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Embers of War

(Embers of War #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,109 ratings  ·  155 reviews

From BSFA Award winning author Gareth L. Powell comes the first in a new epic sci-fi trilogy exploring the legacies of war.
The sentient warship Trouble Dog was built for violence, yet following a brutal war, she is disgusted by her role in a genocide. Stripped of her weaponry and seeking to atone, she joins the House of Reclamation, an organisation dedicated to rescuing sh

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published February 20th 2018 by Titan Books
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Manuel Antão
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Space Opera Made Simple: " Embers of War" by Gareth L. Powell

I can't believe all the people who want to see the SF establishment have a hack at Iain M. Bank's Culture novels. If ever there were novels that I hope Hollywood will never be let anywhere near it's those ones. The books are usually quite long and always involve considerable subtlety. Seeing that rendered down to a brainless action movie would just be heart breaking. Worse wo
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gareth Powell’s new space opera Embers of War is the story of the reformed warship Trouble Dog and her crew. After participating in a terrible genocide that brought an end to a brutal, destructive war, Trouble Dog leaves her sister warships behind and joins the House of Reclamation, an interstellar Red Cross-like rescue organization. With new captain Sal Konstanz and a small crew of medics and rescue workers, Trouble Dog is assigned to rescue the survivors of the touring ship Geest van Amsterdam ...more
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually stayed up far to late in order to finish the last few chapters like a little kid because damnit I needed to know what happened. Tensely plotted, interesting world created, great characters (Trouble Dog is a magnificent vengeful star of delight).
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites-books
*** I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much too, Titan Books for the opportunity to read and review Embers of War. ***

Whoa, what an amazing and fantastic book was Embers of War was for me. I absolutely and thoroughly loved and enjoyed everything about this book, it had everything that I love in sci-fi books. Plus when I heard this was a space opera book I had to check it out. I really don't want to go into any details about this book because I
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this space opera there are many sentient races in a loose organization called the Multiplicity with human space referred to as the Generality. Within those is the House of Reclamation, a human-created organization that comes to the rescue of spaceships and their crews in trouble, either through accident or attack. We start the action here following the Trouble Dog, a Carnivore class battle cruiser that was sickened by her role in war atrocities and quit to join the House. The Trouble Dog and ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
I really quite liked this. The lighter, redemptive feel was refreshing after some of the grimmer SF I've read recently.

The pacing was great and everything moves along well. I absolutely loved Trouble Dog, and her flawed captain, Sal, was a great compliment. I'm not sure that I liked having all those POVs written in the first person, but that is a matter of personal taste. Also, the whole storyline relating to Ona Sudek felt a bit unnecessary when taken as part of the whole. I would rather have
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story opens with an horrific act of brutality to stop a war, then continues years later where members of both sides live in an uneasy peace. The author presents different viewpoint characters from both sides of the former conflict, Sal Konstanz (the captain of the ship Trouble Dog), Ona Sudak (a poet), Ashton Childe (a spy for one of the sides), and Trouble Dog (a former warship involved in the war crime).
All these characters are brought together when someone unknown fires at a cruise ship t
I really enjoy a good space opera and this has everything I could wish - great characters, brilliant starships and a thoroughly entertaining plot set in a variety of fascinating settings - plus mysterious and wondrous alien artefacts. There are hints of something else in the shadows ensuring that my attention is caught for the rest of the series, although the characters and the strange 'Gallery' have done more than enough to hook me. Gareth L Powell writes very well and is an excellent teller of ...more
This was one of those books that I had seen some promo for so I stuck in on my wishlist to get to "eventually". Then Booksandpieces talked about it in a wrap up which ended up being more of an excited squeak so I had to buy it and read it immediately!

I'm glad I did as it's possibly the best book I have read in a long time. In fact, as soon as I finished it I wanted to start again. And that's something that never happens.

We have multiple points of view in here, from the Captain of Trouble Dog, Sa
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This is everything I want in a story. Sentient space ships facing moral dilemmas, excellent character building, quality universe building, interesting histories, deep personal issues facing the characters, intense and engaging inner and outer struggles, and some of the best spaceship warfare ever! Loved it and highly recommend to readers of SciFi and for those who normally skip SciFi too. This story will appeal to readers of all genres I think.
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I really enjoyed this - great if you're looking for some escapist, character-driven SF set in a really interesting world.
Francesca  Barbini
What I love about Powell’s style, is that he doesn’t mess about. He can take you straight into the action and make you feel you belong there.
The prologue of Embers of War set the scene. It goes straight to the point. Quick and dirty like Captain Deal’s orders.
From chapter one onward, you are taken deeper into the action thanks to a skilful use of first-person narrative - this switches from character to character, chapter to chapter. It can be a hit or miss, but Powell allows you to settle in qui
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vigorous space opera peering into war and guilt - but not so much so as to detract from the action. Banksian (if that's a word) flavours, and plenty more to do. Swallowed it in a short space of time, will no doubt enjoy the next as well.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The soul of great literature surely lies in an imaginative and grounded presentation of identifiable persons involved on a stage of aspiration and conflict recognizable to the reader. The protagonists must reside in an ethical world, even if they be monsters their lack of human compassion or virtue should be comparable to more decent standards. The classics of world literature exemplify the creative artist’s successful mastery of this environment. From Austen to Zola readers are blessed with an ...more
Tim Hicks
Hey, I *like* sentient spaceships. I've devoured all of Banks and Leckie and Asher and others.

And superficially this is similar. It bops along well, with action but also some moral dilemmas and crises. The Trouble Dog is good, Nod is tedious, Clay is a cardboard all-anger-all-the-time, Konstanz is weak but credible, ..

The genocide bit was important to the plot, but I didn't get much out of the brief handwaving about why it was necessary. Probably something like "We saved lives by bombing Hirosh
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adore stories about sentient ships. I have a huge soft spot for stories about salvage crews. And anybody who can paint a setting as big and bold as the excesses of the Culture will have a little piece of my heart forever. Gareth L Powell has created a galaxy peopled with many races and cultures and imbued with a sense of history in which humanity is only a very recent participant. We only ever – at best – scratch the surface of the world-building.

Fast, furious and fun. There’s a couple of asp
light space opera (not necessarily in tone but more in little world building, lots of hand waving, following few typical characters, action, secrets)
lots of action, twists and turns, surprises, the usual continual raising of stakes of space opera and the clear Banksian overtones, all in a fairly moderate under 400 page romp; volume 2 definitely of interest
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You want to read this book. You may not like it, it may make you uncomfortable, but you want to read this book. Even if you are not a big fan of military sf, you want to read this book. It's almost like a descendant of Ann McCaffrey' "Ship Who ..." series and David Feintuch's "The Seafort Saga" series.

It's not pretty. It makes you think about the horrors and legacies of war and the stupidities of those who wage war. It makes you think about your place in the universe.

The writing is spare, power
Understudy to the meistersingers

Draw an equilateral triangle. Write "Iain M Banks", "Alastair Reynolds" and "Ann Leckie" at the vertices. That pretty much gives a feel for this book and its influences/ancestry/sources of plagiarism. From the side linking Banks and Leckie, author Gareth L Powell takes sentient starships, leaning more towards the smaller scale of the latter. Also from Banks there is that New Labourish feel of being right on but also being able to play with guns. From the side link
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The thing that I enjoyed most about this book was the author's willingness to connect the dots, no matter how far apart they appeared to be when first shown. As a result, everything you read in this book will matter later, with very few exceptions. That keeps the reader on his or her toes.
I also enjoyed the very interesting take on artificial intelligence. Basing an AI on a partly organic brain makes a lot of sense. Basing it on cells from both humans and dogs was a new twist, and an interesting
Christopher Taylor-Davies
Refreshing new Space Opera, with a thoroughly engaging protagonist called Trouble Dog. Loved it.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Boring, weak characters. I mostly skimmed it the farther into the book I got. I just couldn’t care about the characters or the plot.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Embers of War is the first book in a new series by UK author Gareth L. Powell, and it gets things off to a terrific start. Part character driven fiction, part Mil-SF, there’s a bit of Ian Bank’s Culture in the sentient starships, and a enough action to keep things moving along in the twists and turns that the crew of the sentient starship “Trouble Dog,” need to take to survive to accomplish their rescue mission when a thousand-passenger liner is attacked in a system full of planet sized alien ar ...more
Jeremy Szal
In everything I read, I'm looking for one of the following: Great, three-dimensional characters that drive the narrative, an expansive and immersive world, and a dark, sinister world state that has glimmers of hope and redemption scattered throughout. Embers of War has all of these things, and does them brilliantly.

The main cast of the story is made up of broken, partially traumatized people who are looking for ways to do better in a universe that's been damaged by an on-going war that's killed
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This was achingly good.

Fascinating world, fascinating possibilities.

It was also nice to see humans broken/warped in particular ways that were still human. Complicated, flawed, with imperfections right alongside strengths... but not crazed. Not psychotic. Not useless.
It was refreshing to see PTSD treated with humanity and respect.

Thought-provoking, in a number of different directions - and engaging enough to keep me focused on a "can mostly still think" pain day.

Go forth. Read.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: titan
Intriguing space opera with lots of twists and turns that I kicked myself for not anticipating sooner (tho to Gareth L Powell's credit, there were so many red herrings that I was constantly second-guessing myself!) The writing is wonderfully descriptive, and I loved the concepts and definitely want to see where our ragtag group of heroes will go next. I wish I could say more about specifics but there are so many cool surprises from the get-go that it's hard to talk about the plot without giving ...more
Jon Adams
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is space opera at it's finest. Characterizations, world-building, dialogue, mystery, action, intense space battles, and, at the heart of it all, the morality, or lack thereof, of war.

It's part one of a trilogy, but there's not a cliff hanger you'll be waiting a year or more to see resolved. It had an excellent conclusion that leaves you wanting more.

This isn't just a great sci-fi book, it's a great book, period.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Books about sentient spaceships are my jam. Trouble Dog is part of the House of Reclamation, an org that rescues ships in distress, regardless of affiliation. When Trouble Dog and her crew receive a distress signal from a ship in a disputed system, they go to investigate. But they aren't the only ones converging on this escalating incident. There is no dawdling in the book; we go straight into the action and stay there throughout. It's a fast and fun book.
LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)
Three years ago, Conglomeration and Outward forces were at war. One of their most terrible battles was fought on and around the planet Pelapatarn. On the orders of her superiors, Captain Annelida Deal directed Conglomeration ships to lay waste to everything on the surface of Pelapatarn. The planet's sentient jungle would die, as would hundreds of thousands of civilians and both Outward and Conglomeration troops, but Captain Deal's superiors believed that this one terrible move would end the war, ...more
Johan Haneveld
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
8,5 This book would be great material for those dipping their toes in the field of science fiction and space opera. Most SF books can be a little daunting, big concepts, technobabble, the sense one has to be an insider to really get the story. I even suspect some authors to use dense technical language to signal their books are for serious SF-fanatics only. This is the opposite of that. So much so that for the first half of the book I myself suspected it of being a little bit slight. There were ...more
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Lit Chicks Podcast: Embers of War w/ special guest Gareth Powell! 3 4 May 16, 2018 02:58PM  
Gareth L. Powell is an award-winning author from the UK. His alternate history thriller, Ack-Ack Macaque won the 2013 BSFA Award for Best Novel, spawned two sequels, and was shortlisted in the Best Translated Novel category for the 2016 Seiun Awards in Japan. His short fiction has appeared in a host of magazines and anthologies, including Interzone, Solaris Rising 3, and The Year’s Best Science Fi ...more

Other books in the series

Embers of War (3 books)
  • Fleet of Knives (Embers of War, #2)
  • Light of Impossible Stars (Embers of War, #3)
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