In Conquest Born by C.S. Friedman

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Book Information  
AuthorC.S. Friedman
TitleIn Conquest Born
GenreScience Fiction
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Michael Shortt 
(Jan 04, 2009)

In Conquest Born (ICB) is quite possibly the most moving SF book I have ever read. The intricacies of plot, setting and characterization still continue to impress me each time I reread it (twice so far) and never seem to lose their subtleties. The most similar books I can think of are George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series: both works emphasize grand political/military strategy, but tell their stories through the perspective of powerful individuals.

Although ICB revolves around the intimate duel of two protagonists, one Azean and one Braxanà, you never lose sight of the greater conflict and minor characters are superbly interwoven with the main narrative. CS Friedman also deserves accolades for creating two of the most alien, yet credible, SF cultures I have ever encountered. They’re on par with the Fremen from Dune, and are probably more interesting because ICB has no absolute heroes or villains. I suspect most readers will identify with one stellar empire or the other (in my case, the Holding) but will be capable of understanding the motivations of both.

My only criticism, and it's a mild one, is that the Azeans seemed a tad underdeveloped compared to the Braxins/Braxanà, and as a result, were less compelling (to me at least). I am also a little confused about the climax of the book, but that is probably a result of my reading skills, rather than Friedman’s writing. If you feel like explaining it, send me an email!

I cannot recommend this book more highly, as it stands apart from Friedman’s other novels and SF literature as a whole. Despite its garish cover art, I could not put it down, even in public!

Submitted by Mike Wisdom 
(Mar 02, 2007)

"In Conquest Born" is a marvelous book. The depth of development for each character race and detail of description is excellent. In many books the level of detail is often too limited or too cumbersome. Not the case with this particular work.

The author has managed to write a representation of two cultures in conflict that gives the reader a visually stunning image of a love/hate relationship bound together by history, fear, loathing, inspiration, admiration and jealousy. The Braxana and the Azeans can no longer exist without one another. Their entire social structure is built around their perpetual struggle. It engulfs everyone and everything in it's path.

Friedman succeeded in focusing this monumental clash of empires into personal emotions and a struggle between individuals. Certainly, no small task. And, this was accomplished without losing sight of the larger picture, or losing the detail of the individuals involved.

Truly an excellent book. I am glad that I have had a copy since the first printing and I still enjoy reading it now. Thank you, to the author and a very high recommendation to other readers who have not had the opportunity to experience the worlds of "In Conquest Born."

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