Get Your Free Audiobook

The Praxis

Dread Empire's Fall, Book 1
Written by: Walter Jon Williams
Narrated by: David Drummond
Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins

After 30 days, Audible is ₹199/mo. Cancel anytime.

OR

Publisher's Summary

An infinite, sweeping saga of interstellar war - the first SF classic for the 21st century. The empire of the Shaa lasted 10,000 years. Years of terror, infinite violence and oppressive, brutal order. Now the Shaa are no more, but the terror and violence are only beginning... The Shaa, rulers of the universe, began to commit ritual suicide when it became clear that their minds - profoundly intelligent but limited - would accept no further information. Near immortality was their one, great mistake. And so began the war between the Naxids, oldest client race of the Shaa, who believed themselves inheritors of the empire, and a frail alliance of other races, including humanity. And so, the story of a dread empire's fall begins...

©2002 Walter Jon Williams (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What members say

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Peter
  • 24-01-15

Fantastic adaptation of a hard sci-fi space opera!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Praxis to be better than the print version?

In many aspects, yes. David Drummond delivers spectacularly on this title. He does an excellent job at creating many different voices for the large cast of characters. I was particularly impressed by the characteristic voices he came up with for the various alien species such as the Naxids and Torminel. He also does a great job expressing emotions without being too over-the-top. Volume and speed are also consistent, and as far as I can tell, the production quality is excellent.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Probably Gareth Martinez. His light accent is well done, and you can't help but be wildly entertained by his cheerfully shameless ambition throughout the book as he stumbles almost accidentally into heroism and fame.

Which scene was your favorite?

Probably the scene where Richard Li and Fleet Commander Jarlath are on the ring station and encounter some Naxid plotters. David Drummond's portrayal of an enraged Torminel can only be described as a masterpiece of the narrator's art.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The final scene of the Gredel flashbacks was chilling enough in print, but when brought to life in audio, you can really get a feel for the raw emotions that our protagonist must have felt at that point.

Any additional comments?

I have really enjoyed this title, both in print and audio. I can't wait to hear Drummond narrate the next entry, The Sundering.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Richard Casto
  • 16-09-19

The start of an engaging series

I am writing this review only after listening to all three books in the Dread Empire's Fall trilogy. So in some ways it may comment on the series as a whole, but with specifics of this book.

The entire series is set in a future universe that in many ways pulls from various bits of world history. This ranges from a feudal system based social structures of medieval Europe all the way up to how WW1 was NOT the war to end all wars. The story starts with everyone lives in a highly stratified class based society. Combine this with a relatively static political environment and a ruling class and military that is more about providing a home for the upper crust citizens, upward mobility, tradition, and respect for the chain of command. However it seems most of the time is spent hosting parties and ensuring the brass fixtures on the ships are polished.

While I believe the entire series is written as a space opera, the first book leans more toward that of military fiction with large space battles. However the larger series is more centric on society and the personal and professional drama of the main characters with the larger story arc as the backdrop.

The focus is on the characters Garath Martinez and Caroline Sula. Garath is an upper crust “peer” and space navy officer with a strong desire for upward mobility, but comes from the outer edges of the empire. While from a wealthy family, he and his family are considered to be very provincial (to their detriment) by those whose families who have lived in the capital for many centuries. Caroline is also in the navy and also a peer, but comes from a much more interesting background. The ongoing romance between these two is a plot line through the entire series.

My main criticisms is that the ending of the first book is quite abrupt. There is some semblance of conclusion of the plot lines, but not all of them. It is very clear that you are expected to continue reading the series to get any potential for conclusion. Also the main characters are fighting for an “evil empire” and that the perspective is just from the upper crust “peer” society and leaves out the common man. Without spoiling key plot lines, there is some viewpoint from that of a lowly citizen. But for some readers it may make it hard to feel sympathy for the main characters. Also Gareth and Caroline seem to be the only two intelligent people in the universe. Only they “get it” with respect to how to navigate the crisis that drives the plot. At the same time their private lives have the maturity of teen aged children. I had a hard time reconciling the two extremes of professional and private competence. These complains hold true for the first book, but I will say that over the series this changes as Williams grows the universe and characters in the series. Hang in there and you will be rewarded.

Overall I liked the book well enough to continue on with the next in the series and after having read the entire series, feel it was worth the time. Not Williams' best work, but worth reading. Characters continue to get richer as you go and can see why Williams has returned to this universe after the conclusion of the series. Understand that the key focus is on the characters and that things like space battles and other combat actions tend to be bookends for the characters based plot.

I found the narration to be good. David Drummond seems to use various versions of accents from the larger legacy British Commonwealth to illustrate different society class levels as well as what I perceive as a more American accent for the provincial Martinez to Australian (later on in the series) for organized criminals. My main complaint is that for Caroline Sula, he gives her a bit of a whiny and childish voice, but it must be hard to do all of them to equally high standards. Particularly a male doing a female lead. However this is less of a problem later in the series.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 30-05-19

Very readable, pretty good story

The story makes me think of 18th century France on the eve of the French Revolution combined with a bit of the Honor Harrington's space navy and a touch of the Prince and the Pauper.
I listened to the Audible version of this story and found the narrator to be ill suited to the book. The author makes it clear in the story that one of the main characters and his family have very provincial accents that make the more urbane high families look at them askance. The narrator didn't do anything to convey this at all, and spoke with a noticeable accent of his own.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Airwaffle
  • 30-11-18

Great narration, don't like the main chars

I have been on a huge binge of sci-fi space opera recently. Jack Campbell, John Steakley, David Weber, Joshua Dalzelle, Nathan Lowell, and a few others. Each have things that make them great and each have their own weaknesses of course.

This is my first book from this author and I was very disappointed at how horrible the main characters are. not in a written sense, but a humanity sense. These are not good people! I suspect the next two books in the series will see the them change and improve as they have towards the end of the first book.

I also dislikes the space combat, the theory and concepts are very shallow and tactics seem non-existent for a military that has been around for a long time. Yes they have been relatively at peace, but some of these tactics are really obvious.

I will say the story behind the characters (which takes 3/4 of the first book.. not kidding) is kinda interesting, but really doesn't help me relate to them at all. I am not invested.

The worlds, the aliens, and the cultures are well done, but that is the background and is not enough to make up for the story.

I may be interested in future books at a huge discount but not at this time.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • DobieChuck
  • 15-04-17

Stick With It

On the whole it's a pretty good book, but on the slow side to start, and honestly until about halfway through or so... It seems lazy and undirected, but as the weaving becomes coherent you see that for what it is, mirroring of the stagnantly content beings we're watching headed for unimaginable cultural and existential paradigm shifts... There's also a nice little mystery underneath the momentous changes going on... The 2nd half of the book is outstanding and moves fluidly, and at times w/ a neck jarring pace... Pretty good characters amongst those that are actually fleshed out... The narration is satisfactory, but flawed... It contributes to the dragging start w/ a slow delivery, which is aided when you play it at 1.25x... Narrator does the alien accents nicely, but does human females in a strident voice at times... Great climaxes and ending that will intrigue as to the future of these familiar seeming ppl...

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Zach
  • 24-08-18

Children’s book

I wish I had been informed that this is a Children’s book.

This book surely is written for 13 and under.

If I am mistaken and this book is intended for adults then ... you get the idea.

3 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • A young man
  • 03-02-20

An okay opening to a series.

The main story is basically just what is written in the description of the book. Just a start of a longer story.

The personal story of one of the main characters are interesting enough, but they sadly give away her big conclusion at the start of her story.
The other main character is a fairly box standard roguish genius that charmes all the women he comes across.

The world is what makes this book most interesting for me, and the fact that it is a very easy read.
So a good book if you just want an easy to consume sci-fi story within an interesting world of alien races.

Great performance by the reader.

Will probably read the next one too, but I am in no rush.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Poppey
  • 16-01-19

Enjoyable

This is the first book in a trilogy and, If you can make it past the first 8/9 chapters, this book starts to pick up. I did enjoy the book, but it was a little on the heavy side. Also, the continual references to my lord began to grate in the end.

Narration was, in my opinion, well suited to this book.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • 30-06-19

What a slow start

Took 8 hours to get interesting. 8 hours of caste system issues wasn't particularly interesting to me. Have now read the second book. It does get better and focus more on the battles than their system of government. Will probably read the third book.