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

(Dread Empire's Fall #3)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,712 ratings  ·  68 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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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  1,712 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This third book, originally conceived as a trilogy, is easily the best. (So far)

Everything about it is extremely satisfying even if it is very frustrating for the two main characters.

The battle on the homeworld, overthrowing the invaders, feels just like a more fantastic, more glorious version of the French Resistance during the WWII occupation, but thanks to the full weight thrown into the economics, the intrigue, great hacking, and the rising up of the population, it happens to work BETTER, I
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 end
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this author, especially This is Not a Game and its sequel, and I loved this book too, even though I didn't realize it was the end (instead of the start) of a trilogy. The Lady Sula character was wonderful, the people in the secret army she raised were also wonderful (Casimir, PJ Ngeni, Spence, McNamara, Sergei, etc.) I was very upset when certain ones died during the final battle against the insectoid Naxids who had rebelled and tortured to death 200 of Lady Sula's loyalist friends. Sula's ...more
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
Phil Kozel
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Quite a nice trilogy by Williams. I think this was the first of his work I read some decade or so ago. Difficult to categorize, but a largely feudal society consisting of five races the Shaa had subjugated thousands of years ago, and with the death of the last Shaa, civil war breaks out. On one side are the Naxods, an insectile species, and the other are the Fleet with the rest of the population. Our heroine Caro leads a bloody insurrection within the formal capitol, while our other hero dukes i ...more
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. ...more
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!
Jun 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long live the Praxis! I WANT MORE!!!
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.
Rob Trans
This is the best of the first three in the series. However, once again, the melodramatic description of the book used in its marketing is not entirely accurate.

This is an Age of Sail story set in the far future of space, although there is nothing particularly innovative about the science and weapons used by the various races. While the first two books contained a great deal of social commentary and aristocratic politics, this book focuses a little more on fighting the war. I thought we would ge
Jude Thaddeus
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is the ending of a great space opera with interesting, flawed characters overcoming obstacles and rising through the ranks. See my first two reviews for the rest of this series.

Lord Captain Martinez is a philanderer, a bit of an ass, and an unusually competent officer of the loyalist navy fighting for its life against the Naxid uprising. In concert with other officers, he develops new tactics which allow his side to best the Naxid opposition. Martinez oversees several brilliant victories,
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
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series was recommended as the best ever space opera. I don't think so. I still go with the Expanse series. It was very readable. I just really have some problems with the Peers (read wealthy nobility). I suppose if I could get past that, the rest of the book is very good. Again Lady Sula, who was left on the central planet of the former Shaa Empire in the last book, is proceding single handed against the regime of the rebel Naxids who have taken over after the death of the last Shaa.
G.S. Jennsen
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I admit I still have mixed feelings about this trilogy. Each book was compelling enough to keep me coming back to it, and the two main characters were richly developed and highly entertaining.

In the finale, I found the ground war to be more exciting than the space one, though Gareth, Michi and Sula teaming up to thumb their noses at thousands of years of tradition and do what it took to win the war was highly satisfying.

The sudden non-resolution of Gareth and Sula's relation on the literal last
Dec 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: possession
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dave Morris
Not terrible but not worthy of the series' excellent start. The book's first half is padded with a pedestrian police procedural that hardly deserves to be called a mystery, with the remainder being the story of Sula's life in the Naxxid resistance. The concluding space combat felt equally uninspired, and the characters' development felt frankly forced. Disappointing -- but worth the read if you've enjoyed the first two.
Rick Davis
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This was awesome! I really love the space war stories and the battles that take place on the planet too!
I accidentally read this series out of order: 1, 2, 4, and then 3. I think this one was the best so far and I’m glad I read it in this order. It was like a prequel to the series finale.
I’m ready for the next war now! Bring on the next series!
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.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful series, and this book is a great installment. Mostly the same characters, but plenty of new one. Good adventure, good battles, petty politics. I highly recommend these gooks. I wonder where the story will go from here, since the first 3 were all of a piece.
Ellen Gould-Silcott
Great book! Horrible ending.

The only reason I gave this fun, engaging book 4 stars is the abrupt, blunt ending. I knew the story had to end as it did, but it’s the slamming of the door that bothered me.
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.
Nov 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The third in third Dread Empire series, I may or may not go on to the fourth. The space opera part is fine. The star-crossed lovers part is tedious.
Zena Bethune
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding finish to this trilogy. Amazing world building, interesting characters, good blend of action and personalities.
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: reviewed, fiction
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
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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 (5 books)
  • The Praxis (Dread Empire's Fall, #1)
  • The Sundering (Dread Empire's Fall, #2)
  • The Accidental War (Dread Empire's Fall #4)
  • Fleet Elements

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