A series of seven Space OperaSci Fi novels by Kevin J. Anderson, set in the Milky Way in The Future. The principal players are (initially) the Terran Hanseatic League, governed with an iron fist by its dictatorial chairman, Basil Wenceslas; the Roamers, gypsies/opportunistic explorers in space, who are initially a small group, but go on to encompass most of humanity, led by King Peter, formerly of the Hansa; and the Ildirans, the light-loving, psychically-linked inventors of the faster than light stardrive whose homeworld is illuminated by the titular seven suns. As the first novel unfolds, the Hydrogues, evil diamond-ship-using, gas-giant-dwelling aliens, and the World-Forest (initially just a fairly esoteric means of FTL communication) become major players.As the series progresses, other major protagonist groups are introduced including the Klikiss and their robot slaves, and the Faeros and Wentals, who, along with the Hydrogues and Verdani (the World-forest) form a fairly traditional war of the elements plot, without the typical Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, however, as each is capable of fighting each of the others, and losing or winning, rather than one always beating the other.The series consists of seven books, and a prequel graphic novel:
Prequel: Veiled Alliances (Graphic Novel)
Book 1: Hidden Empire
Book 2: A Forest of Stars
Book 3: Horizon Storms
Book 4: Scattered Suns
Book 5: Of Fire And Night
Book 6: Metal Swarm
Book 7: The Ashes of Worlds
The series features the following tropes:
Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: The Ildirans hold to this, due to the thism. While it's painful to break, it is not an ironclad rule.
Alien Sky: The title says it all, really. Ildira is BRIGHT.
The Alliance: The Roamer clans, and later, the Confederation under King Peter.
Anyone Can Die: Though once established, main characters tend to scrape by fairly well, it can be hard to tell who's going to be important and who's going to die, what with the sheer size of the cast
Bee People: The Ildirans have a limited Hive Mind through the thism and castes for each function of their society, though the ruler is a male.
Big Bad Ensemble: Four of them (Basil, Sirix, Rusa'h, and the hydrogues) operating largely independently, though Basil and Sirix have a tense partnership at one point.
Colony Drop: Jess Tamblyn's attack on Golgen involves hitting the gas giant with several comets.
Cosmic Horror Story: Borderline, and less so as the series goes on. Still, the hydrogues are initially presented as an uncaring and invincible force of nature, and humans as bit players in the elemental conflict.
Crapsack World: Earth devolves gradually into one of these during the series, mostly because of Basil Wenceslas. The world on which Nira is imprisoned is another.
The hydrogues initial attack is a response to the destruction of one of their worlds with the Klikiss Torch, which converts gas giants to suns.
Easy Evangelism: The telink/thism network. Mind you, there are strong insinuations that it involves (possibly unintentional) brainwashing. And it also turns out to be as much a weakness as a strength, and gets a lot of humans killed by the faeros who would have otherwise been safe.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Averted in that none of the four elemental species trump another merely because of their affinity. The hydrogues and faeros are matched while the verdani are weakest without human help. At least not initially. The Wentals Took a Level in Badass in the last book.
The Empire: The Hansa (malevolent) and the Ildirans (more nuanced).
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Sirix doesn't realize that DD actually likes the Colicoses, and is loyal to them for reasons other than programming.
Likewise, Basil Wencelas's enmity with Peter. His ego and paranoia regarding Peter's criticisms and reservations leave him unable to understand that Peter is not trying to spite him, but trying to help humanity win the Hydrogue War.
Evil Chancellor: Basil Wenceslas plays with this. Officially, he's just the Prime Minister and answers to the King, but in practice the King is supposed to be a puppet. He gets closer and closer to this as the King assumes more power.
Fantastic Slurs: Hansa people call Roamers "Roachers." The Roamers call the Hansa "The Big Goose" and "Eddies." None of these is a compliment.
Four-Star Badass: Despite sometimes being a General Ripper, when he goes into action, General Lanyan reminds us why he's the commander of the Earth Defense Force.
Adar Kori'nh is an old, obsolete soldier and he knows it knows it, but that doesn't stop him from doing everything in his power to whip the Solar Navy into shape.
Adar Zan'nh combines Kori'nh's tactical skills and willpower with a level of ingenuity and flexibility that even humans are impressed by.
Gambit Pileup: Each leader has their own idea of how best to save their people, however they define "their people." Mage-Imperator Jora'h takes note of this, because at least half of his plans are forced by someone else's dead hand.
Guile Hero: Udru'h almost single-handedly splattered Rusa'h's rebellion by taking advantage of his enemy's mental flaws.
Gunship Rescue: The Wetal-Strengthened/Chained Hydrogue Warglobes coming to the aid of the Confederation and Ildiran fleets above Golgen, in the second last battle against the Faeros. Also a callback/ironic echo to the very first major Hydrogue attack.
Also, during the battle for Earth the constant arrival of more and more factions.
Half-Human Hybrid: Nira's various children, the green priests, the various elemental incarnates, the various Verdani/Wental hybrids.
The Ildirans have a breeding camp set up to produce these with various castes, as human genetic material produces Ildirans better at their inborn tasks. Nira's children were an attempt to strengthen the thism with her Green Priest telink ability.
Hive Mind: The thism is an incomplete example. Ildirans can act independently, but they're all connected together, instinctively know their place and obey the Mage-Imperator unless circumstances interfere. Rusa'h's thism is a straighter example.
Idiot Plot: In-universe, Jorah considers his father and grandfather's plan to breed a communicator between them and the hydrogues to be this. Hundreds of years and untold suffering on a gamble when they could have used that time make better weapons to fight their enemy instead!
Never My Fault: Basil Wencelas increasingly becomes this as the series progreses. It gets bad enough that former Hansa Chairman Maureen 'Battleaxe' Fitzpatrick accuses him of being pathologically incapable of admitting any wrongdoing.
No Blood for Phlebotinum: Ekti, a form of hydrogen most often found in gas giants, is vital for stardrive fuel, and much of the conflict between the Hansa, Roamers and hydrogues is fought over the ekti supply.
Ramming Always Works: Ramming is the only thing that works, initially. The hydrogue warglobes could not be damaged by anything other then a ship being used as a giant missile.
Recycled INSPACE: the Roamers are basically frontiersmen/gypsies IN SPACE, not to mention the use of a traditional fantasy-style Elemental battles plot.
Revenge Before Reason: By the time of the fifth book Eldred Cain believes Chairman Wencelas has fallen victim to this when he attempts to abort Estarra's baby and force her to commit suicide. He flat-out tells his boss that he believes the Chairman has allowed the existing enmity between himself and King Peter to escalate into a personal vendetta.