novel by Eric Flint
and K. D. Wentworth
Long ago the Ekhat bred the Jao as slaves for their incomprehensible purposes.
The Jao escaped from their tyranny and fled to form a glorious empire
that stretched out among the stars. They conquered many primitive worlds. Then they turned their eyes on an Insignificant Little Blue Planet
and sought to bring the blessings of civilization to it.
The initial results of this enterprise were not as auspicious as might be hoped.
Twenty years later Aille krinnu ava Pluthrak, a young prince of one of the most prestigious houses in The Empire
comes to take up his duties. He learns that things were not as reports had indicated. Casualties from the conquest had been immense, the governor, named Oppuck, was arrogant and insane and The Natives Were Restless
. Aille set to work. He looked over the planet, began to take humans into his service, and learned about their culture. Much had to be done for the Ekhat were on their way and humans and jao must work together to survive.
In the end all is well. Aille leads a fleet into battle to destroy the Ekhat fleet, composed of submarines retrofitted for space combat while the governor cowers in safety. He wins popularity among both the humans and the Jao stationed on Earth, and becomes head of all the Jao on Earth while meanwhile his efforts cause The Empire
to grant the humans the Jao equivalent of "home rule". And everyone lives happily ever after.
The sequel is The Crucible of Empire
This novel provides examples of:
- Badass Army: The Bond of Ebazon, drawn from all the Jao clans enforces unity among them and judges disputes.
- Benevolent Alien Invasion: Played with. The Jao are not particularly benevolent. They are just no worse then human conquerors would be.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Jao and humans to each other. Definitely the Ekhat. Bonus points to the Ekhat's Interdict faction, who are this to the other Ekhat.
- The Caligula: Governor Oppuck
- The Chessmaster: The Preceptor. Also Pluthrak is famous for chessmastery among the Jao.
- The Clan: Jao political rivalries are centered on various clans.
- Culture Clash
- Deadly Decadent Court: the Jao
- Depleted Uranium Beats Laser : During the invasion humans confounded the Jao's lasers with steam grenades. Then shot them to bits with ordinary ammunition.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: The US Army had that during the Alien Invasion.
- The Empire: The Jao
- In many ways it is a Federation. It is an alliance of several different clans with a sort of council ruling above them.
- Fantastic Racism: Several flavors:
- There's the mutual racisms between the Jao and the humans, the former seeing themselves as superior while the latter despises the other for being invaders.
- The Ekhat have four different flavors of racism depending on each faction. The Melody faction believes the universe should be cleansed of all non-Ekhat life, although it will use some non-Ekhat for a while before disposing of them when they cease to be useful. The True Harmony faction believes similarly and organizes the different species and subspecies of Ekhat into castes depending on their conception of genetic purity. The Complete Harmony faction has a similar caste system, except that they believing in "uplifting" non-Ekhat they find useful into slavery and exterminate the rest. The Interdict faction are isolationists who believe contact with any non-Ekhat is unclean, but they are known to talk to non-Ekhat for reasons known only to themselves. They envoys they send to talk to the non-Ekhat (usually a pair) brutally rip each other apart after delivering the message to purge their now-unclean selves from the rest of the Interdict.
- Feuding Families: Pluthrak vs Narvo.
- Humans Through Alien Eyes
- Humans Are Special: Humans are the first race the Jao had come across since the founding of their empire that could actually maintain a technological civilization. The Jao after Oppucks disastrous governorship decided that the easiest way to get along with humans was to call them a "taif" rather then try to assimilate them.
- Humans Are Warriors: The human held off the Jao until they could only be subdued by throwing asteroids at their cities. Allie begins to realize that they are better on his side then as enemies.
- Improvised Weapon: Submarines are improvised for space warfare.
- Just Shoot Him: The Jao are pretty good about this. They established air and space supremacy early in the invasion, but their ground forces got bogged down in Chicago. So they grab a large asteroid and turn it into a crater.
- Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: The Jao and the Ekhat are used to laser and plasma weapons, and their armor and force fields are geared for reflecting laser or deflecting plasma. They are vulnerable to raw kinetic force, making "primitive" human artillery very effective.
- Language Equals Thought: Sort of. The Jao are largely unimaginative, and have one blanket word for all forms of fiction (translating as "things-that-are-not.") However, they have an innate sense of time but no time units, since they don't need them.
- La Résistance: The Resistance. Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Mad Artist: The Ekhat
- Military Mashup Machine: The spaceships used in the fight against the Ekhat are human missile submarines - with two rows of four tank turrets in place of most of the missile launches - converted into spacecraft with Jao technology.
- Military Science-Fiction
- Omnicidal Maniac: The Ekhat
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: The Jao, especially the higher-ranking ones, have this down to an art form. For example, the technique that Aille uses is known as "advance-by-oscellation," where one deliberately goes against an authority specifically to provoke a useful reaction.
- Pragmatic Villainy : Jao are so pragmatic that they don't even "execute" those that offend the authorities. They "put them down".
- Proud Warrior Race : The Narvo are famous for this. Oppuck was an unfortunate example and by contrast one of the Narvo wins glory for his heroic death defending Terra; the award given him by the humans becomes Terra's heraldric symbol.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: The theme is based on the old idea of Romans conquering Greece then ironically adopting Greek culture.
- Redshirt Army: The Jinau, or human troops in Jao service.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: much of the resistance.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Ekhat
- Space Battle: A Space Battle inside the sun to be precise.
- Space Opera
- Space Romans: The Jao are drawn in part from the Romans, and in part from the Samurai.
- Tribal Face Paint: popular among the Jao
- Vichy Earth: a more sympathetic take than most.