Fleet of Knives
Updated: Nov 2, 2019
All the books I read in 2019
12. Fleet of Knives by Gareth L. Powell
Did I finish it or abandon it? I FINISHED IT
Would I recommend it? YES
I really do love for a good space opera. I got the bug after reading Tad Williams' Dread Empire Falls trilogy which is just brilliant, but the problem is that so many space opera books are just sub-standard. When I read Embers of War last year, I was simultaneously thrilled and relieved. At last, here might be a series that I can love.
Fleet of Knives is the second instalment in the trilogy. The first book, Embers of War was one of my favourite books of last year, so I was very much looking forward to reading this sequel. When it was released in February, I had the good fortune to be able to meet Gareth and get my copy signed. I waited a while to read this book, but boy was the wait worth it. This is space opera at its finest.
If I could sum this book up in one sentence it would be: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
The first book, Embers of War, begins just after the end of of an intergalactic war. It's set mainly on a rescue ship crewed by the survivors from both sides who need to come together and also need to come to terms with their own actions during the horrific war that has just ended.
Fleet of Knives picks up immediately after the first book. The protagonists have discovered an ancient, but hitherto unknown power which has the potential to prevent wars from ever happening again. One of the themes of Fleet of Knives it is that the responsibility of holding so much power can be crushing. Actions have real intended and unintended consequences and how do people deal with the consequences of the decisions that they've made?
I thoroughly enjoyed Fleet of Knives. Its characters are nuanced and the plot rolls along at a terrific pace. From a writer's point of view, there was a particular moment in the story made me smile. I have a chapter in my novel that is only two words long - and Fleet of Knives pulls off the same trick.
All in all, this is a big story that takes in the big themes of humanity; love, loss, grief, guilt, ambition, sacrifice and altruism. The story is brilliantly told and I absolutely recommend that you go out and buy this book.
Gareth L Powell is one of the nicest and most helpful people on Twitter. Whether or not you're a writer, if you don't already follow him already, I highly recommend that you do so.