The ''Spiral Arm'' is a SpaceOpera series by MichaelFlynn, consisting thus far of

* ''The January Dancer''
* ''Up Jim River''
* ''In the Lion's Mouth''
* ''On the Razor's Edge''

They take place in a far-future galaxy, caught between the League on one side, and the Confederacy on the other, of a starless rift, in a great game of intrigue and adventure.

The setting is further in the future of his previous Firestar series, a near future SF novel set about private space travel being financed by a female industrialist. Earth attained an advanced civilization with AI and nanotechnology, and underwent periods of successive Chinese and Indian world hegemony(known to the far future people as Zhogwo, a corruption of the Chinese term Zhonguo for Middle Kingdom and Tantamiz, a Tamil term for their language respectively).

Wormhole variants called Krasnikov tubes and sublight seedships were used for interstellar colonization and an Earth ruled interstellar empire called the Commonwealth was founded and most nations on Earth founded colonies, which were oppressed and called the "Lesser Worlds". Evidence of an ancient empire of silicon based alien life called the People of Sand and Iron was discovered and used by the Chinese and Indian regimes in the Commonwealth to justify oppressing the colony worlds as a defense measure against an alien threat.

The colony on Tau Ceti, now referred to in the contemporary language as Dao Chetty, revolted and founded a totalitarian regime called the Confederation of Centralized Worlds ruled by a secretive elite nomenklatura called Those of Name and destroyed the Commonwealth, and initiated a forced population transfer called the Cleansing against their former oppressors on Earth. The Cleansing included deliberately mixing nationalities to stifle revolt among the deportees through linguistic and cultural conflict. AI and nanotechnology were lost during this period.

Eventually, after a period of interregnum, a new interstellar age comes about with the United League of the Periphery, a series of colony worlds ruled by the Ardry monarchy and supported by their Hound secret agents in rivalry with the Confederation.

Fallen colonies exist at the edge called the Wild, with such worlds as Oram and Enjrun existing in savagery and independent planets such as Cynthia and Gladiola vying for power with the larger interstellar nations.

Worlds have formed their own cultures and ethnicities and Terrans, the deported Earth people live in segregated ghettoes on various worlds called Terran Corners. Science, much of it lost with the Cleansing, has devolved to a syncretic religion that worships Newton, Einstein, Maxwell and Schroedinger as literal gods to be prayed to and the universe is in a kind of transhuman medieval stasis.

The novels focus on intrigue between these groups, various individuals and the search for prehuman artifacts of the People of Sand and Iron.

NeedsABetterDescription

!!Tropes included in these works:
* AirVentPassageway: Discussed and dismissed a moment later.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: Arson, rebellion and leaving your licensed township.
* ArtifactOfDoom: The Dancer, they think.
* BadDreams: Discussed in ''January Dancer''
* BigDumbObject: The underground treasuries.
* BlessedWithSuck: You find a marvelous array of treasures -- that you can't remove.
* BottledHeroicResolve: Booster
* ButterflyOfDeathAndRebirth: Used metaphorically
* BuyThemOff: Werguild is offered, after a civil war.
* {{Cincinnatus}}: Cited in an argument, with GeorgeWashington and two more names.
* TheCityNarrows: Terran Corner on Jehovah
* {{Cliffhanger}}: ''Up Jim River'' and ''In the Lion's Mouth''
* CompellingVoice: What the Dancer gives
* CorruptBureaucrat: On one planet, a country revolts from a honest administration.
* DaddyHadAGoodReasonForAbandoningYou: Sometimes you really have to deal with something dangerous.
* DarkSkinnedBlonde: The planet Alabaster's PhenotypeStereotype
* DisappearedDad: the harper was raised by her mother alone.
* DoomedMoralVictor: Discussed in a subverted form.
* DramaticThunder: When the storm first strikes.
* DrowningMySorrows: In the bar on Jehovah.
* DueToTheDead: Ravn promises a proper burial to Donovan.
* DysfunctionalFamily: The Hounds are somewhat likely this, according to noe.
* TheExile: Fa Li, according to those at court
* FamedInStory: The civil war was immortalized in song before it was four weeks old.
* FearlessFool: The Brute
* FeudalFuture: The Ardry -- or king.
* FireForgedFriends: In the civil war.
* FisherKing: The emperor of the morning dew really hates that his subjects believe this.
* {{Flashback}}: Many of returning memories for Donovan
* FriendlyEnemy: After a civil war, the two sides often join to sing of the various exploits.
* FriendOrFoe: A problem with an undercover war.
* FrogsAndToads: The "Frog Prince" can jump
* FullCircleRevolution: Discussed in a subverted form.
* GoodSamaritan: Gives "booster" after an ambush.
* GreenEyedMonster: Bridget is furious when she hears another woman seduced Donovan.
* GreenEyes: One of the first things noted about the woman in the opening of ''January Dancer''. Before her name, even.
* HappinessInSlavery: Podiin, who is mentally retarded
* HarmlessLadyDisguise: Hugh uses it.
* [[MistreatmentInducedBetrayal Help Face Turn]]: Do not ignore that you have armor and your men dont'
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: A danger of repression
* HonoraryUncle: Does not make a man less dangerous.
* HonorBeforeReason: Burning down your own ammunition factory to keep guns out of the war.
* IGaveMyWord: Hugh's motive
* IHaveManyNames: The narrator introduces the scarred man with observations about how many names he has
* IKnowYouKnowIKnow: Is a good reason to confide in your enemy.
* InHarmsWay: Brute's opinion
* InUniverseCatharsis: A drug used for a vision quest has substantial effects on Donovan.
* InvisibilityCloak: Extremely high tech version.
* ItWasAGift: The harper's necklace
* KingInTheMountain: Hugh escapes and promises to return
* LaResistance: The Loyalists
* LastKiss: In memory, Donovan could not wait for one.
* LivingLegend: Zorba
* LukeIAmYourFather[=/=]LukeYouAreMyFather: Both in a fraught scene
* MacGuffin: Discussed
* MagpiesAsPortents (''One for Sorrow, Two for Joy'' nursery rhyme): Invoked
* MamaBear: Bridget, about Mearana
* TheManBehindTheMan
* ManlyTears: Pyati defends his, revealing a death.
* MeaningfulRename: Dubbing Five "Pyati"
* MissingMom: The motivation in ''Up Jim River''
* MoreHeroThanThou: Issa insisted on staying and covering his retreat.
* TheMutiny: Brought down one maxraj -- Donovan reflects on the analogy
* NeverBringAKnifeToAGunFight: An attempt to avert it by burning down the ammunition factory means
* NeverSpeakIllOfTheDead: the Fudir covers up a dead man's treachery.
* TheNondescript: Greystroke
* {{Oireland}}: A country puts it on for the tourist trade.
** FightingIrish: As a consequence
* OldFlameFizzle: Despite FireForgedFriends
* OntologicalMystery: Given the Dancer's powers, how can you know what really is happening?
* OppositesAttract
* {{Ouroboros}}: The Ouroboros Circuit
* PatronSaint: Cecelia and Jude are invoked.
* ThePlan: Retrieving Donovan
* PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad
* {{Precursors}}: "the folk of sand and iron."
* ProudWarriorRace
* TheQuest: Discussed. Also invoked
* ReassignedToAntarctica: Fa Li
* TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized: Jumdar's characterization of the Loyalists.
* RewardedAsATraitorDeserves: The man who betrays Hugh to an assasin
* RuleOfThree: ''On Razor's Edge'' opens with the observation that it started with three
* SevenDeadlySins: One library caters to at least five of them.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Discussed in ''January Dancer''
* ShoutOut: Dozens
* SiliconBasedLife: The Precursors.
* [[SoftWater Soft Gas]]: When you hit a star at speed -- it's not true.
* SpaceIsAnOcean: Played with.
* SternChase: And a stern chase is a long chase.
* AStormIsComing: Drives them off the planet
* TheStoryteller: The scarred man in ''January Dancer'' -- the ministrel sought him out for it.
* TapOnTheHead: the dangers are hinted at but not used.
* TearsOfJoy: Podiin, when Gidula promises not to free him.
* ThereAreNoCoincidences: thought of a murder
* TheTourney: A descendent is practiced among the Shadows.
* UnexpectedSuccessor: Hugh
* UngovernableGalaxy: It's hard to impossible to control even a planet, let alone large stretches.
* UsedFuture: Owing to MindControl, war, and other problems, much of the future has been used
* WanderingMinstrel: In the opening of ''January Dancer'', a woman shows up at the bar, and plays for her food, without asking.
* WarRefugees: One Hound thinks he may have aided one of these.
* WouldNotShootACivilian: One failure draws down opprobrium
* WrongGenreSavvy: Manlius thinks life is romantic, albeit a tragic romance
* YouAreInCommandNow: Hugh
* YouShallNotPass: Many rear guards near the end of the war on New Eireann
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