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The Phoenix in Flight (Exordium, #1)
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The Phoenix in Flight (Exordium #1)

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  211 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Thr first in a SF/adventure series that glitters with intrigue. As a 20-year-long plot for revenge comes to fruition, the sons of the ruler of the Thousand Suns are murdered, and he is taken prisoner. But the usurper's vengeance is incomplete. For one son was missing at the ceremony where the fatal blow was struck. And now the hope of the Thousand Suns rests in his hands.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 15th 1993 by Tor Books (first published February 1993)
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Sherwood Smith
Jun 17, 2009 Sherwood Smith added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: my-books, space-opera
Forgot to add this in when we re-released it.

On August 13, 1977 Dave Trowbridge and I sat down at his cool little carved table, with wine and other substances to inspire us, candles to write by, and began the Exordium saga. What a long, strange trip it was!

We talk about the process of writing and rewriting at John Scalzi’s Big Idea.

The short version is: we rewrote it in omniscient narrator, which it should have been in the first place, but in those days everything had to be limited third. So th

I wanted to like this book so much more than I did, but it's emblematic of my ongoing ennui about space operas. I used to love 'em unreservedly, and now and then I still come across one that blows me away, but lately, most of them are either kind of 'meh' or I just can't get past the cheesy juvenilia of "ADVENTURE! AMONG! THE STARS!"

(He says as he works on his own Adventure! Among! The Stars! novel...)

Maybe this is what happens when I start reading more literary and classic fiction - my standard
Sherwood Smith and Dave Trowbridge's five-volume space opera, the Exordium series (of which this is the first), is out of print, which is a shame. As the series begins, Jerrode Eusabian, Ruler of Dol'jhar and called the Lord of Vengeance, has set in motion a plot to assassinate Emperor Gelasaar of the Thousand Suns, along with his three sons. However, Gelasaar's youngest son, Brandon, escapes, and it's up to him to restore the House of the Phoenix to the throne Eusabian has usurped.

The universe
Sherwood Smith
May 17, 2011 Sherwood Smith added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, my-books
This one has a long history.

Basically, this storyline was first begun in 1977.
Dec 11, 2010 Estara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of space opera and great characters
Recommended to Estara by: Sherwood Smith does space opera
Shelves: ebook, read-in-2011
This revised edition (I was never aware of the original because I only discovered Sherwood Smith in 2004?/2006?) of a projected television show that never came to be - and from the scope I think they would have needed Gene Roddenberry's or George Lucas's clout to do it justice - stops exactly at the point where you want to read more because things are really taking off.

Having read the Inda series before this I was aware that when Sherwood Smith does epic, any characters may die no matter how muc
Mar 23, 2012 Brenda rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jacob Proffitt
Dec 17, 2013 Jacob Proffitt marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
At about the 1/3 point, I realized that this just wasn't my cuppa. I like some sci-fi, but I really don't appreciate space opera so much and this is an exemplar of the form. Indeed, this seems like a great tribute to space opera and something of a modernization/resurrection of the form (originally published in 1993, but significantly updated more recently). I greatly admire Sherwood Smith so I went against my preferences to give it a shot, so I'm torn that I just couldn't get attached to the boo ...more
Apr 23, 2008 Nick rated it really liked it
This first volume of the 5-volume Exordium series won't be for everyone, but it is a rich, well-planned story about a distant empire with roots on faraway Earth. The society's split between upper and lower classes that is shown in this volume is at the core of the overall story, and applies to the real world as well, with the differences between the ultra-rich and the rest of the world become more visible.
This first volume includes political intrigue, assassinations and space battles enough to k
Apr 08, 2010 Bronwen rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
The Bad guys are into torture and other nasty stuff, and the King badguy attracts all kinds of minor nasty characters. Was interested in the "good guy" characters enough to keep reading into the second book. But the nasty stuff just got worse, so I will not finish the series. skimmed the endings of all the books to see if it was worth it to get the final book. Nope, not going to read the rest.
May 16, 2012 Lorena rated it really liked it
Wow. I read these books I guess in the 90s and stupidly sold them (I was a huge used bookstore user). I've been looking for them since, but they were out of print. The authors are actually re-writing them as they publish them as ebooks. "This was to be Dunnett in space," Sherwood Smith wrote about the books, and I can see that. Space opera on a grand scale...
Vincent Stoessel
Sep 20, 2010 Vincent Stoessel rated it really liked it
Would love to read this series again in ebook format. Very complex but rewarding Space Opera before it was a genre. Very hard to find now.
Nobbynob Littlun
Jun 01, 2013 Nobbynob Littlun rated it really liked it
This review is for the whole series.

What stands out to me the most in this space opera is that not just technology has advanced, but society as well - and it focuses on the society. "Words used as weapons," the phrase goes.

To reflect this, the characters use psychological and sociological jargon as a matter of course, which can make it difficult to read at times. However, if you just file this away under the same heading as the technological jargon found in most sci-fi you can hand-wave it away,
The author has created an interesting, complex world and took me back to the space operas I read when I was much younger.
This is in a time in an unimaginable future where the roayl family has a disgraced younger son determined to avaoid his responsibilities.
Concurrent with his story is the unfolding of an inexorable plot against the empire and all who rule it.
The point of view switches around quite a bit and you see situations from a variety of angles. Fast moving. A real page-turner.
Apr 19, 2016 Castamere rated it it was amazing
I read Exordium #3 when I was 14 years old, and it is exciting book. It was book full of enigma and full of strange words, whose core I've started to comprehend on third or fourth time of rereading. My imagination has been captured by depth of thousand years of thousand cultures which have been united in single system. The book helped me to grasp that our technologies can't be separated from our arts.
Sorry for bad English :)
Ria Loader
Space opera meets noir and slapstick

One of my favorite space operas of all time. The writing is tight, it is well plotted and the storytelling is top notch. Memorable characters both heroes and villains, and a few ambiguous bad guys you love to hate. so happy this is out on kindle. I wore out the paperbacks.
Peter Tillman
Jan 01, 2017 Peter Tillman rated it liked it
B/B+ Workmanlike, guilty-pleasure stuff. I'd read another, but I'm not panting -- in fact, thought about abandoning this one a time or two, until I got caught up in it.

Only Exordium book I read, I think.
Laurel Bradshaw
"This was to be Dunnett in space." Sherwood Smith
Dec 07, 2014 Keith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF @ 27% when I realized I just didn't care about the characters, universe, or story.
Mar 25, 2012 Fiona rated it it was amazing
really really loved the whole series. Managed to find them in paperback, held on to them even when they started to fall apart and have bought them on my kindle - love the re-writes by the way
Nov 01, 2014 LeslieFH rated it did not like it
I failed to finish this book. I like space opera, but this one was extremely meh. Not bad, just... completely uninteresting.
Dec 28, 2011 Tamahome marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Space opera revamped for ebooks. Scalzi Big Idea article:

Seems wordy (the opposite of Joe Haldeman).
Jan 25, 2015 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: on-the-kobo
Still deciding if I'll read the next book, I think I will as I enjoyed this enough.
Liz Henry
Liz Henry rated it liked it
Jan 31, 2015
Sue rated it did not like it
Jun 01, 2014
Ian rated it really liked it
Dec 15, 2013
Ptaylorwilliams rated it liked it
Dec 28, 2014
Stacey rated it it was amazing
May 31, 2013
Robert Durham
Robert Durham rated it it was amazing
Dec 30, 2013
Jane Doe
Jane Doe rated it it was ok
Sep 08, 2016
Eva Gronroos
Eva Gronroos rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2015
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I am a writer, but I'm here on Goodreads to talk about books, as I've been a passionate reader as long as I've been a writer--since early childhood.

I'm not going to rate books--there are too many variables. I'd rather talk about the reading experience. My 'reviews' of my books are confined to the writing process.

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Other Books in the Series

Exordium (5 books)
  • Ruler of Naught (Exordium, #2)
  • A Prison Unsought (Exordium, #3)
  • The Rifter's Covenant: (Exordium, #4)
  • The Thrones of Kronos (Exordium, #5)

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