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Literature / Revenger

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Revenger series is a series of novels set in the Solar System tens of millions of years in the future. The planets have long been scrapped for use in construction, and people live on Baby Planets (with black holes in their centers) or huge space stations. Interplanetary voyages are conducted with Space Sailing ships called sunjammers that must weather solar storms and attacks by Space Pirates.

Human civilization has expanded and collapsed several times. Each such expansion is called an Occupation, and at the time of the setting, the thirteenth is in full swing, although just coming out of a recession. It spans approximately 20,000 inhabited worlds called the Congregation.

One risky but lucrative line of work for a sunjammer crew is to find artifacts of previous Occupations, which usually fetch high prices on the market (or might provide utility right off the bat). Such items can be found in caches around the system, typically full of dangers and deathtraps.


The story starts off when two sisters, Adrana and Arafura Ness, become part of the crew of the Monetta's Mourn to explore the stars and earn money to offset their family's financial woes. They are recruited for their ability to "read bones", essentially allowing to patch into the Subspace Ansible network around the system to listen to information from other crews to find artifacts that could earn the crew a big payday. But trouble comes when their ship is attacked by Space Pirates led by the infamous Bosa Sennen ...

The series currently has three novels, Revenger, Shadow Captain and Bone Silence.


The series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Tackle knives. Also, the Ghosties weapons.
  • Action Girl: Both of the Ness sisters. Also, Illyria in her role as Bosa Sennen.
  • And I Must Scream: A literal example, when a lot of quoins are brought to close proximity with each other.. The crew moves to stop the screaming as fast as they can once it starts.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Arafura gets her lower left forearm amputated to remove the tracking device on her wrist. She gets a mechanical replacement, though it takes some time for her to get the 'feel' of it.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Thoroughly averted. All encountered A.I.s are downright helpful, Paladin being one such example. The only problems are in cases caused by conflicting orders if the AI considers several people to be the master.
  • Ax-Crazy: Bosa Sennen
  • Baby Planet: Several. The Ness sisters are from Mazarile.
  • The Bait: Arafura and Prozor decide to lure Bosa to a trap using one. The Queen Crimson is the bait, without the crew knowing it.
  • Boarding Party: Monetta's Mourn gets boarded by one. Later on, Arafura makes her own and boards Bosa's ship.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Rackamore's daughter, Illyria Rackamore. Also attempted on Adrana, but Arafura manages to interrupt the process in time. See Legacy Immortality, below.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: Literal armory. A cache of equipment from the Ghosties era is mentioned early on, as My Greatest Failure of Captain Rackamore. One guess on where the crew gets the gear they need for taking on Bosa Sennen and the crew of the Nightjammer.
  • Cool Ship: The various sunjammers that sail the Empty on solar sails and ion drives, but the Dame Scarlett or Nightjammer (renamed Revenger after Arafura, Prozor and the surviving crew of the Queen Crimson capture it by the end of the first novel) takes the cake.
  • Driven to Suicide: Captain Rackamore does this once he realizes the current Bosa Sennen is his own daughter Illyria.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Arafura, after coming out of the hideout after the pirate attack on Monetta's Mourn. Subverted, as one of the crew has only been Faking the Dead.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Arafura and Prozor. Also, later, the crew of Queen Crimson.
  • Heroic Sacrifice
    • Captain Trusco uses a Ghostie gun to blow a hole in the hull of the Queen Crimson in a bid to kill Bosa Sennen. It did not kill her as she was blown back to the Nightjammer but she ended up impaled on the bow of her own ship instead.
    • Garval does this, sacrificing herself to save Arafura from Bosa Sennen by pretending to be the other Bone Reader Rackamore recruited. She winds up dead near the end of the first novel and became Nightjammer's figurehead after extended torture by Bosa Sennen.
  • Invisibility Cloak: More or less Invisibility Powered Armor. Long-lost Ghosties technology.
  • Mercy Kill: Begged for by the AI maintaining security systems of the cache at the end of Shadow Captain.
  • Legacy Immortality: Bosa Sennen. Most captains think that anyone claiming to be Bosa Sennen is just using The Dreaded status associated with the name as the original must have died a long time ago. They are only partially right, as each new Bosa has the same motivations and goals as the original. So far, there were at least twenty-three Bosa Sennens' before Illyria was turned into the current Bosa Sennen, and Adrana almost joins the list.
  • Reactionless Drive: Ion drives, used when it is not possible to use sails.
  • Starship Luxurious: The passenger liner that Arafura and Quindar travel on after the latter captures the former to return her to Mazarile.
  • Space Sailing: Standard propulsion in the setting. The orbital mechanics and operations of sailing are highly detailed. For example, you cannot use tacking since there is nothing to tack against. Instead, getting to inner orbits requires slowing down the ship and adjusting the reflecting surfaces correctly.
  • Solar Flare Disaster: Zigzagged. In Shadow Captain, the solar flare causes lots of false alarms in the ship's systems. This allows pursuers to do a radar scan undetected - it's thought to be part of the storm
  • Solar Sail: On every ship, given the setting. Ion drives act as backups and are used near ports.
  • Space Pirates: As stated by Word of God, Reynolds wanted to make Wooden Ships and Iron Men but in SPACE!. With appropriate levels of Sci-Fi hardness, of course.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Both of the Ness sisters over the course of the two first novels. Also, the crew of the Queen Crimson.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Bosa Sennen turns out to be this, after explaining the motivations to the Ness sisters. The currency everyone is using, quoins, is apparently sentient - remains of a long-lost alien race that used Brain Uploading to save their souls from an enemy alien race but is now traded by humanity to the various alien races who sell it to said enemy who apparently intends to finish the job.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The Ness sisters. After their father dies of a heart attack during Arafura's escape from home, there is really nothing left on Mazarile for either of them to return to.

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