''Succession'' consists of two novels, ''The Risen Empire'' and ''The Killing of Worlds'', by ScottWesterfeld. The series takes place several millenia into the future, when humanity has spread and altered itself vastly.

The Risen Empire are eighty planets (the Eighty Worlds) ruled by the Risen Emperor, a man who found a way to become immortal in order to save his twelve-year-old sister. This defeat of the Old Enemy, death, led to his becoming the ruler of the empire along the Senate with his sister, the Child Empress, for 1600 years; anyone who is 'elevated' (considered worthy of reanimation) who dies cleanly can be given the symbiant, which brings the dead person back to life. Other civilizations also exist; the most prominent is the Rix Cult, which is a race of cyborg women devoted to spreading compound minds (intelligent AI that takes over anything electronic it can get access to). The Empire and the Rix are often at odds with each other, as most of the Empire sees intelligent machines as unnatural.

''The Risen Empire'' begins with the Rix taking the Child Empress hostage in order to spread a compound mind on her home planet, Legis XV. Captain Laurent Zai, a war hero piloting a prototype reconnaissance starship in the Legis system, is commanded to save her and the political prisoners also trapped with her. These hostages are so important that any of their deaths on Zai's part will lead to an Error of Blood, a ritual suicide without reanimation for not completing the Emperor's wishes. Complicating things on Zai's end further is his relationship with Nara Oxham, a senator who he's fallen in love with and who is openly against reanimation and the Emperor's rule. The plot thickens through many desperate twists and battles as Oxham and Zai try to keep the empire and each other from falling apart. The books were originally meant to be one book but [[DividedForPublication were split for publishing reasons]], so ''The Risen Empire'' just kind of ends; ''The Killing of Worlds'' picks up directly where it leaves off.

Two of Westerfeld's first published novels, it's easy to see where inspiration and concepts in his later works came from. It is in need of WikiMagic.
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!! This series provides examples of:
* AerithAndBob: Names like Laurent and Anastasia juxtaposed with those like Katherie and Nara. Like in {{Uglies}}, Westerfeld plays with these - people with more traditional and 'gray' backgrounds have more normal names, while people who are more radical politically or socially have more exotic ones.
* AIIsACrapshoot: Played with. The AIs are hostile to the Imperials, but only because the Risen Empire itself is violently opposed to compound minds because the Emperor ''really'' hates the idea of competition.
* AllLoveIsUnrequited: Poor Katherie.
* AttackDrone: Virtually all craft besides full-sized capital ships are remote-piloted or AI-controlled drones. They're also rather small -- "intelligencer" survellence craft are comperable in size and weight to ''a speck of dust'', while FTL-comm equipped forward command drones (necessary to eliminate light-speed lag during battles taking place over interplanetary distances) are roughly the size of a large coffin. Also notable are "flockers", finger-sized AI-controlled kinetic-kill missiles that are rather dumb individually, but are deployed in swarms numbering in the ''thousands'', allowing them to form very clever democratic intelligence networks.
* BlessedWithSuck and/or CursedWithAwesome: Both Nara Oxham's empathy and Rana Harter's "brainbug".
* BulletTime: One of Zai's marines has reflexes in the top hundredth-percentile for the ''entire human race'', so he spends his entire life like this.
* TheCaptain: [[CaptainObvious Captain Laurent Zai]].
* DividedForPublication: But it's one 704-page volume in UK paperback.
* EmpireWithADarkSecret: The Risen Empire and the Emperor are nowhere near as perfect as the Emperor would like people to think. [[spoiler: Immortality by the symbiant only lasts about 400 years in absolute time, and the Emperor is willing to destroy entire worlds to keep word from getting out.]]
* {{Epigraph}}: Every chapter starts with a quote from the in-universe Anonymous 167, who is Zai's favorite military strategist and who sometimes sounds quite a bit like Sun Tzu.
* EmperorScientist: The Risen Emperor invented immortality, followed by a religion based around him and his invention.
* FaceHeelTurn: The XO is seen to be contemplating one. [[spoiler: She was infiltrating the circle of mutineers to bring them down]].
* GenreSavvy: Alexander notes that, based upon his entire library of millions of books, plays, and video games, that [[RevealingCoverup governments that hide secrets do so at their own peril]].
* GodEmperor: An interesting case, since everyone acknowledges that the Emperor was mortal, and that it was his own invention that led to his "Divine Ascension."
* HealingFactor: The symbiant can heal a dead person's body to a certain extent, but after a certain point, reanimating a damaged body would just be a living hell because their body would be unable to heal.
* LoveAcrossBattlelines:
** Laurent and Nara are on completely opposite sides of the political spectrum, and his crewmembers refuse to even countenance the possibility of a relationship. [[spoiler: For once, a HighHeelFaceTurn does not take place- instead Laurent is the one to switch sides. When their relationship is revealed, at least some of Laurent's fellow officers approve.]]
** Rana and [[spoiler: H_rd]].
* TheMutiny: [[spoiler: Unsuccessful]].
* {{Nanotechnology}}: Nanos are used as weapons as well as for healing.
* NumberTwo: Katherie Hobbes.
* ThePowerOfLove: [[spoiler: The reason why Zai did not commit the ritual suicide required of him after the failed rescue of the Child Empress]].
* OppositesAttract: In-universe. Several people refuse to believe that there could really be a relationship between the [[ItMakesSenseInContext gray military captain Laurent Zai and the pink opposition Senator Nara Oxham]].
* PoorCommunicationKills: Played with. [[spoiler: It appears that [[TheCaptain Laurent Zai's]] [[NumberTwo XO]] is so piqued at learning the person he loves and refused suicide for isn't her (having briefly thought it was) that she plans to join the mutiny against him. However, she just does this in order to ''stop'' the mutiny attempt.]]
* SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale: Averted for the most part. Westerfeld takes time needed to travel and space distances into consideration, with travel between the distant Legis system and the Empire's central planet, Home, taking ten years in absolute time. The series also has two different scales, one the vast reaches of space and the other on the level of nanotechnology.
* {{Seppuku}}: Expected of Imperial officers if they fail important missions.
* SmartHouse: Nara Oxham owns one that Laurent visits.
* SoBeautifulItsACurse: [[NumberTwo Katherie Hobbes]], in a somewhat unusual example of the trope. Her beauty doesn't cause the usual problems for the most part, but it marks her out as being from a Utopian world.
* {{Telepathy}}: Nara Oxham can feel people's emotions as a side effect of surgery, an ability called empathy. She was thought to be mad for several years because large populations of humans overwhelmed her mind with emotion. There is a 'cure' of sorts, an 'apathy' bracelet that injects a drug to suppress the empathy, but Oxham often lowers the dosage or stops using the drug during meetings so she can read crowds.
* UnusualUserInterface: Most military officers and political workers have forms of surgical synesthesia and in some cases eyescreens like those later seen in ''{{Uglies}}''. The surgery to give people this synesthesia can cause strange side effects, like Oxham's empathy.
* WeWillHavePerfectHealthInTheFuture: All the major factions have absolutely no disease at all. However, they maintain a joint neutral zone called the Plague Axis in which diseases are allowed to flourish among the inhabitants just in case a new plague ever arises and they might be able to find a cure among the diseased. Inhabitant of the Plague Axis are required to wear environmental isolation suits when on envoys to the other factions.
* WhoWantsToLiveForever: The 'pink' faction in the Senate, who want to stop use of the symbiant and let folks die naturally. Several different factions and parties exist within this group with differing reasons for wanting the symbiant gone.
** Notably, they want this because they think it's better for ''society'', not because they think immortality would suck for ''individuals''.
** There are a few examples who think immortality does suck for individuals; Nara's chief aide had a lover who became immortal, and when he went to visit her, he described her as dead, but still moving. "The dead are dead, Nara. The symbiant is a lie."
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