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Literature / Fallen Empire

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Gather around lads and lasses and let me tell you a story about an Evil Empire toppled by a heroic Alliance, which goes on to establish a new egalitarian republic for all.

Well, this isn't that story. In Lindsay Buroker's Fallen Empire series (the first book is available on Amazon for free [1]), the Tribus Solis System is in a state of disarray. The Tri-Suns Alliance has toppled the centuries old Sarellian Empire, but lacks the resources to assume control of the whole system. The Alliance controls three planets, the Imperial remnant controls one, and the remainder—the majority of the system—has fallen into a state of anarchy. Into this mess comes former Alliance pilot Alisa Marchenko, who seeks to reunite with her daughter Jelena. There's one small complication—Alisa is stranded on a poor, distant world and Jelena lives on Perun, the old Imperial capital and the one place the old regime holds sway.

And it turns out there are larger, otherworldly forces at work, forces that have a surprising familial connection to Alisa and her daughter...

The primary series consists of eight novels available on, listed below:

  • Star Nomad
  • Honor's Flight
  • Starseers
  • Relic of Sorrows
  • Cleon Moon
  • Arkadian Skies
  • Perilous Hunt
  • End Game

A spinoff series following the next generation of characters, entitled A Sky Full of Stars, has three novels out so far

  • Rogue Prince
  • Angle of Truth
  • Stolen Legacy

There's also a stand-alone novel set two years before the main series called Fractured Stars.

The canonical series contains examples of:

  • But Not Too Evil: Although Alisa's long unknown father Stanislav is a chasadski—a member of a rogue Starseer sect still intent on taking control of the Tribus Solis System—he never really does anything bad.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The faith of the Suns Trinity, which in Angle of Truth is revealed to be a deliberate conglomeration of several Earth religions centered around the three suns of the Tribus Solis System. There are monks wearing robes, apparently ten commandments, etc.
  • Deflector Shields: Part of the series' technological package. Even civilian freighters have them.
  • Doomed by Canon: In "The Last Command," available to readers of Buroker's newsletter, we meet Emperor Markus. He doesn't survive.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Starseer homeworld of Kir suffered this at the climax of the Order Wars. According to some back-story devised by Buroker and one of the Kindle Worlds writers, this was a combination of nuclear and kinetic bombardment as well as a psychic duel involving at least one (and probably more) psychic super-weapons. The planet ended up reduced to an asteroid belt.
  • Easily Forgiven: Alisa plays both sides, commits acts that would technically be treason, etc. but is never arrested even when Alliance soldiers board her ship and capture a Starseer artifact she has been hiding from them. Also Lord Abelardus attempts to telepathically manipulate Alisa into sex and a relationship with him, something Alisa and Leonidas both view as Attempted Rape, but suffers little consequence for it
  • Elite Mooks: The Cyborg Corps.
  • Fantastic Drug: Rioters and other goodies Yumi sells
  • Fantastic Racism: Starseers against normal humans ("grubs"), chasadski against Starseers, regular humans against Starseers, regular humans against cyborgs ("mechs"), Starseers against cyborgs, and, in Star Nomad one renegade cyborg has master-race pretensions.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Of various "heroic space rebels topple evil empire" stories, including Star Wars. The Alliance (or at least more extreme factions of it) resort to dirty tactics, including suicide bombing because they can't match the Empire's raw power, and the rebels' triumph leads to the collapse of most of the system into anarchy. And there's the "casualties in the billions" along the way.
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: The Alliance vs. the Empire, although how evil the Empire really was is often debated.
  • Gray-and-Gray Morality: The Empire is an authoritarian state that shot protesters, mentally altered dissidents against their wills, and made people disappear, but provided order and security throughout the system. The Alliance began its war after an Imperial massacre of protesting students, but attacked civilian targets because they couldn't fight the empire's military head-on and couldn't control the system once they won.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The villain of Star Nomad is a former Imperial cyborg soldier turned warlord, but as the series progresses, the schemes of the rogue Starseer Tymoteusz become more and more apparent.
  • Great Offscreen War: In the distant past, the Order Wars, in which the Starseers of Kir attempted to conquer the Tribus Solis System and were defeated. More recently, the Great Rebellion that toppled the Sarellian Dynasty, although Buroker's story "Remnants" and some of the Kindle Worlds stories take place during that war.
  • Handsome Lech: The Starseer Lord Abelardus, or so he thinks.
  • Hive Queen: The renegade Starseer Tymoteusz, once he gets his hands on the lost Staff of Lore is able to use mind control on a massive scale, turning swarms of miners, weaker Starseers, and one point entire warships into his pawns.
  • Illegal Religion: It's revealed in Angle of Truth that the Empire required people to follow the religion of the Suns Trinity and practitioners of the old Earth religions ended up in a sort of reservation on an outlying world.
  • Last Stand: The battle aboard Emperor Markus's palace in orbit around Perun, during "The Last Command." This short story is available for readers of the newsletter.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Later in the series, Alisa learns that her father is the renegade Starseer Stanislav
  • Psychic Powers: The Starseers. It turns out Jelena and Prince Thorian have the abilities as well.
  • Really Gets Around: Commander Tomich, again.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Averted. The rogue Starseer Stanislav, Alisa's long-last father, survives the events of the series and becomes a tutor to her daughter Jelena and other young Starseers
  • Secret Police: Imperial Intelligence was known for making political dissidents disappear or forcibly tampering with their minds.
  • Sleeper Ship: How the colonists of the Tribus Solis System came from Earth. The ships were worn out when they got there and broken down for colonization, ensuring several centuries of isolation.
  • Space Western: The setting has a definite "Wild West" feel to it.
  • The Mafiya: Some of the crime families who have taken control of parts of the system after the Empire falls resemble the Russian mob.
  • The Order: The psychic Starseers and the chasadski renegades.
  • The Star Scream: According to the young Prince Thorian, Senator Borachenko betrayed his parents' hiding place to the Alliance, which proceeded to raid it
  • Vestigial Empire: Perun and Senator Borachenko
  • World of Snark: Anywhere Alisa is.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: How adaptable Alisa is when things go wrong.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Alisa searches for her daughter Jelena, narrowly missing her on multiple occasions, until the next to last book. And then they have to find the kidnapped Prince Thorian in the last one.

The works created by other writers as part of Amazon's Kindle Worlds program contain examples of:

  • The Battlestar: The Imperial battle-cruiser in "Discovery and Flight" carries fighters as well as an impressive amount of weaponry.
  • Big Bad: Rear Admiral Catalina Alvarez, commander of the Imperial battle-group dispatched to destroy the Alliance base in "Discovery and Flight."
  • Doomed by Canon: The Alliance asteroid base in "Discovery and Flight." Lindsay Buroker's short story "Remnants" takes place during its evacuation after the battle with the Imperials.
  • Drugs Are Bad: In "Ten Davids, Two Goliaths," Tamara Watson suffers the equivalent an acid flashback while piloting a fighter in battle and things get scary.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Geun Choi and Tamara Watson in "Ten Davids, Two Goliaths" are close, but there's nothing sexual about their relationship.
  • Fantastic Drug: Tamara Watson in "Ten Davids, Two Goliaths" uses hallucinogenic drugs for religious purposes
  • Hero Killer: The Imperial battle-group in "Discovery and Flight" kills several minor cast members from "Ten Davids, Two Goliaths," including the squadron commander.
  • Hope Spot: In "Discovery and Flight" the Alliance pilots defeat the Imperial fighters and the frigate skirmish line relatively easily. It doesn't last.
  • Hidden Depths: In "Discovery and Flight," the lecherous Captain Brad Tomich surprises Geun with his knowledge of Buddhism and meditation and saves the life of the Commander Air Group in the battle with the Imperial fleet and organizes the pilots to help the overworked deck crew deal with the devastated Alliance fighter squadrons.
  • Near-Villain Victory: In "Discovery and Flight," the Imperials could have continued attacking the Alliance defenses and devastated fighter squadrons and end up forcing the Alliance to evacuate its base.
  • Oh, Crap!: When the Imperial capital ships cluster and destroy the oncoming torpedoes with their point defenses, catching the remainder on their shields and suffering little damage, in "Discovery and Flight."
  • Point Defenseless: Played straight in "Ten Davids, Two Goliaths," two Imperial cruisers are destroyed by fighters with torpedoes. Averted in "Discovery and Flight." The Imperial capital ships cover each other, shooting down most of the Alliance torpedoes. Those that get through detonate on the Imperials' shields. Very little damage is done for the massive amount of Alliance ordinance expenditure.
  • The Political Officer: In "Discovery and Flight," Lt. Carver serves as one. Although his stated purpose is to maintain sailor morale and bring their concerns to his superiors, he's also tasked with rooting out disloyalty to the dynasty and his superiors think he's spying on them.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Alliance fighter group loses one-third of its planes and pilots as well as almost all of its torpedoes fighting off the Imperial battle-group and ends up having to evacuate the base anyway.
  • Saved by Canon: Alisa Marchenko and Bradford Tomich are at no risk of dying, owing to their appearances in the main series.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In "Rogue Derelict," The deranged centuries-old Starseer
  • Secret Police: The political officers in the Imperial Navy who also work for Imperial Intelligence.
  • The Emperor: Emperor Markus is referenced in "Discovery and Flight" as having given orders that no surrender be accepted and every "traitor" killed.
  • Thought Crime: The Imperial Navy employs political officers to discourage disloyalty to the Sarellian Dynasty among its crews.
  • You Are in Command Now: In "Discovery and Flight," Geun ends up in temporary command of his squadron after his commanding officer is killed. Tomich becomes the new commander of a squadron consisting of survivors from previous squadrons at the end.
  • You Have Failed Me: Averted in "Discovery and Flight." Alvarez is chewed out for not being able to rein in an overly-aggressive subordinate whose actions cost the Imperial fleet a cruiser, but is not only not killed, but keeps her command.