This is the second book of Asimov’s Foundation Series. This is a worthy sequel to a great start. 10/10.
One of my favorite parts of this book is the way he chooses words and phrases, which seems different from his other books. He might describe two politicians who hold the same office; one who is a wise and strong leader who rose to the challenge of the times and took office only after some hesitation, and a second who seems inept and only in office because of nepotism. For the first, Asimov might use a word like “office” to describe his physical workplace, but for the second, he might use a phrase like “palace,” appealing to motifs from Rome before the fall. The latter says things like “I am the state,” infamous late words of The Emperor Napoleon. There are many interesting motifs throughout the book used to differentiate characters whose ideologies place them on either the rising or the falling side of civilization.
At the beginning of the book, we find the Foundation several centuries into living out Seldon’s secret plan for them. The first half of the book is about a general who comes to conquer the Foundation. The second half is about the rise of a new menace. There are several MAJOR surprises which become existential plot twists. Like Seldon, I won’t give too much detail, but buckle up because this one is a more traumatic read than the first book.