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Fleet of Knives

(Embers of War #2)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  452 ratings  ·  71 reviews
From award-winning author Gareth L. Powell, the second book in the critically acclaimed Embers of War space opera series.

The former warship Trouble Dog and her crew of misfits is called upon by the House of Reclamation to investigate a distress call from the human starship the Lucy's Ghost. Her crew abandon their crippled ship and seek refuge abroad an abandoned, slower-th
Paperback, 405 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Titan Books
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  452 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read
3.5 stars

I'm a bit torn on this one. On the one hand, I do like the story and the general premise. I like the idea of the sentient Trouble Dog and her whole internal conflict and rebuilding of her sense of place, but I also felt there wasn't quite enough of that here. On the upside, in Fleet of Knives the character that I felt was a bit too much of a sideline in Embers of War, Ona Sudak, reveals her importance to the overall story arc.

On the other hand, I continue to struggle a bit with the wri
3.5. Looking forward to the finale
I loved Embers of War but Fleet of Knives is even better! It's such an exciting, very well-written read, packed full of spaceships, aliens, battles, mysteries and menace. Arguably the stars here are the spaceships themselves and each has its own distinct character. Loved it. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
Paul O'Neill
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first in this series, Embers of War, just won the BSFA award for best novel. This sequel is every bit as good, and has me screaming for the next one. If you like sci-fi then you should be giving this a try.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trouble Dog (disreputable hound, and all the other wonderful names given to her by Nod) is back and just as funny, fierce and thoughtful as before. The massive fleet she and Sal Kostanz found on their last mission has found a purpose, and begins acting on it, to everyone’s detriment. (view spoiler)
The story moved quickly, and switched fr
S. Naomi Scott
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yet another fantastic outing for the Trouble Dog and her crew.

Fleet of Knives is the sequel to last year's Embers of War and follows on from roughly where the last one left off. A year has passed and following a debriefing and some repairs Trouble Dog and her crew are off on a shakedown cruise, ostensibly to make sure everything's running smoothly but also to give the crew a chance to patch up any psychological wounds they might still be suffering, when they're called on to rescue some merchants
The Trouble Dog and Sal Konstanz are back after the events of Embers of War, and specifically after a refit and rearm of Trouble Dog, they're off on another rescue. This time it's the stranded crew of opportunistic raiders who'd tried to loot an ancient and immense generation ship that an alien race had been preserving as a monument. All this while the Fleet of Knives gain a new commander, the previously introduced Ona Sudak, and a mission throughout human space that leads them on a collision co ...more
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-read
Fleet of Knives is the sequel to Embers of War, the second book in the Embers of War trilogy. This series is clearly space opera; it features a sentient space ship called Trouble Dog that has a cast of curious characters. The captain is Sal Konstanz, with crewmembers Alva Clay (a seasoned war veteran), Preston Menderes (the ship doctor who dropped out of medical school) and Nod (an alien with faces in the palms of its six hands).

The other important character in this book is Ona Sudak, which is t
Jeremy Szal
More scattered and less eventful than the first stellar entry, this is still a solid space opera with some very funky ideas and characters to care about.
The middle book in the trilogy started with Embers of War finds the warship turned rescue vessel 'Trouble Dog' and her crew flying to the aid of a team of mercenary merchants who ran into trouble on the way to a bit of snatch and grab from an abandoned (but not forgotten) generation ship. While in the high dimensional space that makes FTL in this universe work, something took a bite out of their ship, the 'Lucy's Ghost' and things only got worse after they popped out back into normal space.

Seregil of Rhiminee
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Gareth L. Powell's Fleet of Knives is without any kind of doubt one of the best and most enjoyable space opera novels I've ever read. I haven't read anything as entertaining and rewarding as this novel since reading Iain M. Banks and Neal Asher. Considering the huge amount of space opera novels being published each year, it's amazing to find a novel as fresh, rich and enthralling as Fleet of Knives. It has all the elements one could ever hope to find in epic
Bonnie McDaniel
This is the sequel to last year's Embers of War, and the author has definitely upped his game. It's a tightly written, well paced exploration of the consequences of what happened in the first novel, and it's not an exaggeration to say that everything goes kablooie. Powell is an author who takes every character and goes for the deepest twist of the knife.

When the book opens, the sentient warship Trouble Dog and her crew are recovering in the aftermath of waking up the Marble Armada, a 5000-year-
A worthy sequel to the first novel in this series, Embers of War (which I reviewed here). In that book, the spaceship Trouble Dog stumbled across a vast armada of sleeping warships and gave them a mission: to prevent further wars on the scale of the Apocalypse War that had just ended. Here, the ramifications of that suggestion are seen: that armada (now known as the Fleet of Knives) decides that the only sure way to do this is to destroy all warships (including the Trouble Dog which had awakened ...more
Reviews & Robots
Fleet of Knives is brimming with everything that makes a space opera epic—fast-paced chases through space, unseen enemies bursting from the pages unexpectedly, deep characters who struggle with their high-stakes lives, and a galaxy-scale setting. All together, it makes for an exciting, no-holds-barred ride through space.

Powell has continued the brilliance in this second addition to the Embers of War series, bringing us back to the characters we’ve come to know. There are deep histories with ever
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
“Courage is making the choice to forgive even if when when every nerve in your body cries out for vengeance.”


I have received this book for free from Titan Books in exchange of an honest review.

Fleet of Knives is everything Embers of War is and more. As Titan Books send me both book one and two, I was able to read these back to back. That felt so good. I was submerged in this whole futuristic world for about a week and being able to start the sequel right away contributed to my reading exper
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
2/10/19 Full review tk.

2/19/19 Oh, man, Book 3 cannot come fast enough!

I readily admit that I don't remember a whole lot from the first book, which was an intriguing novel of ideas that somehow lacked an ability to engage me emotionally. Fleet Of Knives certainly doesn't suffer from that problem! We open with Captain Sal Konstanz on a pilgrimage of sorts, with her ship Trouble Dog on overwatch. Sal is trying to patch things up with security officer Alva Clay after the events of the last novel, a
Mike Maurer
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Trouble Dog, where are thou?

I like the idea of sentient ships, one where their own moral code can be challenged. That is what we learned in the first book, why Trouble Dog works for the House of Reclamation. As Trouble Dog points out in this book, all humans are broken in some way. It is a matter of how humans compensate in groups for their flaws, building a more solid whole. For me, this a profound observation of a former ship of war.

I take the premise of this book to be: Careful what you
Plamen Nenchev
I hate to be the voice of dissent here—but Fleet of Knives suffers from several, hardly insubstantial flaws. The most serious one is Gareth Powell’s style of writing. Exactly like in the prequel and in his award-winning Ack-Ack Macaque, he uses different POVs to weave several plot threads into a climax at the end of the novel. The problem is that all POVs here sound the same: like solemn declarations of someone very prim, conscientious and politically correct (and therefore not particularly plau ...more
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading my review of the first in this trilogy, I noted how pleased I was it acted as a self contained story...well here we are with a sequel and I have to say I'm glad it arrived! As with the original, this is expertly paced and a real page turner as a result, telling the story from various first person perspectives. The ancient fleet that was discovered at the climax to the first book has taken a recommendation from the ship 'Trouble Dog' quite literally, and decided to wipe out all of humanit ...more
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another smashing book giving us the further adventures of Trouble Dog (oh! how I do love this sentient spaceship!), her captain Sal Kostanz, and (in my opinion) poor Ona Sudak ,who gets co-opted by the Marble Armada (aka the Fleet of Knives) to be their human representative.

We find not quite visible monsters in the higher dimensional void taking a piece out of the Lucy's Ghost, a trading/scavenging ship captained by Johnny Schultz; Trouble Dog escaping 3 of the White Knives by forcing herself in
Whistling Chris
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining read - I preferred this to number one in this series (Embers of War).

Personally I would like to spend more time exporing the worlds, the universe. A bit more description (yeh - I have never understood people saying Tolkien spent too long describing landscapes...) would be nice - but the first person narritive doesn't really allow for that.

And on the subject of the first-person narrative - I have to agree with several other reviewers here - there is no discernable change in tone
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-5, sf
Fleet of Knives is the second novel in the Embers of War series by Gareth Powell. It follows three main storylines – one with ex-warship Trouble Dog and its crew, who are sent to investigate a team that are in trouble and marooned in a barren ship, which is the second. In the third, war criminal Ona Sudak is saved from execution at the last minute to be the representative for the Marble Armada, tasked with enforcing peace at all costs.

Like the first book, Fleet of Knives works at a brisk pace, s
Josh Hamacher
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I've read several books lately where I really disliked one or more characters, but Ona Sudak is probably my most-despised character in recent memory. Which makes it truly unfortunate that she's the driving force behind the entire plot arc here. Don't get me wrong - this is still fine space opera and I'm very much looking forward to the next novel in the series. But beyond that, I'm driven to continue this series just in hopes that she dies a very slow and painful death.

There are definitely some
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This continues the "What do you do when you've done the worst thing possible" choice path.

Look. I'm not judging the Author here, I think there's actually legitimate reasons for the (view spoiler) But it did make it much, much harder to get into this book.

The main job of the crew, the space rescue work, gets them int
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I freely confess to being something of a Gareth L Powell groupie, books like this are the reason why. Fleet of Knives continues the tale of The Trouble Dog and her crew, rescuing stranded travellers in Space as part of the House Of Reclamation fleet. The story moves apace like it's predecessor, Embers of War, drawing you swiftly in with wonderfully drawn characters that you will frankly love or loathe. There are no wasted or unnecessary words and I loved them all. The Trouble Dog holds a place i ...more
Mr. P.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Trouble with Dogs

Trouble Dog is back with her crew in mourning and on cruise shakedown. Then comes the call from the House of Reclamation a ship is in distress on the border of Generality space with the Nymtoq.
At Camrose the alien fleet a million strong awaits a human commander so they can fulfill their purpose to end war. Who better than the commander in humanity's last war whose actions culled a billion sentient trees. Who else can make those hard decisions?
Mr Powell has given us more Tro
Paula Costello
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the second novel in Gareth Powell’s Embers of War series. I loved the first book and was keen to see where the story went next. I read Embers of War many books ago so the details were a little fuzzy in my mind but I thought this book did a good job of re-capping the important points and I quickly felt like I was right back in the story. The crew of the Trouble Dog returns and we are also introduced to some great new characters. I liked the new characters but my favourite is always going ...more
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Poor Trouble Dog (remember she is a warship that did not like what she had done and changed sides) Even a routine shape up flight after repairs turns into trouble. And not just trouble for her - trouble also for the ship they try to rescue. This changed view points throughout the book as danger from multiple fronts are revealed. There are new characters introduced and the crew of the Trouble Dog returns. Nod is still my favorite character and there is a big surprise when the ship goes off on the ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In my first review I said, "A delightful cocktail of Science Fiction that includes: war, sentient ships, ancient archeology, empires, various races, hyperspace, guilt, redemption and hard questions." Well for this book he adds inter dimensional monsters and ghost ships to the series.

My biggest complaint with the first book was the beginning, but I found this book to be much easier to get into. However, while I know this is the second book in a trilogy, I was expecting a little more from the endi
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moves story along from Embers of War. New villains are revealed, creatures (not human), who are attracted to scent of conflict. For some reason the beings allegedly trying to avoid attracting these creatures run around the galaxy causing massive conflict & inter species war, while weakenning what should be their allies against a common enemy. Characters suffer problem of revealing their love then immediately dying. Two parallel crews merge, so we have double of everything. Some great scenes ...more
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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)
  • Embers of War (Embers of War, #1)
  • Light of Impossible Stars (Embers of War, #3)