Dread Empire’s Fall Books in Order: How to read Walter Jon Williams’s series?

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Written by the American author Walter Jon Williams, the Dread Empire’s Fall series is a military science fiction/space opera series. Set in a future in which the powerful Shaa species has conquered the universe, the story begins with the death of the Shaa. The Naxids, the first species they conquered, wanted to take over but a war began. To stop the Naxids, the other species must rely on Terran naval officers Caroline Sula and Gareth Martinez to win before it’s too late.

How to read the Dread Empire’s Fall Series in Order?

There is not one, but two Dread Empire’s Fall book series and a few standalone books.

I. The First Dread Empire’s Fall Trilogy

  1. The Praxis – The empire of the Shaa lasted 10,000 years. Years of terror, infinite violence and oppressive, brutal order. Now The Shaa, rulers of the universe, began to commit ritual suicide when it became clear that their minds would accept no further information. Near immortality was their one, great mistake. And so began the war between the Naxids, the oldest client race of the Shaa, who believed themselves inheritors of the empire, and a frail alliance of other races, including humanity.
  2. The Sundering – The Dread Empire of the Shaa is no more. But freedom remains elusive for most, as the Naxids plan to fill the vacuum with their own bloody domination, and have already won a shattering victory. But two heroes survived the carnage at Magaria: Lord Gareth Martinez and Lady Caroline Sula. Yet their cunning, skill, and bravery may be no match for the overwhelming enemy descending upon the loyalist stronghold of Zanshaa…
  3. Conventions of War – The universe has fallen into bloody chaos now that the dread empire of the tyrannical Shaa is no more. 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 Lady 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…

II. The Standalone Dread Empire’s Fall Books

  1. Investments (novella) – 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.
  2. Impersonations – Having offended her superiors by winning a battle without permission, Caroline Sula has been posted to the planet Earth. 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.

III. The Second Dread Empire’s Fall Trilogy: The Praxis Series

  1. The Accidental War – It’s been seven years since the end of the Naxid War. Sidelined for their unorthodox tactics by a rigid, Captain Gareth Martinez and Captain Lady Sula are stewing in exile. 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 no one planned, no one expected, and no one knows how to end.
  2. Fleet Elements – 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.
  3. Imperium Restored – Gareth Martinez and Caroline Sula have decisively beaten the forces of the corrupt Zanshaa government. It seems all there’s left to do is to travel to the capital of Zanshaa to reunite the empire under the banner of the Restoration. Before they can sweep up the pieces, though, it’s revealed that any advance would spring an enemy trap. To make things worse, their opponents have more resources than Martinez and Sula could have imagined, and a superior force is now aimed at the heart of the Restoration.

if you like our article about the Dread Empire’s Fall reading order, don’t forget to bookmark it! You may also like the Polity series, Odyssey One, the Old Man’s War

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