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Impersonations

Dread Empire's Fall

Walter Jon Williams

Nebula Award-winning author Walter Jon Williams returns to the sweeping space opera adventure of his Praxis universe with Impersonations, an exciting new novel featuring the hero of Dread Empire's Fall!

Having offended her superiors by winning a battle without permission, Caroline Sula has been posted to the planet Earth, a dismal backwater where careers go to die. But Sula has always been fascinated by Earth history, and she plans to reward herself with a long, happy vacation amid the ancient monuments of humanity's home world.

Sula may be an Earth history buff, but there are aspects of her own history she doesn't want known. Exposure is threatened when an old acquaintance turns up unexpectedly. Someone seems to be forging evidence that would send her to prison. And all that is before someone tries to kill her.

If she's going to survive, Sula has no choice but to make some history of her own.

Investments

Dread Empire's Fall

Walter Jon Williams

Unable to find a meaningful posting due to the hostility of his superiors, Captain Lord Gareth Martinez has accepted a meaningless post as Inspector General of Chee, a newly-settled world. Intending nothing more than a pleasant vacation with his family, he first stumbles across a murderous conspiracy, and then learns he must battle a literal cosmic menace that threatens to wipe out all life on the planet.

This novella originally appeared in the anthology Between Worlds (2004), edited by Robert Silverberg, and was reprinted in Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 101, October 2018. It can also be found in the anthology The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Second Annual Collection (2005), edited by Gardner Dozois.

The Praxis

Dread Empire's Fall: Book 1

Walter Jon Williams

All will must bend to the perfect truth of The Praxis

For millennia, the Shaa have subjugated the universe, forcing the myriad sentient races to bow to their joyless tyranny. But the Shaa will soon be no more. The dread empire is in its rapidly fading twilight, and with its impending fall comes the promise of a new galactic order . . . and bloody chaos.

A young Terran naval officer marked by his lowly birth, Lt. Gareth Martinez is the first to recognize the insidious plot of the Naxid -- the powerful, warlike insectoid society that was enslaved before all others -- to replace the masters’ despotic rule with their own. Barely escaping a swarming surprise attack, Martinez and Caroline Sula, a pilot whose beautiful face conceals a deadly secret, are now the last hope for freedom for every being who ever languished in Shaa chains -- as the interstellar battle begins against a merciless foe whose only perfect truth is annihilation.

The Sundering

Dread Empire's Fall: Book 2

Walter Jon Williams

The Dread Empire of the Shaa is no more, following the death of the last oppressor. But freedom remains elusive for the myriad sentient races enslaved for ten centuries, as an even greater terror arises. The Naxids -- a powerful insectoid species themselves subjugated until the recent Shaa demise -- plan to fill the vacuum with their own bloody domination, and have already won a shattering victory with superior force and unimaginable cruelty.

But two heroes survived the carnage at Magaria: Lord Gareth Martinez and the fiery, mysterious gun pilot Lady Caroline Sula, whose courageous exploits are becoming legend in the new history of galactic civil war. Yet their cunning, skill, and bravery may be no match for the overwhelming enemy descending upon the loyalist stronghold of Zanshaa, as the horrific battle looms that will determine the structure of the universe -- and who shall live to inhabit it -- for millennia to come.

Conventions of War

Dread Empire's Fall: Book 3

Walter Jon Williams

The universe has fallen into bloody chaos now that the dread empire of the tyrannical Shaa is no more -- at the mercy of the merciless insectoid Naxid, who now hunger for domination. But the far-flung human descendants of Terra have finally tasted liberty, and their warrior heroes will not submit. Separated by light-years, Lord Gareth Martinez and the mysterious guerrilla fighter Caroline Sula each pursue a different road to victory in tomorrow's ultimate battle -- for the new order will be far more terrible than the old ... unless one last, desperate stratagem can hold a shattered galaxy together.

The Accidental War

Dread Empire's Fall: Book 4

Walter Jon Williams

It's been seven years since the end of the Naxid War. Sidelined for their unorthodox tactics by a rigid, tradition-bound military establishment, Captain Gareth Martinez and Captain the Lady Sula are stewing in exile, frustrated and impatient to exercise the effective and lethal skills they were born to use in fighting the enemy.

Yet after the ramshackle empire left by the Shaa conquerors is shaken by a series of hammer blows that threaten the foundations of the commonwealth, the result is a war that no one planned, no one expected, and no one knows how to end.

Now, Martinez, Sula, and their confederate Nikki Severin must escape the clutches of their enemies, rally the disorganized elements of the fleet, and somehow restore the fragile peace – or face annihilation at the hands of a vastly superior force.

Fleet Elements

Dread Empire's Fall: Book 5

Walter Jon Williams

The Praxis, the empire of now extinct Shaa, has again fallen into civil war, with desperate and outnumbered humans battling several alien species for survival. Leading the human forces are star-crossed lovers Gareth Martinez and Caroline Sula, who must find a way to overcome their own thorny personal history to defeat the aliens and assure humanity's survival.

But even if the human fleet is victorious, the divisions fracturing the empire may be too wide to repair, as battles between politicians, the military, and fanatics who want to kill every alien threaten to further tear the empire apart. While Martinez and Sula believe they have the talent and tactics to defeat an overwhelming enemy, what will prevent their fellow humans from destroying themselves?