Although small and seemingly helpless, the Foundation had managed to survive against the greed of its neighboring warlords. But could it stand against the mighty power of the Empire, who had created a mutant man with the strength of a dozen battlefleets...
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December 31, 1951
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Excerpt from Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
BEL RIOSE. . . . In his relatively short career, Riose earned the title of "The Last of the Imperials" and earned it well. A study of his campaigns reveals him to be the equal of Peurifoy in strategic ability and his superior perhaps in his ability to handle men. That he was born in the days of the decline of Empire made it all but impossible for him to equal Peurifoy's record as a conqueror. Yet he had his chance when, the first of the Empire's generals to do so, he faced the Foundation squarely. . . .
SEARCH FOR MAGICIANS
Bel Riose traveled without escort, which is not what court etiquette prescribes for the head of a fleet stationed in a yet-sullen stellar system on the Marches of the Galactic Empire.
But Bel Riose was young and energetic--energetic enough to be sent as near the end of the universe as possible by an unemotional and calculating court--and curious besides. Strange and improbable tales fancifully repeated by hundreds and murkily known to thousands intrigued the last faculty; the possibility of a military venture engaged the other two. The combination was overpowering.