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Fate of Worlds: Return from the Ringworld (Known Space) Hardcover – August 21, 2012
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“Widescreen galactic scope, nifty super-science, crafty aliens, corporate corruption and cover-ups, and a multileveled spy vs. spy vs. spy mystery...a first-class example of pure SF entertainment.” ―SF Site on Juggler of Worlds
“Exceptional freshness and suspense…full of startling revelations about human and puppeteer politics.” ―Booklist
“A new Known Space book, particularly one with new information about Puppeteers and their doings behind the scenes of human history, needs recommending within the science fiction community about as much as a new Harry Potter novel does, well, anywhere. But Niven and Lerner have produced a novel that can stand on its own as well as part of the Known Space franchise.” ―Locus
From the Back Cover
Praise for the Fleet of Worlds series
"Exceptional freshness and suspense ... full of startling revelations about human and puppeteer politics."
"A new Known Space book, particularly one with new information about Puppeteers and their doings behind the scenes of human history, needs recommending within the science fiction community about as much as a new Harry Potter novel does -- well, anywhere. But Niven and Lerner have produced a novel that can stand on its own as well as part of the Known Space franchise."
"A far-future SF mystery/adventure set two centuries before the discovery of the Ringworld by humans ... Intriguing human and alien characters and lucid scientific detail."
-- Library Journal
"A very worthy addition to the ongoing Known Space future history."
"Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner have teamed up to write the prequel [to Ringworld], and it's well worth reading whether you've read Ringworld and its subsequent books or not."
"As we have long expected from Niven, it's a great read, and Lerner -- as Analog readers know -- has the knack as well. You'll enjoy this one."
-- Analog Science Fiction and Fact
Praise for the Works of Larry Niven
"The premier hard SF writer of the day."
-- The Baltimore Sun
"Great storytelling is still alive in science fiction because of Larry Niven."
-- Orson Scott Card
"For three and a half decades, nobody's done it better than Larry Niven."
-- Steven Barnes
Praise for Edward M. Lerner
"Lerner's world-building and extrapolating are top notch."
-- SFScope on InterstellarNet: Origins
"A fast, fun read."
-- Sci Fi Weekly on Fools' Experiments
"Suspense and action enough to fuel any thriller, and even to drive it to the big screen."
-- SFRevu on Small Miracles
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I also felt like it could be a stand alone book, but, to get the full enjoyment from it, you should read the previous Fleet of Worlds books (at least Destroyer and Betrayer) and the Ringworld books (at least Ringworld's Children).
I find it handy to have the series information available in the review and it can be hard to really see on the Amazon site, here is a snippet from Wikipedia, showing the order of the books in the Fleet of Worlds series and the Ringworld series:
Fleet of Worlds (2007)
Juggler of Worlds (2008)
Destroyer of Worlds (2009)
Betrayer of Worlds (2010)
Fate of Worlds
The Ringworld Engineers (1980)
The Ringworld Throne (1996)
Ringworld's Children (2004)
Additionally, there is all of Known Space in Niven's list of works and a number of those contain the original stories that are rehashed in Fleet of Worlds and other fun and fantastic stories that fill the Known Space universe to the brim.
I have NOT been a big fan of Larry Niven collaborations, except for the books (not Known Space) with Jerry Pournelle, which are mostly excellent. However, Niven and Edward M. Lerner make an excellent team. It seems to me like
Old(er) Larry Niven + Lerner = Young(er) Larry Niven
Of the books in the "Fleet of Worlds" series, the first and last (this book) are the best. This book would not be a good read as a stand-alone novel. There is too much "backstory" leading to this story.
If you are new to Niven, read "Ringworld" first; it's perhaps Niven's best known work, published way back in 1970. Then read "Protector." They are both excellent novels, and provide introductions to the key alien races. There are many other novels and short stories from the Known Space universe (including the other Ringworld novels), but at that point (if you like what you have read so far), you can begin the "Fleet of Worlds" series. If you plan to read the other Ringworld novels, read those immediately BEFORE starting on "Fate of Worlds."
The Ringworld novels are (in order):
The Ringworld Engineers
The Ringworld Throne
The Fleet of World novels are (in order):
Fleet of Worlds
Juggler of Worlds
Destroyer of Worlds
Betrayer of Worlds
Fate of Worlds
"Fate of Worlds" is actually the last book for BOTH series. Chronologically, for the Known Space timeline, all the Ringworld novels fit in between "Betrayer of Worlds" and "Fate of Worlds." Although "Fate of Worlds" is currently the last Known Space book, it ends with the possibility of more stories to come.
Niven's stories are typically "hard" science fiction, meaning stories rooted in scientific concepts, not "fantasy" science fiction.
I have seen a few complaints about this latest book being disjointed, having two separate storylines that never coalesce. I did not see that at all. This latest (final?) installment builds to a crescendo, ties up all loose ends (albeit creating a new one at the beginning and another one at the end). It is an elegant ending to a story fantastic in scope, grandeur and sheer entertainment. I will miss Known Space, and Louis, Sigmund, Nessus, Baedecker, Chmeee (who is unfortunately absent) and all the rest of this Universe's fascinating denizens.
One may hope that one or both loose ends created in this tome will result in more books, but at the same time I can see that the story could certainly end here without being the less for it.
Great job, as usual, Mr. Niven and Mr. Lerner!