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Betrayer of Worlds

(Fleet of Worlds #4)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,871 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Fleeing the supernova chain reaction at the galactic core, the cowardly Puppeteers of the Fleet of Worlds have---just barely---survived. They’ve stumbled from one crisis to the next: The rebellion of their human slaves. The relentless questing of the species of Known Space. The spectacular rise of the starfish-like Gw’oth. The onslaught of the genocidal Pak. 

Catastrophe lo
Hardcover, 315 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Tor Books (first published October 2010)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  1,871 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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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 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
An addictive series about Niven’s universe. In it, stories that were published ages ago, as in the 1960’s are ingeniously connected to what’s happening in this series. This series is best read after the ringworld series and after the earlier story collections about known space.
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
(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
Oct 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, space-opera, 2010s
Betrayer of Worlds is the fourth book in the Fleet of Worlds prequel series to Ringworld. Out of the four books, it's the laziest one and was rather boring.

Nessus, the Puppeteer, decides to rescue a young Louis Wu from the dangerous civil war raging on Wunderland. He tells Louis he needs him to help stop a plot by Achilles, a power hungry Puppeteer, to destroy the Gw'oth, an alien race that has a colony right in the middle of the Puppeteer homeworld flight path.

Betrayer follows where Destroyer o
Oct 03, 2010 rated it liked it
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.

Dec 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
A complete bust. This series is pointless and does nothing to add to the Known Space, other than make the reader depressed and angry at the wasted time.
Mar 31, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
Brendan Coster
Apr 25, 2018 rated it liked it
About the same as the rest of the Tetrology - I'm not really sure any of them were great - but then I admit I'm kind of just ripping through them all by Audio book so I can sit down and enjoy Ringworld #5 and put the entire damn series to bed.

Because I do love Known Space, i rather enjoy Larry Niven, I like that nothing is black and white - good/evil, that people have actual wants/needs in his stories and that's what drives plot. But... he's really not a great writer, I'm not sure what influence
Eric Stodolnik
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A DAMN fantastic Known Space entry. This being (I believe) my 14th Known Space book to read (including the 2 short story anthologies, "Neutron Star" and "Tales From Known Space"), I even surprise myself to state that it is actually one of my favorite. Almost surely my favorite of the "... Of Worlds" series. Right up there with Ringworld and The Ringworld Engineers. Perhaps I loved it so much because it finally involved my two favorite Known Space characters, Louis Wu and Nessus.

Now I can't wait
Harding McFadden
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A good (kind of) ending to a solid series. Though a good adventure in itself, it pulls together the many narrative threads woven through the first three books to make for a fine, well rounded story. The characters are good, and used to good effect, with no one feeling tacked on for no reason other than to expand the page count. Likewise, it sets the stage nicely for the classic Ringworld, which I have no choice now other than to reread for the first time in 20 years, and the other books thereaft ...more
Rob Micensky
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 12, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 starts out of 5 - I read a hardbound from the library over the past few evenings after picking it up by chance at the library. It was appealing because it's been quite a while since I've read any classic style science fiction. Well worth the read, but not quite up to Ringworld, and not even in the same class as Mote in God's Eye. Still, I may pick up another one of the Fleet of Worlds books some day.
Anthony Colozza
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Well, I was just never able to get into this book. That is probably more my fault then the authors. I had not read the first 3 in the series and just picked this up and gave it a shot. Needless to say, that didn't work out well. I found it difficult to follow and never really made any kind of connection with the characters. So the lesson here is that if you like science fiction, these are not stand alone books and should be read in sequence.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
A worthy continuation of the Fleet of Worlds series. Well-paced action and further elaborations on alien societies. Giving it 3 stars instead of 4 simply because there were several instances of "Why did they do that? That was stupid. That character wouldn't have done that." Though I guess it's a tribute to the character development that I felt I know them enough to make such judgements....
Heath Lesjak
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable, though not quite as good as the one before it. I could tell that they had to bend over backward a bit to get the stories to line up with the first of the Ringworld set. I enjoyed the further adventures in Known Space! Now I have to decide whether I'm going to re-read the Ringworld trilogy, just so I can get to the last Niven/Lerner book set after Ringworld...
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very much an old-school Niven book! I had a great time reading this. So exciting to have old-style Niven back!

I have to go read Ringworld again after this, to see how Louis Wu the Louis Wu story fits together, along with Achilles and Nessus.

Recommended; I'm looking forward to the next (alas, last) book in the Fleet of Worlds series.
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Worst of the tetralogy. You have to read it to get the last book but it has little to recommend it except for setting up the grand finale.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nice, but not as good as the earlier volumes.
Gary Mcfarlane
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now that I have finished this series, may need to go back and read the Ringworld series.
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good and interesting continuation of the series. New developed characters which allow for more books in the future
Stephen Smith
Oct 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Moves the story forward. Still tying things together. I did enjoy it but the series is getting tedious for me. Not so much a criticism on the book rather how long series impact me. I love the stories but slogging through a series gets old.
Livio Bertacco
easy read but never managed to "catch" my interest at all
Oct 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Some serious issues here. Some of this is specific to Destroyer of Worlds, some to the series in whole:

(view spoiler)
Sep 23, 2012 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
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
Rex Libris
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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Read on its own? 3 5 Oct 13, 2013 10:26PM  

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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

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 (Ringworld, #5)

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