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Conventions of War (Dread Empire's Fall #3)
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Conventions of War

(Dread Empire's Fall #3)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,413 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Revised, Improved, and at a Lower Price!

“Walter Jon Williams has succeeded in creating the perfect contemporary space opera, revved up and ready to take the SF genre by force with all the artistry and panache one could ask for.”

“This is a hugely fun ride. It has empires crashing, civil wars, aliens, humans, clans, plucky young heroes and villains fighting battles
Kindle Edition, 752 pages
Published December 21st 2015 (first published September 27th 2005)
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Peter Walton-Jones
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, space-opera
While it will not stick in the memory as a major classic, I have enjoyed this series. Conventions of War concludes the sequence and provides a satisfying finale. The characters (Sula and Martinez in particular) are interesting and engaging. The themes of class and difference are important to the story but do not take it over.

The space travel narratives are interesting for the wormholes and the gravities experienced during accelerations. Williams fills in the time gaps here with a murder mystery
May 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Conventions of War is the third and final novel in Williams' Dread Empire's Fall series. Lady Caroline Sula leads the guerrilla war against the rebellious Naxids on the Empire's occupied capital world of Zanshaa, while Lord Gareth Martinez commands a battleship in the Fleet task force waging a war of attrition on the enemy's economic heartland a la Sherman's “March to the Sea.”

I can't say much more about the plot without giving it away, but I can say the book wraps up the series with an endin
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This completes my re-read of the original Dread Empire's Fall trilogy. Good story about the disintegration (at least the beginning thereof) of an empire when the despotic power that holds it together disappears.
One thing I like about this series is that Williams doesn't posit any magical advanced technology. With the possible exception of wormholes for interstellar travel, everything is an extension of known science and technology -- no FTL drive or communication, no inertial compensators, no ne
Pie Pie
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The final book in the Praxis series. I call it the Praxis series because all three books wrestle with the idea of final knowledge. The Praxis teaches that everything important is known and that intelligent species can take comfort in that fact instead of believing in the unknown. This book deals with not only the spiritual side of this ideology but also the logical side of it. It explains the former without getting preachy and outright invalidates the latter.

Even though the book's ending isn't 1
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me almost three years to finish this series, but i'm glad I did.
On the surface this book seems like a typical science fantasy/space opera epic. Humans have left earth and colonized space and joined an empire comprised of many other races. But when the empire falls apart, humanity goes to war with its millions strong armed forces. But this story isn't about a struggle vs good and evil, instead it focuses on the surreal lives of the people in command and the absurd social situations they
Jun 06, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
I've been thinking a lot about what makes this series more successful than Implied Spaces, and eventually realized that you can tell the two heroes and one other character are smart, because nobody else in the whole 3 books ever has a bright or novel idea. I realize it's a stagnant society, but that seems extreme.
Larry Kenney
Another great book in the series. It wasn't quite as enjoyable as the first two in the series, I thought, as the relationship between Martinez and Sula has changed quite a bit, but over all a very enjoyable read. I'm hoping for more in this series!
May 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
No real tension. I never felt like I got to understand the Shaa or Praxis enough. I knew our "heroes" would win battles and didn't really care one way or the other.
Jun 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long live the Praxis! I WANT MORE!!!
Carl Barlow
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A satisfying enough conclusion to the trilogy. Still flavoured with Patrick O'Brian (though not as beautifully written), still lacking any real feeling of grit (for all the guerrilla warfare, it remains somehow very sanitary and clean), still sporting aliens that may as well be humans in strange bodies, still pretty easy on its main protagonists (especially the man, and even though the female goes through a lot, nothing ever really phases her and she still comes out more-or-less on top), still l ...more
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting choice of ending. Really liked the idea of the complacency of a millennial space empire, but found the other races under-developed and felt them worth exploring more - especially the Shaa
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked Conventions of War. I liked the realistic characters, the dialogue, the pacing, the insurgency storyline on Zanshaa, the battles between spaceships, and the ending. There isn’t anything that I dislike about Conventions of War. Five Stars.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The plot gets a bit bogged down. We don't have fresh new worldbuilding to explore and so the pace lags a bit. The main characters are still interesting, but we lack a proper supporting cast.
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This is book three. Read the series in order.
Once you've finished book one there is no chance that you'll fail to get here and no words of mine would stop you reading it.

Nor should they, these books are truly fantastic.

Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a re-read for me. I read the Dread Empire trilogy years ago and rembered it as a rousin space opera. My memory was that it was an excellent epic with lots of space battles. Well, my memory was partially correct. There are some space battles, though nearly as many as I remembered, which are all brilliantly plotted and presented. There is also a substantial amount of politics, class warfare (particularly relevent with today's "1%" disputes), and interesting aliens, which I had forgotten ne ...more
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
The series comes to an end and better than some. We have a rebellious population in the capital, and some shortcuts are taken when the typical foolishness we have come to suspect from the command structure is again displayed.

At some point there should have been a great many other smart people out of the billions to draw from. There wasn't and that is sad. Further, much of this book follows the tale of the second hero, and the first is relegated to a mystery that there are too few clues for all t
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The civil war continues in Conventions of War, and it sure felt like it could've come to a close a lot faster. This was one of those books at I feel could've been cut down by half, ad it would've benefited enormously. The whole murder-mystery bit on Martinez's ship was a colossal waste of pages for me. I do enjoy a good mystery, I even enjoy a good genre-blending mystery (see Leviathan Wakes or Something Coming Through for good examples) but I did not like how that element came out of nowhere in ...more
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To avoid spoilers I will avoid discussion of the plot here as much as possible since this is the third book in a trilogy. That said, it is difficult to talk about whether the conclusion to the Dread Empire's Fall arc succeeds or fails without SOME possible spoilers.

Certainly, I enjoyed this book as much as the previous two but its ending seems to leave open a great many questions. So many, in fact, that I believe that the author plans to return to this universe at a later date. Also, it is hard
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never read a sci-fi book before when I picked up the first book The Praxis from a book sale in my town. I started reading the book expecting a cheesy space story, I was surprised and glad that I was wrong.
I was actually enjoying the book immensely when half way through the first book I was dismayed when I found out that it was actually the first book in a trilogy! I immediately ordered the other two online and read them both within two weeks of getting them.
The characters of Martinez and S
Bill Mead
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review applies to the three books in the series, which are really one whole story. The story gets started slowly, but by the time I got to the end of the third book, I couldn't put it down. Now I am going to miss the characters I have gotten to know so well.

The story is well written for the most part, with lots of great detail and a well fleshed out universe.

Why not five stars? The characters from other species are pretty flat and cartoonish. I can't imagine a universe where all these races
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It starts out really slow, almost painfully so, but by the middle the pace has picked up considerably. As usual there's a lot of political intrigue and character drama, and surprisingly enough there's a murder mystery tossed into the mix as well. While it kinda throws off the pace a little bit, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it was handled, and it was quite complementary to the plot, to be sure. And its all tied together with a wonderfully crafted climax.
Of course, this book seems to ha
Lynnda Ell
Conventions of War is a fitting end to the Dread Empire's Fall. Lady Sula and Martinez manage to keep the war going from their own unique bases long enough to throw momentum towards the loyalists. As in real life, the ending is just the prequel to the rest of the story. Even though a temporary peace breaks out, Mr. Williams leaves plenty of room for another three-volume book in his universe. I hope he sees fit to write more stories for this series.

By-the-way, if you're interested, may rating fo
Jan 25, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SciFi combat, hard science fans
Shelves: scifi
A good but not great close to a fine trilogy. I enjoyed the wide-ranging space opera but felt like there could have been more interesting areas to explore. The society and structure of the empire was ripe for cataclysmic changes but everyone seemd ready to revert to the aristocracy over the common man theme. The heroes are pretty much Terran but I thought there could have been some really interesting non-Terran characters. Maybe he will develop this in future stories--he seemed to leave the door ...more
Luka Novak
Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, military
Decent end of a trilogy. Main characters continue to struggle with orthodoxy everywhere, despite showing their ideas are superior. Post war end is book's best part. Instead of happy ending we get more realistic one and instead of universe changing to what we think should exist we see old wolrd reaserting itself.

The book is not as strong as previous two but brings story to an end, ties up major loose ends and open threads. And there are enough seeds for next conflict should Williams decide to con
Jan 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent end to the Dread Empires fall trilogy, although I feel there is definately more exploring to do in the universe Williams has created. Conventions has more of the great 'realistic' space battles which made the first so much fun, it still suffers of course from the female character being a bit too mercenary in her affections, and the male character being deliberately reticent in pushing himself forward as the real hero, but both were believable characters
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The third in the series and a thoroughly enjoyable wrap up to the saga. Out of the three books I perhaps enjoyed 1 and 3 the best, feeling that 2 was less than the others. 3 is quite long and has many subplots that eventually wind around to the climactic space battle and denouement. By the time all is done Lady Sula and Martinez are not to be easily forgotten.
Lars Klander
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great conclusion to a solid trilogy

Well considered, well researched, and well implemented. I have never understood why this series was not more highly though of. The blend of battle and politics is excellent and the human relations are extremely well documented.

Great read. All three of them.
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The actual plot/story ending to the series is rather obvious from some time in the second book on, and there were really no surprises, so the weight of this final installment rests on the characters. Sadly, their ending is not one I liked - it left me feeling kind of empty and disappointed. Still, a good read, and totally worth it if you've already started the series.
Adrian Hunter
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
hard science fiction is where i live. so conventions of war, with non relativistic travel and hard gees and decelerations was good for me. the two story lines of martinez and sula meshed nicely, and the waging of both a guerrilla war and space battles changed things up often enough to involve and make you want the next chapter.
May 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My husband encouraged me to skip over the entire murder mystery subplot on board the spaceship. I did and I ended up skimming plenty of the space war strategy and battle events as well. I got tired of Sula on planet but that certainly ended up with a bang (more than one). I liked the ending very much. It was a bait and switch in the best sense. First book of the series is my fave.
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Walter Jon Williams has published twenty novels and short fiction collections. Most are science fiction or fantasy -Hardwired, Voice of the Whirlwind, Aristoi, Metropolitan, City on Fire to name just a few - a few are historical adventures, and the most recent, The Rift, is a disaster novel in which "I just basically pound a part of the planet down to bedrock." And that's just the opening chapters ...more

Other books in the series

Dread Empire's Fall (4 books)
  • The Praxis (Dread Empire's Fall, #1)
  • The Sundering (Dread Empire's Fall, #2)
  • The Accidental War (Dread Empire's Fall #4)