by Scott Westerfield
SFBC/Tor, 2003, ISBN 0-7394-3801-8
A book review by Elisabeth Carey
Captain Laurent Zai is a loyal and capable officer of the Risen Empire, and as a reward for his loyality and his ability, he has been granted the greatest favor in the Emperor's gift--upon his death, assuming that death does not destroy his brain and does not occur in such circumstances as make proper storage of his remains impossible, he will rise again, and become immortal.
Unfortunately for a young man with such promising prospects, he has two problems. He's in love with a Senator, Nara Oxham, who is very much the Emperor's political enemy and believes that the emperor's "gift" of immortality, instead of being the strength of the empire, is its great weakness. And he's been sent on an impossible mission to rescue the kidnapped Child Empress from the enemy Rix. Both Zai and Oxham, as well as several other quite engaging characters, find their lives becoming excessively interesting in all the best ways for really entertaining space opera.
There's just one problem with Succession. When I got to the end of The Risen Empire and the story did not end, I was not disturbed. I just assumed that Succession was a long book that had been split in two for its original publication. I was pleased that I was reading the SFBC omnibus edition. And then I reached the end of The Killing of Worlds, and it still didn't end. Over five hundred pages, no ending, and no indication that I can find that any ending is planned. And that is extremely annoying.