A political SF epic of extraordinary audacity.
The long years of near-utopia have come to an abrupt end.
Peace and order are now figments of the past. Corruption, deception, and insurgency hum within the once steadfast leadership of the Hives, nations without fixed location.
The heartbreaking truth is that for decades, even centuries, the leaders of the great Hives bought the world’s stability with a trickle of secret murders, mathematically planned. So that no faction could ever dominate. So that the balance held.
The Hives’ façade of solidity is the only hope they have for maintaining a semblance of order, for preventing the public from succumbing to the savagery and bloodlust of wars past. But as the great secret becomes more and more widely known, that façade is slipping away.
Just days earlier, the world was a pinnacle of human civilization. Now everyone—Hives and hiveless, Utopians and sensayers, emperors and the downtrodden, warriors and saints—scrambles to prepare for the seemingly inevitable war.
“Hubris it is, reader, to call one’s self the most anything in history: the most powerful, the most mistreated, the most alone.”
I’m going to try and avoid spoilers for the previous two books as much as I can.
The Will to Battle is a quieter kind of mindblowing than Seven Surrenders. It actually follows a few months after the ending of the last book and a lot has happened. The world is in a difficult place, but things have calmed down a bit. Everyone is waiting. And in any case, it would be difficult for The Will to Battle to top the absolute highs of Seven Surrenders in the lull before the actual storm that is going to be the fourth and final book. I knew this was going to be a quieter book before I started it.
Yet this was so good to read. And I cannot wait for book four.
In a way, The Will to Battle was completely a different book than the previous two while also being exactly the same. How Palmer managed to pull this off, I couldn’t tell you, but it is both at once. And just amazing. That is perhaps the only way to describe this book: everything is the same but different. And it is amazingly well done and just fun to read.
This goes all the way down even down to Mycroft Canner himself. He is exactly the same as the first two books, but different. In very subtle ways. At first you just think everything is fine, then you think something is a bit off. Before long you’re wondering what the hell happened, what changed. It is just so, so well done. And the thing is, Mycroft told you what was happening in book one. And you just didn’t listen. You never listen.
Which is basically a pattern in The Will to Battle. We’re still learning what things in Too Like the Lightning meant all the way until the end of book this book. Everything is more clear by the end. Yet there is still more to go. I don’t know what we’re in for coming up next, all I know is that this book is leading up to that. This is about establishing lines and establishing sides. This is about the will to battle.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Terra Ignota series page!