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Betrayer of Worlds (Fleet of Worlds #4)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  1,360 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Ringworld was not Louis Wu's first adventure...

For the trillion Puppeteers aboard the Fleet of Worlds, past crises have returned and converged: the rebellion of their human slaves, the relentless questing of the species of Known Space, the spectacular rise of the starfishlike Gw'oth, the onslaught of the genocidal Pak, the megalomaniacal scheming of a sociopathic Puppeteer
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 2011 by Tor Books (first published October 2010)
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I didn’t like this as well as the three preceding ones in the series that represents a prequel to 1970’s Ringworld. But in for a penny, in for a pound. It still satisfies my craving for space opera with big stakes for competing or cooperating alien races and fascinating technologies. If you’ve been reading the series, you will want to read this. It brings Louis Wu on the scene for the first time, a central figure on the later exploratory mission to Ringworld. If you have not read from this prequ ...more
Nov 23, 2010 seak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, arc-review
The Known Space universe is a place I've become very impressed with recently. It is full of aliens and ideas I'd never seen before and I like it.

Larry Niven and Edward Lerner have teamed up again for a sequel to Destroyer of Worlds (2009) [US] [UK] and another prequel to Ringworld (1970) [US] [UK]. Betrayer of Worlds (2010) [US] [UK] is the fourth in this series and as far as I'm aware, also the final installment...for now. :)

Ringworld has made famous the idea of worlds circling a star, a result
Feb 13, 2012 Ric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(One more Known Space book to end a Niven jag. And none more fitting than this direct prequel to the classic Ringworld which closes the loop of the Ringworld and Fleet of World series.)

Betrayer of Worlds is all about the Puppeteers and the Gw'oth. The Puppeteers are the favorite "sock" puppets in Fleet of Worlds. They were targets of the revolting humans of Nature Preserve 4, and of the fearsome Pak protectors in earlier books. Here, their flight from the exploding galactic core comes athwart w
Maddi Hausmann
Three and a half stars, interesting plot but I clearly was missing some context. The cover of the book said it was a prequel to Ringworld, but from the reviews on the back cover, there's another book (Fleet of Worlds) that I obviously missed.

The usual set of talking heads with no bodies. Even when the main human male falls for a women, he thinks about her with his brain instead of his other head. I just don't find those kinds of characters complete; it's like they're big ten year olds or somethi
Oct 03, 2010 Erika rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at:

I am reviewing a copy provided by the publisher.

Nathan Graynor has been to war and survived only to become an addict. Nessus is an alien that requires the assistance of a very specific person, but decides his son might do just as well. When Nessus rescues Nathan from a miserable fate, he also cures the physical ailments caused by withdrawal on a machine invented by his father and informs the ex-soldier that his real name is Louis Wu.

Mar 31, 2013 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Betrayer of Worlds is a great example of science fiction popcorn: delicious, and you can't stop once you've started. Continuing that analogy, while it's a good snack between meals, it wouldn't stand on its own so well, and here too, where this shines is as a character study of the pre-Ringworld Louis Wu, and a further exploration of the character of Nessus.

Niven is of course the master of ultra-mega-big idea SF, and the Fleet of Worlds series as a whole does do an excellent job explaining what w
Wendy Howard
Sep 06, 2014 Wendy Howard rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, kaiwaka-library
This is the story of Louis Wu and how he came to be mixed up in the Fleet of Worlds' business. If you've read the Ringworld series, you'll already know of him; I hadn't, so he was completely new to me and that was fine. Nessus brought him in to find Louis' stepfather, who we've met before in this series - but it turned out to be not-that-easy, of course.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, go and read the three books in this series that come before it - I think it's pointless reading this b
Feb 12, 2011 Alexandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
This review initially appeared at Dreams and Speculations. Thanks to TJ for having me as a guest reviewer!

Louis Wu is dragooned by the alien Nessus into trying to help his species, the Puppeteers, from the possible menace of another species, the Gw'oth. Meanwhile all sorts of machinations are going on within the various species, with potentially disastrous results for all of them.

Brief Version:
I was expecting a grand space opera/adventure. What I got was something that tried to be that b
Some serious issues here. Some of this is specific to Destroyer of Worlds, some to the series in whole:

(view spoiler)
Sep 23, 2012 Gerd rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid Space Opera that did waver a bit around the mid-turning point, for me anyways.

Two things I didn't like:

1. The German publisher decided to call it a Ringworld novel (it isn't it's rather a Known Space novel, with only a short mention of the Ringworld), which set me off to wrong expectations.
2. They didn't mention that it is part of a series, and while I got most of the references to past Known Space stories I felt that I was missing a huge chunk from the main story by not having read the (u
Rex Libris
Jul 12, 2015 Rex Libris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This whole series, and especially this book, are a great look into the race known as the Pupeteers. You get to see them for the scheming, manipulative cowards they are; and how the herd mentality props up the insane. After this comes Ringworld, and you will view the original in a completely different way.

Normally I hate attempts that try to tie a series of different works together; e.g., Foundation and Robot stories. But Niven pulls it off rather well for the above reason, that he illuminates th
Mar 08, 2014 Brad rated it liked it
Not as good, imho, as the one right before it, but it did develop some interesting dynamics within the puppeteer's power plays. Seems to be very human-ish for an alien species, and I would have liked to have seen it develop in a more alien-centric way like the smart eels. They, on the other hand, really stole the show, albeit not as well as they had in the third novel. It wraps up with a mind-wipe which kinda blows but we know him from his future self and he didn't remember anything anyway so at ...more
James Beach
I really wanted to like this more. I've enjoyed many of Larry Niven's novels and his overarching universe of Known Space. I've also enjoyed his collaborative novels too, including those with Jerry Pournelle.

This one really didn't do that much for me. Perhaps it's that its merging a couple of different series while bringing one to a close. Or perhaps this collaboration is more lumpy than others. Whatever the reasons, the characters that I'm interested in are too rare, don't get to do that much,
Jul 09, 2012 Phyllis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Space opera! Can the Gw'oth be trusted? What are they up to? The Citizens are never up to any good and now one of their own is playing rebel? Only the most suspicious humans can exist in this known universe.

Nothing really new. And although it has a beginning, development and and end there's an opening wide enough to get several more novels through before the series ends.

So read it if you've enjoyed the earlier books. Read the earlier books if you like space opera but haven't read them first. It'
Booth Babcock
The Fleet of worlds series limps to a close...I don't know if this book was weak or if I am just tired of the series, but I struggled a little bit to get through this one. Niven is clearly trying to tie off some series loose ends and line all the characters up for the Ringworld Books. Since Ringworld was written like 30 years before the Fleet of Worlds, the stories don't have obvious connections, and so I feel like he had to twist the story around to get everyone into the right places to lead in ...more
That was much better. Betrayer of Worlds was a good read and it kept my interest. I realised these stories might be coming about because Niven had mentioned having an outline for what happened to Known Space. These books were trying to fill in some of that information. But he seriously got distracted. The other problem is these stories happen before events "Major events" happen in the time line. So there is a bit of shoe horing / cramming of the story to fix what we know happened from reading th ...more
May 14, 2012 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a bit torn about this one; it was a good novel, a fine read, a nice addition to the Known Space series, but it wasn't the book that I wanted and expected to be a wrap-up of the Fleet of Worlds series. It tells a good story, but doesn't give closure to many of the questions and characters that were left hanging at the end of the previous book, DESTROYER OF WORLDS. New characters and situations are introduced and I enjoyed reading the book as an individual story, but was left just a little dis ...more
Apr 14, 2011 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed-series
The story certainly manages to tie up loose ends for the various protagonists, getting the pieces into position for the Ringworld quartet. I think something essentially "Niven-esque" is lost in his co-authored "Fleet of Worlds" quartet, though. Perhaps it is difficult to wring more tales on a grand scope out of Known Space, or the rules of the universe have become too confining, or the collaboration was not a well-built one, but I often felt something difficult-to-define was missing in these sto ...more
Emmanuel Gustin
This is another installment in the series of pre-quels to Ringworld created by Niven and Lerner, but I found it a faintly disappointing one. Niven has never been known for rich psychological characterization, his best works have are grounded on the audacious imagination that that produced technologies and societies on a dazzling scale. His weakest, it seems, are limited to complex interplanetary politics and lengthy interplanetary wars. This one, I fear, belongs in the latter class. It is an ent ...more
I did really enjoy this, but not as much as the previous volume. When I finished that one I was chomping at the bit for this one, but I felt pretty matter-of-fact about completing this one. Yes, I'll read the next (I believe concluding) volume, but I didn't feel like I had to jump on the computer and order it immediately as I did this one. Anyway, it was a good addition to the series and sets things up for the next one, which is maybe all that could really be hoped for.
Jan 24, 2017 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2011 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is another of the novels and stories Niven seems to be writing with co-authors, filling in the details of his Known Worlds universe. It's a good read, and the return of Louis Wu is always fun, but I fear Niven is wrapping up his world and plots too neatly--here we have Louis Wu and Nessus, so this is a prequel to the Ringworld series, but we also have characters and situations from other series including Sigmund Ausfaller and the Protectors: where will it end?
TheIron Paw
A very good finish to the Fleet of World series. The series, or at least the last 2, should be read in order. A good plot with the usual collection of interesting characters. My only complaint is that the ending seems sort of contrived, although this may have been necessary to fit in with Ringworld (this series is a prequel to Ringworld, which of course was written years ago). On the whole, the series is better than any individual book so I'd recommend reading them all.
The authors have crossed the line between writing the kind of hard science fiction they would want to read, i.e. Not pandering to their readers, to largely abandoning any attempt to build a consistant and engaging plot line. Because tthe authors wrote a novel that, particularly in its later half, degenerates into a sketch of their imagined white board, the reader is left floating adrift. You cant see the forest through the trees, and you can barely see the trees.
Joe Burke
Aug 03, 2013 Joe Burke rated it really liked it
If you are reading the series, you should stop before this one and go read the Ringworld series first. The previous books in Fleet of Worlds happen before the Ringworld books and this one happens after the Ringworld series. It's very confusing to try to read this one unless you remember Ringworld a lot.
Mar 28, 2011 Justin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These books just keep getting better as they go. I'm pretty sure reading the original "Ringworld" novel that these novels are intended to precede in the story line would be a major let down at this point if I picked it up today.
May 29, 2011 Bruce rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
sorry, but the contradictions and inconsistencies rose up in this concluding volume like Noah's flood. the only rationale I can see for them is setting the stage for another sequence of books to renormalize the contradictions? well written but put-down-in-disgust frustrating too often. Not a good airplane book.
Friedrich Haas
Feb 20, 2013 Friedrich Haas rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I do not need to finish it to recommend it. Ever venture into Niven's universe is a delight of thought. Action, adventure, characters, yeah, yeah, all good, but lets get down to where he teases you with problems and forces you to actually think. In our own world where ignorance is popular, the Ringworld Universe is not only welcome, but needed to exercise the mind.
David Hill
Mar 12, 2011 David Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fourth book of the trilogy and the prequel to Ringworld, I enjoyed this one more than the last couple. But I think Niven is past his prime. Perhaps that is why he always works with a partner? I know he's done that for decades now, but his recent work is certainly not up to par with his early collaborations with Pournelle. In any event, this was a fairly enjoyable quick read.
Al Maki
Oct 18, 2013 Al Maki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the one hand I think it's hastily written, on the other I think it is the most interesting treatment of artificial intelligence I've seen and the idea behind it is wonderful. Niven continues to come up with fantastic ideas.
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Laurence van Cott Niven's best known work is Ringworld (Ringworld, #1) (1970), which received the Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics. The creation of thoroughly worked-out alien species, which are very different from humans both physically and mentally, is recognized as one of Niven's main strengths ...more
More about Larry Niven...

Other Books in the Series

Fleet of Worlds (5 books)
  • Fleet of Worlds (Fleet of Worlds #1)
  • Juggler of Worlds (Fleet of Worlds #2)
  • Destroyer of Worlds (Fleet of Worlds #3)
  • Fate of Worlds: Return from the Ringworld (Ringworld, #5)

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