General Tiber Maximillian Adolphus rose up in a rebellion against the corrupt and decadent Constellation of Planets and its ruthless leader, Diadem Michaela Duchenet. He failed, defeated by an act of base dishonor from commodore Percival Hallholme at the crucial last battle. He and his supporters were banished to the Deep Zone planet of Hallholme (the titular Hellhole) as an act of "compassion" by the Diadem that was intended to lead to their deaths. But the General thrived in exile and now plans a bold action for the abused Deep Zone planets to gain indepence. The web of intrigue and hardship has an unexpected turn when the previous inhabitants of Hellhole, a planet still reeling from an asteroid impact 500 years ago, shows signs of its original inhabitants returning.
trilogy of books is co-authored by Kevin J. Anderson
and Brian Herbert
. The first book came out in 2011, and the second, Hellhole Awakening
came out in 2013. Throughout the books there are multiple viewpoint characters both among the protagonist "Deezee" rebels and the antagonists in the Constellation, some of whom die during the course of the books. It handles the social and political aspects of living in a frontier, inhospitable wilderness and the Deadly Decadent Court
that overtaxes them. Interspersed with the politics and intrigue there's a lot of personal and even romantic drama.
These books provide examples of.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The original goal of the Xayan race.
- Break the Cutie: Antonia. Not once but twice. Herlover murder her noble family, conviced her it was assassins and they lived together as fugitives for months. Once she escapes him and gets to Hellhole, she starts to heal from her emotional wounds. Then he finds her and rapes her.
- Demonic Possession: What the Diadem and Ishop Heer believe the aliens and slickwater do to people. For that matter, Sophie and the General had their doubts and carry them for a while. Til the Xayans prove their honesty and value as allies.
- Determinator: Keana Duchenet, who stalemated the Xayan trying to possess her and forced him into a partnership type arrangement instead.
- Determined Homesteader: Sophie Vence, with a side order of "most successful businesswoman on planet Hellhole".
- A Father to His Men: Adolphus acts this way, and has their Undying Loyalty in return.
- Fling a Light into the Future: The Xayans built two of these. The slickwater pools stored memories and personalities of the Xayans to survive the asteroid that would destroy their planet. A second group built an undergound bunker of artifacts with five Xayan Popsicles.
- Honor Before Reason: Once Adolphus gives his word, he keeps it. This is why he lost in the backstory, Percival Hallholme, under order by the Diadem to lie and claim his ships were full of the rebel's family members and comrades, caused Adolphus to hesitate long enough to get critical damage on his opponents fleet.
- Mental Fusion: Up to a point. When a human and Xayan merge they remain separate identities sharing a body, but they can share their memories and they can focus combined wills into their Telemancy. Further, groups of Xayans and Shadow-Xayans can create group efforts at Telemancy with planetary scale.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: all of the sympathetic and moral characters in the Constellation military believe this to some extent. Despite having first hand knowledge of Diadem Michaela Duchenet's immorality and ruthlessness, they support the governemnt.
- Nice Guy: Keana's jilted husband Bolton, who just wants her to be happy even if it involves having a lover. He views their Arranged Marriage as a political necessity. Takes a level in badass in the second book when he insist on joining the attack fleet going to Hellhole to rescue her.
- Then there's Vincent, who is essentially an Action Survivor caught up in the stories events. He just wants to do geology surveys, but goes on dangerous missions to help his buddy Fernando.
- Officer and a Gentleman: Adolphus, through and through. Also, despite his actions, Commodore Percival Hallholme.
- Spoiled Sweet: Keana Duchenet, daughter of Diadem Michaela. While she's careless, she doesn't have a malicious bone in her body.
- The Spymaster: Ishop Heer. Despite being tremendously talented his germophobe tendencies make him stay away from potentially important discoveries.
- Whatevermancy: Xayan Telemancy, a combination of Telepathy, Mind over Matter and a wee bit of Reality Warping.