The Praxis

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UK front cover

The Praxis is a science fiction novel by Walter Jon Williams. Published in 2002, it is the first novel in Dread Empire's Fall series.

The novel is of the space opera subgenre.

Plot summary[edit]

The Praxis begins with the last days of the Shaa. The Shaa are a powerful race that have ruled the Empire for thousands of years, having subjugated humans and other races. The Praxis is their philosophy, founded on total obedience and hierarchy.

The end of the Empire brings civil war, as an insectoid race, the Naxids, battle humans and the other races following the death of the last of the 'Great Masters'.

The plot revolves around interstellar battles and the relationship between two humans, a male naval officer and a female pilot.

Lieutenant Gareth Martinez, a provincial peer, and Cadet Sula, head of the Sula clan, meet after participating in the rescue attempt of a yachtsman named Blitsharts. Martinez, the communications officer to Fleet Commander Enderby, realising that Blitsharts is in distress, requests that the captain of the 'Bombardment of Los Angeles' launch a rescue. The captain in turn launches a pinnace, a small single seater spacecraft, piloted by Lady Sula.

Over the course of the rescue and subsequent recovery of the yacht, a period of over a month due the distances involved, Martinez sends Sula regular messages which include comedy and literature to entertain her during the long journey home. Martinez also informs Sula that the last remaining Shaa intends to commit suicide leaving the convocation, a committee consisting of peers of all races, in charge of the empire.