Books Military Science Fiction Space Opera

Barbarians at the Gates – Great book, exactly my cup of tea.

Barbarians At The Gates (The Decline and Fall of the Galactic Empire #1) by Christopher Nuttall
My rating: 10 out of 10 stars

Barbarians At the GatesThe Federation has endured for hundreds of years, but now it is dying, killed by the corruption and decadence of the Senate and the rising power of military warlords. The shipping lanes are coming apart, the colonists are revolting and outside forces are pressing against undefended borders. Now, as one warlord makes a bid for supreme power, the entire edifice is on the verge of falling apart. Two officers, bearers of a proud military tradition, may be all that stands between the Federation and total destruction.

For Admiral Marius Drake, there is no greater cause than the survival of humanity’s prized unity. For the young and ambitious Roman Garibaldi, the growing civil war offers a chance of promotion far beyond the usual boundaries. Together, they will save the Federation or die trying.

But with the Senate suspicious of any competent commanding officers, their success may condemn them to an inglorious death.

It is actually a while since I bought this book by Christopher Nuttall. It has been sitting on my shelf (or rather on the drive of my tablet) quite a while. I have to admit that I was a bit afraid that it would be “yet another” story on the subject of the fall of human society due to political nonsense and bureaucracy as well as too similar to Mr. Nuttall’s The Empire’s Corps series.

Well, I was wrong on that. Sure, there certainly are similarities but this book is also quite different in several ways. One of the most important differences is that it is not at all as apocalyptic and dark as The Empire’s Corps series. I also feel that it is more focused on the adventures and military campaigns of our heroes than The Empire’s Corps. Sure there’s a lot of political manoeuvring, idiocy and treachery but the majority of the book is about the adventures of Admiral Drake and the young Roman Garibaldi, the latter being truly thrown into the deep end right out of the naval academy.

This book is really my cup of tea. It mixes two of my favourite themes. One being really good space combat and strategy between fleets of capital ships. The other being the development and advancement of a young hero in the navy as he rises in the ranks. As usual Mr. Nuttall’s writing is excellent and was a pleasure to follow the characters, how they developed and how the plot unfolded. As I wrote above the story is much less dark and much more positive than The Empire’s Corps. Unlike in that book our heroes are indeed successful in staving off the worst case scenario. In addition the bad guys, that is of course the political assholes, are getting exactly what they deserve in the end.

The author throws in a few romances as well. No good space opera can be without those I guess. Although one of them are a quite important part of the overall plot I would say that those parts are not very extensive but that is fine with me. I prefer the military aspects and adventures myself.

Although this book is fairly positive in the end, with a rather happy ending, without too much apocalyptic elements the events that unfold are bad enough and there are plenty of troubles and dangers ahead. I will continue to follow this book series with great interest. Book number two is already out and, without having read it, I hope that there will be more coming.

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