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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Scott Westerfeld's hardcover debut is an oxymoron of sorts: a fast-paced space opera. The Risen Empire, the first book in a projected duology, hits the ground running and never slows down. From the very first page, the reader is immersed in an epic clash between ideologically divergent civilizations.
\ \ The Risen Empire spans 80 worlds and is ruled by an emperor who has been undead for thousands of years. In a society where selected citizens can be granted eternal life, a political and socioeconomic division has begun polarizing groups within the empire. The Rix Cult, on the other hand, are quickly evolving cyborgs with one mission: to seed worlds with compound AI minds and move on. When the Rix attack an imperial planet, kill the Child Empress (the emperor's sister), and successfully seed a compound mind on the planet, all the empire's secrets are suddenly made available to the Rix. Something drastic must be done to stop the cyborgs from obtaining that knowledge…
\ \ Westerfeld has written some outstanding novels (Polymorph and Evolution's Darling), but The Risen Empire is easily his best offering to date. A sleek, stylish plot, excellent character development, and the subtle blending of hard science fiction with (an unlikely) romance make this a novel filled with surprises. I can't wait for the concluding novel in this duology. Paul Goat Allen