''The Lost Stars'' is a hard SF series by [[Creator/JohnHemry Jack Campbell]], a spinoff of his ''Literature/TheLostFleet'' series. Taking place shortly after the end of the Alliance-Syndicate War, the Syndicate Worlds have begun collapsing following their defeat in the war. In the star system of Midway, two Syndicate [=CEOs=], Gwen Iceni and Artur Drakon, revolt and free their system from the Syndicate Worlds. It's an uphill struggle but they do have some things going for them. They have the (compromised) loyalty of their subordinates, the (mercurial) consent of the citizenry, and, most importantly, the (tepid) support of Black Jack, the godlike entity who single-handedly brought the Sydicate Worlds to its knees. Working together while always suspecting one is about to double cross the other, the face issues of controlling Midway themselves, and how to alter its oppressive practices, and defend it from the aliens only a star system away.

Consists of:
* ''Tarnished Knight''
* ''Perilous Shield''
* ''Imperfect Sword''
* ''Shattered Spear''

Not to be confused with ''Literature/LostStars'', which is a ''Franchise/StarWars'' novel.

!!Tropes featured
* TwentyFourHourArmor: After it's made clear that someone is trying to assassinate Bradamount when she's on a ship full of former Syndic prisoners of war, she wears Rogero's armor at all times until the end of the journey. RealityEnsues and the smell is utterly horrific when she takes it off.
* AFatherToHisMen: Drakon is willing to share the burden of combat with his men and avoid useless waste of lives. This didn't sit well with his aggressive and cold-hearted superiors but did wonders to his reputation with the common soldiers.
* AllMenArePerverts: Iceni and Morgan think this. Colonel Gaiene is in no hurry to prove them wrong.
* AnotherSideAnotherStory: The whole concept of the series, which explores the Syndic side of the end of the war, from Midway's perspective. Iceni and Drakon frequently speculate (incorrectly) about Geary's motives and assume he's running the Alliance now.
* ArtisticLicensePhysics: Humans have faster-than-light travel but not communication, and FTL travel doesn't work within a solar system—so in the many space battles, characters' information is limited by the speed of light. Usually this is done properly, but on a couple of occasions, characters on ship A see distant-ship B's reaction to event C (such as a fleet arriving from hyperspace) before A actually sees C (and they'll even have time to wonder what caused B to act as it did). Geometrically, that just can't happen—no matter where A, B, and C are, A will be able to see C before it can see B's reaction to C.
* AscendedExtra: Drakon, Iceni, Morgan, Malin, Rogero, Bradamont and Marphisa were all characters in ''The Lost Fleet'' but were minor characters at best. Rogero didn't even appear in person, only in the form of a recording. This time around, all of them are major characters with vastly larger roles.
* AssassinOutclassin: Anyone who's anything in Syndicate Worlds is either ''extremely'' good at this or dead.
* BelligerentSexualTension:
** Morgan and Malin. To the point where Drakon asks Malin if they're involved. Malin reacts with a tremendous amount of disgust to the question [[spoiler:(Because he's her ''son'')]], enough to convince Drakon they aren't.
** Drakon and Iceni. Both of whom are constantly worried the other is going to stab them in the back while also having the causal sexual thought of the other. [[spoiler:Resolved by marriage at the end of the series.]]
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: When Drakon is storming the ISS facility at the start of the series, one of the ISS commandos takes her own life upon realizing that the battle was lost. Since the ISS had spent a century and a half tormenting and oppressing the general populace of the Syndic Worlds, [[ColdBloodedTorture she was most likely concerned about what would happen to her if she was taken alive.]]
%%* TheChainsOfCommanding: Iceni
* BloodKnight: A variant with Colonel Gaiene. It's not that he enjoys killing or fighting, it's just that fighting is one of the few things that makes him feel alive anymore.
* ColonelBadass: Drakon is this, but gets KickedUpstairs to FourStarBadass. Malin and Morgan sub in. Kommodore Marphisa massively levels up in rank to get here, and proves up to the challenge.
* ColonelKilgore: Morgan is this. For obvious reasons listed on this page.
* CoversAlwaysLie: For the first time in the series, not the case. This time, the cover depicts Drakon holding a gun, something which he actually does often in the series.
** Subverted with the second novel. Which has [[RunningGag Iceni making a heroic pose with a gun.]]
* DarkMessiah: [[spoiler:Morgan believes that she can raise her and Drakon's daughter]] to be a [[YoungConqueror cunning mastermind]] who can take on Black Jack and conquer all of human space.
%%* {{Deuteragonist}}: Iceni.
* DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale: Morgan coerces a drunk Drakon into having sex with her, to the point where he doesn't even remember what happened. This is stated to be a failure on ''his'' part, rather than a crime on hers. If the position were reversed, it would definitely be called rape.
* DoYouTrustMe: Gwen and Artur to each other, frequently, in the second context. Artur has specifically said he would trust Gwen implicitly, because he believes she won't betray him. [[BelligerentSexualTension Gwen really wants to believe him.]]
* DrowningMySorrows:
** Colonel Gaiene, who's developed a reputation for being a drunken letch due to [[WarIsHell seeing so much war.]]
** Drakon indulges in a little of this, leading to a one night stand he did ''not'' want to happen.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: Rogero and Bradamont, neither of which ''ever'' expected to actually pursue a relationship together, but who were lucky enough to be able. They still need to keep it [[SecretRelationship on the down low.]]
* EasyLogistics: Much like in the ''Lost Fleet'', it's averted here. Early on, Iceni and Drakon managed to capture a partially completed battleship. A good portion of their efforts after that are not just dedicated to obtaining more resources to complete it, but also to finding sailors to crew it, which proves to be much harder than one might imagine. It gets to the point where they have to embark a risky mission through Syndic space to retrieve several thousand prisoners of war from the Alliance to act as crew.
* EvilCannotComprehendGood: Or, at least, darkish and morally conflicted Grey can't comprehend Good. A dramatically ironic running gag in the series is that both Iceni and Drakon believe Black Jack to be a shrewd politician and a masterful power broker, interpreting all his charitable and genuinely kindhearted actions through this lens. The ''Lost Fleet'' series proper has already revealed this to be severely not the case, and he has no idea he appears as such to them. Notably, they are utterly confounded by his demotion from Fleet Admiral, wondering what could be the purpose behind a reduction in rank. They are floored and disbelieving when told he did it for love.
** They also tend to misread it in themselves, with Iceni in particular having a sort of philosophical crisis as she comes to realize she might disagree more with certain tyrannical and immoral actions that she previously thought.
* FantasticDrug: Drakon needs to lure some unsuspecting guards onto his ship. He instructs his subordinate to dress as a dock worker, go out, and try to pander some "Happy Stuff" to them, a legendary drug that's never been found.
* FascistButInefficient: Syndicate Worlds had so much big-time corruption and petty fraud going on that any official data on anything were basically only useful as propaganda, with the secret police being about the only organization motivated enough to really work. Then again, they got overthrown in many systems, even with fanatically loyal troops, ubiquitous surveillance and near-perfect lie detectors at their disposal.
* FauxAffablyEvil: ISS CEO 'Happy' Hua, whose friendly appearance and demeanor has tricked many a person into telling her incriminating things about themselves and others in confidence, which she then exploits ruthlessly.
* FirstNameBasis: Iceni finally gets fed up with their last name basis and insists Drakon call her by her first name, Gwen. Drakon then insists Iceni call him by his first name, Artur.
* FlawExploitation: The ISS will believe any CEO, or former, is overconfident. For their part, the former CEO's quickly learn the ISS will follow battle doctrines and planned tactics to the letter, and are able to plan ahead accordingly.
* FullCircleRevolution: Drakon and Iceni are going out of their way to avert this, but there are times when they find themselves seriously considering acts that were typical Syndic behavior.
* GreenEyedMonster: A subtle version with Iceni, who gets really mad when [[spoiler: Malin]] tells her about how Morgan slept with Drakon, and then quickly turns around and wonders whether she was actually taking the news ''personally''.
** The Syndics, regarding Geary and the enigmas. He found out more in a year than they did in a century.
* GreyAndBlackMorality: Both Drakon and Iceni have made and continue to make morally questionable decisions, but they're by far better than what they're trying to replace.
* HiddenVillain: By ''Perilous Shield'', is becomes apparent someone other than leftover Syndicate World agents are messing with Midway, only being noticeable when they purposefully act sloppy enough to appear as Syndicate agents. The most mysterious piece of the puzzle is the early, before more obviously influential people, assassination of an otherwise ordinary officer, who was also noted to have been kept around despite apparently being a mediocre soldier.
%%* IGaveMyWord: Drakon, to four ISS agents.
* IKnowYouKnowIKnow: Comes up frequently, since everyone is expecting everyone else to backstab them. Tellingly, Iceni is so used to this way of thinking she is incapable of believing Black Jack at one point is simply asking for supplies and has to go through an impressive set of mental gymnastics using this trope to justify to herself giving him what he requested.
* InappropriatelyCloseComrades: It's mentioned that the Syndicate Worlds put restrictions on relationships, but that these rules were often broken. Given the nastiness of the Syndic system, however, the breaches were often a case of either SleepingTheirWayToTheTop or SexualExtortion rather than actual romance. And then there's [[spoiler:the incident with Drakon and Morgan]].
* InsigniaRipOffRitual: Not literally, but Drakon and Iceni decide they need to break with Syndic naming conventions as a way of distinguishing themselves as different from their former masters. Each decides to adopt the title General and President respectively, giving their military actual ranks instead of corporate titles, and even naming their ships.
* IHaveBoobsYouMustObey: Morgan is sexually attractive, and not afraid to use it to confuse or take advantage of men, Because AllMenArePerverts.
* ItsPronouncedTropay: Readers may be tempted to read the name of the planet Kane as similar to 'cane', but it's in a group of Hawaiian themed planets and thus pronounced 'kah-nay', with long vowels.
* KnightInShiningArmor: Invoked in a passage leading up to a TitleDrop in ''Tarnished Knight''
* KnightInSourArmor: Drakon is the Tarnished Knight.
* LastStand: Snake forces are fanatic, and their Viper special op units even moreso. They frequently fight to the death wherever they end up cornered.
* LikeAWeasel: CEO Boynes has a tendency to keep coming back and switching sides.
* LukeYouAreMyFather: [[spoiler: Malin tells Drakon that he knows that ''Morgan'' is his mother.]] His adoptive mother was one of the attending doctors before what was expected to be a suicide mission.
* MajorlyAwesome: Rogero and Gaiene are this, despite being Colonels, as they don't have quite the authority of Malin and Morgan (despite all of them having the same rank) and are actually in the fighting more often.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: Iceni at one point tries very hard to argue herself into believing its a coincidence.
* MeaningfulName: The "tarnished knight" of the title is named Artur Drakon (cf. [[KingArthur Arthur Pendragon]]).
** He had a one night stand with crazy chick Morgan. Morgan le Fay being Arthur's manipulative and scheming half-sister who slept with him [[spoiler:and planned for their child to take over the throne]].
** Drakon's other staff member and Morgan's rival is Malin. Malin also works closely with Iceni and sincerely believes in establishing Midway as a free and independent nation. ''Mer''lin was Arthur's trusted adviser in establishing his kingdom and opposed Morgan le Fay.
** Gwen is Gweneviere. Her last name is the name of the tribe of the famous British Queen Boudicca.
* MommyIssues: It's safe to say Malin has these, as he sought out transfer under Drakon ''specifically'' to find [[spoiler: Morgan, and stayed with Morgan]] to protect her. As well as Drakon from her.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Iceni very likely accidentally ordered the assassination of an annoying political opponent in a fit of rage, and it shocks her enough to make an agreement with Drakon to stop all assassination attempts by either.
* MythologyGag: Jokes about the ghastly [[IndestructibleEdible Danaka Yoruk bars]] continue from the parent series. It turns out the Syndics can't stand the things either. One character palmed off the entire supply that they'd taken from a captured Alliance unit to an ISS unit. Since the snakes never came back, they apparently were either killed by the Alliance or killed by eating the Danaka Yoruks.
* NeverFoundTheBody: [[spoiler:Morgan]], invoked by name and averted in that [[spoiler:she]] didn't ''actually'' die until the next book. And then died in a very public way.
* OutWithABang: A Snake gets taken out this way
--> "But the climax was a bit more intense then the snake was prepared for."
--> "The old tricks are the best" Iceni said dryly.
* PragmaticVillainy: Iceni and Drakon are not exactly good and honorable, but moving towards that ideal is pragmatic. Brutal dictatorship led the Syndicate into chaos. Taking over neighboring star systems takes efforts and ties down troops, while making allies means more resources to fight the common enemy. Giving freedom and civil reforms means greater worker productivity and much less chance for assassination.
* ProductionForeshadowing: Since this series takes place concurrently with the Lost Fleet sequel series, but lags behind in releases, there's occasional spoilers from Beyond the Frontier that hint at the future in each book of this series.
* PoisonousFriend/PsychoSupporter: Morgan is this to Drakon in spades, as he fully realizes when he learns that [[spoiler: her psych eval was fake and she has ''serious'' issues.]]
%%* PostVictoryCollapse: Kontos and his forces
* PowderKegCrowd: The planet, after the security forces are destroyed. More than once certain hidden figures try to set it off.
* {{Pride}}: Drakon appears like this, for FlawExploitation.
* ProperlyParanoid: Everyone, since the Syndicate system fomented this ''on purpose'' as a way to [[UnfriendlyFire pit their underlings]] [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident against each other]], [[UriahGambit to keep them from rebelling]] against the Syndicate leaders.
* ReassignedToAntarctica: The general premise for why people end up stationed at Midway.
* RunningGag: As with the Lost Fleet series, a number of jokes are centered on present day idioms and turns of phrase that have had their context lost to time by the period the books take place in. For instance, Iceni's assistant Togo advises several new names to replace CEO, among them "the Man" and "the Big Cheese," both of which are only known to have been ancient indicators of status.
** And, as stated above, Iceni and Drakon amusingly read Geary as much more politically cunning than he really is, turning his casual and sincere charity into masterful maneuvers to get their support and help himself.
* StateSec: The ISS, not so fondly referred to as snakes. In the wake of the Syndicate Worlds collapse, they have even less qualms than most concerning arrests, torture, and mass murder.
* ShoutOut: To ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' series. When Iceni decides to name her cruisers for mythical creatures the first three names she settles on are "Manticore," "Gryphon" and "Basilisk".[[note]]Two of the Star Kingdom's home planets and the primary setting of the very first novel, respectively.[[/note]]
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Iceni's new naval ranks.
* SpinOff: Type 11. A few very minor characters in The Lost Fleet become the main characters for this series.
* SurprisePregnancy: [[spoiler: Inverted. Morgan knew she was pregnant and purposefully had sex with Drakon]] because she thought they would have an especially talented child. Drakon is the one who is surprised to learn this.
** In a double Whammy, this is revealed by Malin almost immediately after Malin reveals [[spoiler: he himself is the result of a previous surprise pregnancy involving Morgan,]] one which neither she nor the likely one-night stand father know about at all.
* ThemeNaming:
** Midway and all the planets that surround it have Hawaiian themed names.
** The names 'Gwen Iceni,' 'Artur Drakon,' 'Roh Morgan,' 'Malin' and others allude to Arthurian legend.
* UnusualEuphemism: Some Syndic terminology. One common example is that people are not killed, they are 'Subject to Life Termination'.
* {{UST}}: Drakon and Iceni. With the subtly of a brick. [[spoiler:Eventually taken care of in book 4, with a marriage a few short weeks later.]]
* TheyCallMeMisterTibbs: Hardrad exploits their inability to do this to humiliate.
* TokenGoodTeammate: Marphissa, who is genuinely dedicated making Midway more free, and helps push Iceni consider more reforms.
%%* TheVamp: Morgan.
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: Averted. Iceni and Drakon assume Geary is this, because they are '''so''' jaded, they cannot [[EvilCannotComprehendGood believe he is sincere.]]
* WantsAPrizeForBasicDecency: Averted with Rogero. He manages to resist being seduced by a recently liberated executive [[spoiler: who turns out to be an undercover snake]] and then thinks wryly that it's an achievement that he won't exactly be able to boast about.
* WhamEpisode: The last chapter of ''Perilous Shield'' lays it on THICK. [[spoiler: Malin has been lying to Drakon, it turns out that Morgan is actually his biological mother, Morgan's psych evaluation was falsified out of pity and she is dangerously unstable, it turns out that Morgan is pregnant with Drakon's child, and that she wants to raise the child to be someone who could rule over all of human space, surpassing even John "Black Jack" Geary.]]
* WhatDidIDoLastNight: Drakon with Morgan. When he wakes up he hopes last night had been a very vivid dream, until he feels the scratch marks on himself and sees the torn sheets.
* WhatWouldXDo: In the first battle, Iceni succeeds by pondering what Black Jack would do. Later, she has studied his battles more systemically.
** Of course, this does go a bit against the answer to that question she came up with in the first battle -- "Not follow the rules."
* WithDueRespect: "I have just contradicted a CEO to her face."
* WouldNotHurtAChild: Why Drakon protects the families of security agents.
* YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre: Both Iceni and Drakon are the subject of this both directly and indirectly.
%%* YouAreInCommandNow: Kontos
%%* YourHeadASplode: CEO Hardrad
%%--> Morgan "He was working away at activating those detonation codes when his brains got turned into wallpaper"