Regency-style SF: The Accidental War by Walter Jon Williams

Several years ago, I read Walter Jon Williams’ Dread Empire’s Fall trilogy, The Praxis (2002), The Sundering (2003), and Conventions of War (2005). Set in a rigid, hierarchy-bound society—the Praxis—the trilogy focused on young military officers Gareth Martinez and (Lady) Caroline Sula, whose unorthodox tactics contributed to the success of the military establishment over their enemy. But it won them powerful enemies on their own side. A further novella, Impersonations, focusing on Caroline Sula in a backwater posting after the war, came out in 2016, and led me to hope that Williams might continue telling stories in this universe.

This review contains some spoilers.

The Accidental War opens a new trilogy set in the Praxis. Seven years have passed since the Naxid War, and both Gareth Martinez and Caroline Sula have been sidelined by a military establishment whose most senior officer hates them for their past unorthodox success. Martinez ...