by piece in a delicate tapestry of politics and intrigue. I'm definitely finding that "politics and intrigue" seems to be a vital componen
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.

Oct 12, 2009 Deirdre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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,
Vincent Stoessel
Aug 02, 2010 Vincent Stoessel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 21, 2012 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 17, 2008 Natlyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookgroup
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
Jan 06, 2010 Bookbrow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 31, 2012 laurenpie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-space
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
Lucas K.T. Lee
Apr 22, 2012 Lucas K.T. Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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.
Aug 21, 2011 Fred rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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.
Paul Russell
Mar 19, 2017 Paul Russell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a bit of a culture shock when I first started reading this book. Unless I'm mistaken, this is Friedman't first novel, and is done very well. The thing that got me when I first started it was it's complexity. She put a ton of work into the cultures and world building and I found myself almost overloaded with story details, but not in a bad way. Her descriptions are very good and as far as a first book goes, this one is more than worth the time. After I finished the first book, I picked up ...more
Oct 10, 2008 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space-opera
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
Jul 01, 2015 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely LOVE the characters in In Conquest Born. They have so many layers, some of which aren’t even revealed until close to the end. The characters are full of life: ambition, desire, fear, and hatred so strong it takes on a life of its own. Even the side characters reveal surprising depths. I always wanted to know more, and secrets came to light with great regularity.

The pacing is fantastic. I sat on the edge of my seat wanting to know how everything would come out. And while the ending w
Sep 04, 2012 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 20, 2011 John rated it really liked it
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
Apr 09, 2016 Mouselet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-fi fans
Recommended to Mouselet by: Arin Komins
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Indeed, this is epic. It is so epic I don't quite know what to say about it. I love C.S. Friedman and this book made me return to the beloved Coldfire Trilogy.

In Conquest Born is dark and grim and one does not always want Grim & Dark in one's life. But, regardless of my own life, this is a clever book and to think this was her debut... Incredible. The other reviewers have said it all: complex characters, sweeping worlds... The use and abuse of power was fascinating and to construct an entir
Anne Jindra
Sep 16, 2016 Anne Jindra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A political sci-fi, In Conquest Born follows Anzha, a natural born psychic whose parents are murdered while she is still young. A shadowed group seizes her and trains her to fear life, people and, most of all, to hate the Braxi. She's made into a weapon against their enemy race, pale and dark haired with a hatred of psychics. Her life's course might have followed this path either way, but the choice is taken from her, and she is created.

Her hatred is the driving force in her life as she seeks to
May 21, 2010 Kris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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)

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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.” 11 likes
“An uninspired ruler works to develop those relationships which will be most to his advantage. A great ruler determines the most desirable relationships and assumes them into being.” 1 likes
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