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Barbarians at the Gates

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The Federation has endured for hundreds of years, but now it is dying, killed by the corruption and decadence of the Senate and the rising power of military warlords. The shipping lanes are coming apart, the colonists are revolting and outside forces are pressing against undefended borders. Now, as one warlord makes a bid for supreme power, the entire edifice is on the ver The Federation has endured for hundreds of years, but now it is dying, killed by the corruption and decadence of the Senate and the rising power of military warlords. The shipping lanes are coming apart, the colonists are revolting and outside forces are pressing against undefended borders. Now, as one warlord makes a bid for supreme power, the entire edifice is on the verge of falling apart. Two officers, bearers of a proud military tradition, may be all that stands between the Federation and total destruction. For Admiral Marius Drake, there is no greater cause than the survival of humanity’s prized unity. For the young and ambitious Roman Garibaldi, the growing civil war offers a chance of promotion far beyond the usual boundaries. Together, they will save the Federation or die trying. But with the Senate suspicious of any competent commanding officers, their success may condemn them to an inglorious death.


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The Federation has endured for hundreds of years, but now it is dying, killed by the corruption and decadence of the Senate and the rising power of military warlords. The shipping lanes are coming apart, the colonists are revolting and outside forces are pressing against undefended borders. Now, as one warlord makes a bid for supreme power, the entire edifice is on the ver The Federation has endured for hundreds of years, but now it is dying, killed by the corruption and decadence of the Senate and the rising power of military warlords. The shipping lanes are coming apart, the colonists are revolting and outside forces are pressing against undefended borders. Now, as one warlord makes a bid for supreme power, the entire edifice is on the verge of falling apart. Two officers, bearers of a proud military tradition, may be all that stands between the Federation and total destruction. For Admiral Marius Drake, there is no greater cause than the survival of humanity’s prized unity. For the young and ambitious Roman Garibaldi, the growing civil war offers a chance of promotion far beyond the usual boundaries. Together, they will save the Federation or die trying. But with the Senate suspicious of any competent commanding officers, their success may condemn them to an inglorious death.

30 review for Barbarians at the Gates

  1. 4 out of 5

    Soo

    Mini-Review: When I listened to the sample, I was drawn in by the intro to the story. Then I realized this was a book by Nuttall and that explained why it would appeal to me. I had read another book by him that's based on a magic school and it was an entertaining adventure to read. Events and characters are harder to follow in the audio format. That said, the general plot is not hard to follow at all. I enjoyed the "historical" quotes. Pointed insights into the world that embellished the backgro Mini-Review: When I listened to the sample, I was drawn in by the intro to the story. Then I realized this was a book by Nuttall and that explained why it would appeal to me. I had read another book by him that's based on a magic school and it was an entertaining adventure to read. Events and characters are harder to follow in the audio format. That said, the general plot is not hard to follow at all. I enjoyed the "historical" quotes. Pointed insights into the world that embellished the background. The military training school bits were more interesting to me than the rest of the political shenanigans that happen later. Overall, the book is a good military Sci-Fi. I'll finish the series at some point but feel no driving need to finish it right now.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Per Gunnar

    It is actually a while since I bought this book by Christopher Nuttall. It has been sitting on my shelf (or rather on the drive of my tablet) quite a while. I have to admit that I was a bit afraid that it would be “yet another” story on the subject of the fall of human society due to political nonsense and bureaucracy as well as too similar to Mr. Nuttall’s The Empire’s Corps series. Well, I was wrong on that. Sure, there certainly are similarities but this book is also quite different in several It is actually a while since I bought this book by Christopher Nuttall. It has been sitting on my shelf (or rather on the drive of my tablet) quite a while. I have to admit that I was a bit afraid that it would be “yet another” story on the subject of the fall of human society due to political nonsense and bureaucracy as well as too similar to Mr. Nuttall’s The Empire’s Corps series. Well, I was wrong on that. Sure, there certainly are similarities but this book is also quite different in several ways. One of the most important differences is that it is not at all as apocalyptic and dark as The Empire’s Corps series. I also feel that it is more focused on the adventures and military campaigns of our heroes than The Empire’s Corps. Sure there’s a lot of political manoeuvring, idiocy and treachery but the majority of the book is about the adventures of Admiral Drake and the young Roman Garibaldi, the latter being truly thrown into the deep end right out of the naval academy. This book is really my cup of tea. It mixes two of my favourite themes. One being really good space combat and strategy between fleets of capital ships. The other being the development and advancement of a young hero in the navy as he rises in the ranks. As usual Mr. Nuttall’s writing is excellent and was a pleasure to follow the characters, how they developed and how the plot unfolded. As I wrote above the story is much less dark and much more positive than The Empire’s Corps. Unlike in that book our heroes are indeed successful in staving off the worst case scenario. In addition the bad guys, that is of course the political assholes, are getting exactly what they deserve in the end. The author throws in a few romances as well. No good space opera can be without those I guess. Although one of them are a quite important part of the overall plot I would say that those parts are not very extensive but that is fine with me. I prefer the military aspects and adventures myself. Although this book is fairly positive in the end, with a rather happy ending, without too much apocalyptic elements the events that unfold are bad enough and there are plenty of troubles and dangers ahead. I will continue to follow this book series with great interest. Book number two is already out and, without having read it, I hope that there will be more coming.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    This is a new series based on the same basic idea as the other series that of a collapsing Empire. In this book the Federation is collapsing and warlords are staking out their territories. Our protagonists are Admiral Marius drake and Lt. Roman Garibaldi. The book has more naval action than most of the other series by Nuttall. I have read enough of Nuttall’s books now to be amazed at his imagination. As this is the first book in the series Nuttall is building his baseline for the series. I enjo This is a new series based on the same basic idea as the other series that of a collapsing Empire. In this book the Federation is collapsing and warlords are staking out their territories. Our protagonists are Admiral Marius drake and Lt. Roman Garibaldi. The book has more naval action than most of the other series by Nuttall. I have read enough of Nuttall’s books now to be amazed at his imagination. As this is the first book in the series Nuttall is building his baseline for the series. I enjoyed the space combat and the tactical strategy of commanding a fleet. I noted the Italian names and the title and thought Nuttall is playing with the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Overall I enjoyed the story. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The narrator is new to me but Time Gerard Reynolds did a good job narrating the book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Francis Chamberland

    Barbarians at the Gates Review Dear Christopher, once again I have enjoyed reading one of your story very much. You are right on point with your observations regarding corrupt self-serving government as the USA is currently experiencing it right now. I wonder how our children will survive what we are leaving them. Hopefully God will intervene before it is too late. I highly recommend reading this book to all interested adults and mature young people for thought producing reasoning. Thanks for the Barbarians at the Gates Review Dear Christopher, once again I have enjoyed reading one of your story very much. You are right on point with your observations regarding corrupt self-serving government as the USA is currently experiencing it right now. I wonder how our children will survive what we are leaving them. Hopefully God will intervene before it is too late. I highly recommend reading this book to all interested adults and mature young people for thought producing reasoning. Thanks for the entertainment!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I was pretty excited to read this series at first, but as time went on, Nuttall got buried more and more in the overarching politics and his focus on the technology being used. I got less and less interested as he stepped back from the characters I liked most. On top of everything, I just...couldn't believe in how he made the emperor lose it. I could totally agree with how he felt overwhelmed with a job he was not prepared for and politics he couldn't win at (look at Obama's first four years whe I was pretty excited to read this series at first, but as time went on, Nuttall got buried more and more in the overarching politics and his focus on the technology being used. I got less and less interested as he stepped back from the characters I liked most. On top of everything, I just...couldn't believe in how he made the emperor lose it. I could totally agree with how he felt overwhelmed with a job he was not prepared for and politics he couldn't win at (look at Obama's first four years when he played too nice with others). However, like Obama, I feel like he could have risen to the challenge. So...yeah. About mid-way through the third book, I realized I wasn't having fun anymore and quit. The first book, however, I really enjoyed. Nice love stories that don't take over the whole book. Interesting battles and politics. Yay.

  6. 4 out of 5

    John Browning

    Fun read with some great economic and human nature truths.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Richard Abbott

    Barbarians at the Gates, by Christopher Nuttall, is set a little over two thousand years in the future, when humankind has imposed a dominant presence over a considerable number of star systems. The strong centralised government of the Senate seems about to collapse under a combination of external threat and internal dissent - as well as the sheer difficulty of controlling a very large volume of space. The political structure is rigid and authoritarian, with an emperor whose position is largely Barbarians at the Gates, by Christopher Nuttall, is set a little over two thousand years in the future, when humankind has imposed a dominant presence over a considerable number of star systems. The strong centralised government of the Senate seems about to collapse under a combination of external threat and internal dissent - as well as the sheer difficulty of controlling a very large volume of space. The political structure is rigid and authoritarian, with an emperor whose position is largely nominal. Real power is in the hands of a hereditary elite. In amongst this, the space-going armed forces thread an uneasy path, with their own traditions to uphold, and their own mixed history to manage. Put in a few sentences, this sounds not unlike the Foundation series in concept. However, Christopher achieves something very different, by focusing on politics and battle strategy within a relatively short span of time, rather than allowing the grand sweep of time to have its way. The political landscape appears simple at first glance, but reveals progressively more levels of complexity - and betrayal - as the plot unfolds. The central characters, for the most part navy men, are compelled to understand and grapple with this as best they can. By and large, it is a battleground which is unfamiliar to them. I found Christopher's handling of space warfare fascinating. With a few credible constraints on manoeuvre, established in the reader's mind quite early on, the shape of campaigns and battles is formed. Numerical advantage does not always carry the day, and creative use of the complex "terrain" is required. Captains and admirals who can master the flexibility of thinking do well; those who simply follow the rule book tend to lose. Those of us who have read lots of classic science fiction will be entertained by the frequent allusions to older books. These are used purely for the pleasure of meeting old friends, rather than direct links being drawn between the stories. I, for one, appreciated this. In short, this is a compelling book for those who enjoy big-picture science fiction. The main focus remains solidly on large groups - such as a spaceship, a fleet, a faction, a world - and the consequences on such groups of the personal choices of the leaders. The details of interpersonal relationships are handled only in passing, and are not really Christopher's main interest here. The book is self-contained, and comes to a satisfying conclusion. However, the rather unexpected twist close to the end, and the several ends carefully left loose throughout the book, make it clear that there will be another story to follow on.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    When Girabaldi went to Bester in the Zathros sector; it was almost too much for an old Babylon 5 fan. I loved the shout outs to one of my all time favorite shows. I think Nuttall has been working along a theme for quite a while (some results are better then others). The Federation, Empire, whatever... has become bloated and corrupt with the people being disenfranchised and rebellion ensues. Fortunately for me; I like this theme and eat up Nuttall's works as fast as he can publish them. If you rea When Girabaldi went to Bester in the Zathros sector; it was almost too much for an old Babylon 5 fan. I loved the shout outs to one of my all time favorite shows. I think Nuttall has been working along a theme for quite a while (some results are better then others). The Federation, Empire, whatever... has become bloated and corrupt with the people being disenfranchised and rebellion ensues. Fortunately for me; I like this theme and eat up Nuttall's works as fast as he can publish them. If you read the Democracy Series (Democracy's Right, Democracy's Might) this is basically the same story, just told from the other side. I liked Democracy more, I thought it was a little better written, but the battles and science were more balanced in this telling. There was more consideration of distances in regards to the combat and a better understanding of the delays from light-speed limited communication. There was lessconsideration of many of the characters; why did Tiffany and Mairus hit it off so well? Why was Rastlin such a throw-away character even from the beginning? I liked it, but it really felt like more of the same.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This is a good one. From the perspective of previous authors I have read, it has elements of Asimov and Weber. Nuttall provides historical/narrative perspective (reminding me of the Foundation books) via his "Irreverent guide to the Federation" as well as occasional commentaries coming from various other points in this federation history. Military aspects of the story are clearly influenced by David Weber's Honorverse series and he even went as far as to invent and make mention of a ship called This is a good one. From the perspective of previous authors I have read, it has elements of Asimov and Weber. Nuttall provides historical/narrative perspective (reminding me of the Foundation books) via his "Irreverent guide to the Federation" as well as occasional commentaries coming from various other points in this federation history. Military aspects of the story are clearly influenced by David Weber's Honorverse series and he even went as far as to invent and make mention of a ship called Harrington, captained by a someone named Weber, a brief, though hilarious and transparent reference. This book, number one in the series, has as it's primary protagonist, Admiral Marius Drake tasked to reclaim a part of the empire that had been taken from the federation by "mutinous rebels". Marius' challenge is that the senate that he serves shares no small part of the blame in the creation of the rebels through abhorrent, self-serving, and corrupt policy making. Both military and political aspects of this story make it one of the top Sy fy series' I've read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Glen Robinson

    Note: Slight spoiler here. The first problem I had with this book, and probably the series, was that from the title I could tell the intention was a retelling of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. A retelling is always hard, because you’re caught between being faithful to the original–which this one was, to a great degree–and coming off as predictable, or taking leaps of artistic imagination, in which readers will complain that the story is nothing like the original. In this case, faithful Note: Slight spoiler here. The first problem I had with this book, and probably the series, was that from the title I could tell the intention was a retelling of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. A retelling is always hard, because you’re caught between being faithful to the original–which this one was, to a great degree–and coming off as predictable, or taking leaps of artistic imagination, in which readers will complain that the story is nothing like the original. In this case, faithfulness and predictability was an issue for me. The second issue, which may be tied to the first, is that I never felt like the two main characters were in any danger at all. One is a lieutenant who quickly becomes captain of a ship, the other is an admiral. They were in danger, theoretically speaking, but you never really feel afraid for them. They always seem to have things in control, perhaps more superior in intellect and military skill than everyone around them. And that’s a big issue for me. You have to put them in danger so that you have a story. I just didn’t see it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Don Taylor

    Great read, and a very insightful Afterword! I greatly enjoyed this novel, and look forward to the next two in the series. Christopher has always been a great storyteller, and now he's found a great editor, as well: gone are the all the misspellings and strange usages of the past. I realize this is perhaps one of the hardest hurdles for an Indie writer, and Christopher has overcome this hurdle handily. Rather strangely, I REALLY enjoyed his Afterword; he shows an enormously insightful grasp of his Great read, and a very insightful Afterword! I greatly enjoyed this novel, and look forward to the next two in the series. Christopher has always been a great storyteller, and now he's found a great editor, as well: gone are the all the misspellings and strange usages of the past. I realize this is perhaps one of the hardest hurdles for an Indie writer, and Christopher has overcome this hurdle handily. Rather strangely, I REALLY enjoyed his Afterword; he shows an enormously insightful grasp of history and its application to our modern times, and offers GREAT advice to those who govern us, citing many examples of failures and warnings of impending failures. I am going to gift this book to several of my friends just so they can read his Afterword (as well as, of course, the enjoyable read preceding it!) Thanks Christopher, for a very entertaining, page-turner! On to the next installment....

  12. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Stephens

    Nuttall is another case of quantity vs quality. As a self publishing peer of my generation he has wrote alot. I will not try anything else from him. Taking names from other pieces of Science Fiction was un-imaginative and irritating. The galactic human government was fairly well realised, be it highly cliche. The military was nothing new or unique or enjoyable after a bit. Now this is what killed the story for me. The aliens. You do not meet the first alien race until about a third in. Nuttall me Nuttall is another case of quantity vs quality. As a self publishing peer of my generation he has wrote alot. I will not try anything else from him. Taking names from other pieces of Science Fiction was un-imaginative and irritating. The galactic human government was fairly well realised, be it highly cliche. The military was nothing new or unique or enjoyable after a bit. Now this is what killed the story for me. The aliens. You do not meet the first alien race until about a third in. Nuttall mentions the war with the snakes, though you never see them. Then comes the next alien species, the purples. Were only the females have gained sentience. And they have no eyelids.

  13. 4 out of 5

    R. Andrew Lamonica

    The concept (a retelling of the fall of the Roman empire in space) is interesting. Sadly, the the book just couldn't seem to present a consistent universe. "Facts" (even ones that should have been set by the physics of the universe) were created and discarded to serve the story with alarming regularity. Even the characters (the evil ones, mostly) were inconsistent being described alternately as devious master-manipulators and total incompetent morons. At least it was a super simple and quick-read The concept (a retelling of the fall of the Roman empire in space) is interesting. Sadly, the the book just couldn't seem to present a consistent universe. "Facts" (even ones that should have been set by the physics of the universe) were created and discarded to serve the story with alarming regularity. Even the characters (the evil ones, mostly) were inconsistent being described alternately as devious master-manipulators and total incompetent morons. At least it was a super simple and quick-read. So, I was able to finish it before I became too annoyed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dr.Given

    In a market rife with dystopian science fiction series, this one was fine. I believe the author is self-published, which I think is impressive, and his attention to detail is amazing. Maybe not unlike Tom Clancy's work, sometimes the story gets bogged down by the detail and realism of the military strategy but I think those with an interest in that area, would appreciate Nuttall's treatment and approach.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Terje Fokstuen

    The empire is corrupt and venal. An admiral leads a rebellion and almost takes home world. Another admiral, an honest and utterly man, sets off to quell the rebellion. The characters are broadly drawn but the science and the world building are well done. This reminds me of Asimov's foundation but with more guns and libertarian sympathies. An enjoyable story. With some editing it could have been even better.

  16. 4 out of 5

    dennis miles

    Well written and thought out One of the better ones I have read on Amazons self publishing series. Has an older SF feel, more about the story than the science, and many easter eggs for those who enjoy reading SF.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Don Anderson

    Another victory for the author I like him.....Fun read...Fun worlds....great SF situations. Would recommend him to any. It's to the point where I can't wait until his next. The fact that he is much younger than I means I will be reading him for a very long time

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mark Kearney

    Really good military sci fi, easy reading

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ed Bierman

    Pretty standard sci-fi military story but well written

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

    very good mil-sf in the usual style of the author (see Empire corps); mostly predictable, but much better than most mil-sf out there

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Yellop

    Very good I can see a lot of modern day problems here in this book A good and enthralling read, am onto book 2 now

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Classic space opera! Strong start to a new space opera series. Perfect balance of military action, personal drama, and political maneuvering. Definite recommend!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    I would give this 3.5, but they don't do half points. Interesting main characters, and plot, drags a little, but worth reading.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gina Basham

    Enjoyable read. The technical and political descriptions required some thought to understand. I enjoyed the characters and settings. I will continue with the series and can recommend. gbash

  25. 5 out of 5

    Clayton stewart

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mark White

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sydonie Abalard

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kim Giske

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  30. 5 out of 5

    Martin

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