Warlords Invasion by Lee Guo

Master of Orion III

Master of Orion III (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You might recall from some previous posts that I’m a fan of Master of Orion (the game) and the books that seem to be inspired by this genre.  While some more recent games (Galactic Civilization I, II & III and Stardrive I & II) might seem the rightful holders of the title of best 4X Space warfare games, anyone who’s played Master of Orion III (aka MOO III) will always have a special place in their heart for that game above all others.  With massive fleet battles at the center point some books have also done a really good job of exploring this sort of a Universe and while the Honor Harrington series does this to some extent, the ones previously that I thought most outstanding in this area was the Shiva Option by David Weber & Steve White (reviewed here).  However, I think they there is a new contender to this crown now in Warlords Invasion & if the rest of this series continues in the same vein as the first book, a possible successor!

Warlords Invasion

This book tells the story of a humanity far in the future, one that comprises an empire spanning tens of thousands of lightyears and trillions of souls.  While seemingly at the pinnacle of technology and science, they are humbled quickly and easily by an invading species with ships and weapons far in advance of humanities own.  When small hunter-killers are able to defeat Dreadnoughts and weapons seemingly do no damage, the chances of survival seem slim.  Added to that is, of course, the fact that the enemy not only has better weapons and ships – they have more of them than the defenders also!

If you are a fan of massive (really massive) battles, you’ll love this book.  The climactic sequence has an all out battle where 5000 human ships fight about 2000 enemy ships.  While humanity itself might seem to be stronger based on just these numbers, when you take into account the actual size of the ships and realize that based on tonnage, humanity has almost a 40:1 ratio on the enemy the outcome seemingly is for an obvious and easy victory.  The technology of the aliens comes into play here however and by the end of the battle this seemingly unstoppable force is reduced to under 1000 ships leaving the enemy in control of the battlefield and seemingly in control of the sector also!

Positives and Negatives

Overall the characters are quite interesting and the motivations of the enemy seemingly more than they are initially taken to be.  The pace itself is excellent and while there are some typos and sentences that don’t really make sense, they don’t really detract too much from the story.  In fact – in all honesty this was one of those types of books that you just couldn’t put down & to be completely frank I literally devoured it in one sitting.  I guess I know my type now! 🙂

I don’t really have any negatives to point to really.  Humanity while only one book in, is already on the back foot and as long as Mr. Guo doesn’t take the easy way out of having humanity discover a new superweapon hidden in the annals of history or even on a dusty planet somewhere, but actually has them fighting and gradually coming into parity that would work for me.  I’d like to say that this book was too short (as I definitely wanted more) but I think it worked quite well as a setup to future sequels and I know for sure that I’ll definitely be picking any subsequent books up quite eagerly.

16 Responses

  1. Lee Guo says:


    I now have a new passion for writing because I read your review.

    • ZoneSix says:

      Hello Lee – thanks very much for taking the time to visit my site and post a comment! As you can tell, I’m definitely a fan. 🙂 Keep up the great writing – it’s really nice to find another author that is worth following.

        • ZoneSix says:

          Yeah I saw it (the trailer) myself a couple of days back. Looks really good – can’t wait to give it a shot when it comes out. Was really excited to see that they are remaking it. I hope that they do a good job though! 🙂

          • Lee Guo says:

            I wonder how the space combat will be like in this new game. I wonder how they’ve setup the space combat system. I wonder how can the player control that many units in real time? How sophisticated can the controls be? What type of map will the battles be fought on?

            You know what? After looking at the site, i’m thinking of copying races and race histories from the game (such as this

            and making novels from it. Especially after reading about the Terrans, the whole idea of a Terran Khanate makes me think it’s worth a shot to write novel based on normal humans versus a Terran Khanate. So many great story ideas.

            add me on fb??:

          • ZoneSix says:

            cool – just sent you a request on FB. A Terran Khanate sounds quite cool – actually I’d be interested in reading about the Orion Wars that you allude to in this book as the battles there sound quite cool too. With regards to the new game – really hard to tell anything from the cinematic unfortunately. If its as pretty as they make it out to be, I’d be very interested, but the AI and gameplay needs to be balanced also as otherwise its just a waste of time imho.

          • Lee Guo says:

            I didn’t get your facebook request. Could you send it, again? I was sleeping for the past 14 hours, so if I didn’t accept, it’s because of that.

            I don’t actually know much about the orion wars but i could definitely expand on that after I finish writing the series.

            I really hope the difficulty levels in the game match the descriptions of the difficulty levels.

          • says:

            sorry for delay – was on holiday. will do so asap

        • ZoneSix says:

          Hey Lee – have you seen the game yet? Its out on Steam as a bundle with the other ones … have only spent a bit of time on it so far but graphics are definitely improved while they seem to have kept the overall feel of the original.

          • Lee Guo says:

            Hey! Thanks for remembering me from long ago! I saw someone play this game on youtube and I wasn’t too impressed. It looked like old master of orion 2, again. Maybe it’s because I’ve advanced beyond the desire for games against computers or games as a whole. My interests in gaming have gone down lately. I don’t know why. This master of orion playthrough that i watched on youtube didn’t seem so great to me.
            And the money is too much! I’m not gonna pay 49 dollars. Maybe when it goes down I will try it.
            How are you?? Thanks for keeping up with me, again!

          • Lee Guo says:

            Actually, what am I talking about?? Lately, I’ve been watching people play another game. A game called mechwarrior online. I’ve been really into that game but sadly my computer can’t play it. I guess I’m not so interested in playing against computers as I am playing against other people. I guess that’s it. If this new master of orion that just came out has a multiplayer aspect, that will really interest me. I dunno, maybe tomorrow i will be interested in it again even without multiplayer. I don’t know what’s going on with my mind lately LOL but right now MOO doesn’t seem too interesting …………….. i dunno!

          • ZoneSix says:

            Hi Lee – actually I think it has multiplayer built in but I’ve not yet tried that. It does seem somewhat restrictive (I’ve only played about 1-2hr over a couple of days) in the tech tree area and also in the ship types that you can build, but unfortunately I’ve not managed to finish a game yet as it keeps on freezing on my computer! I get about 25-35 turns in and it stalls … I know that its an early release but I was hoping for more! 🙂

          • Lee Guo says:

            Oh wow, sounds like it’s got bugs. I might look into it when the bugs get fixed and when it becomes cheaper i think. or maybe leech a copy off the internet lool at some point.
            Thank you for telling me the heads up
            i still love moo… well, the only game i ever played in the series was moo2, but i love the game concepts — advancing tech, building warships, conquering enemy empires. i will probably give the new moo a try when it becomes cheaper

          • Lee Guo says:

            i can’t wait to see what the multiplayer is like, thanks for telling me!

  2. Tom says:

    “In Death Ground” and “Shiva Option” are my all-time favorites. I’ve spent years looking for similar works. I am buying this book today. Thanks for posting.
    If you can recommend anymore like “Shiva,” please post or let me know!

    • ZoneSix says:

      Hi Tom – have you tried the Empires at War series by Doug Dandridge? They are really good & at 9 books and counting should keep you going for a bit! I’ve recently been reading the Slaver Wars series too by Raymond L. Weil and they are good also but they don’t have the massive fleet battles and in all honesty the editing and some of the plot elements aren’t as good! 🙁 Another series that I really like is by John Ringo in his Troy Rising Universe … it takes a while for the huge fleet battles to happen but when they do – well lets just say its worth the wait! 🙂

Leave a Reply