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Literature / The Indranan War

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Once a gunrunner, now heir to an empire...

The Indranan War is a Space Opera novel trilogy by K. B. Wagers.

Years ago, Princess Hailimi Bristol of the Indranan Empire went into exile, seeking the man who murdered her father. Taking the name Cressen Stone, she became part of the galaxy's criminal underworld as a gunrunner, but was unsuccessful in her mission. Then her ship was attacked, her crew killed, and she got dragged off by elite Indranan soldiers with devastating news - Hail's sisters and niece had been killed, her mother the Empress is dying, and now she is left as the sole heir to one of the galaxy's major powers, whose enemies are waiting to pounce at any sign of weakness. Now Hail must return home, assume her throne, and protect her people, against all odds, whether it involves dealing with treacherous cousins, rival powers, and increasing unrest at home. And, worst of all, Hail's father's killer is still at large - and he's not done with the Empire yet...


  1. Behind the Throne
  2. After the Crown
  3. Beyond the Empire

This series contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Absent Aliens: Downplayed. All the major factions in the series are human-controlled. At least one nonhuman sapient species, the Farians, exist, and apparently there are others out there that just haven't made contact with humanity yet.
  • Action Girl: Hail herself, most obviously; you don't make a career in the galactic underworld unless you can hold your own. For that matter, most of the top brass of the Indranan military are women, though most of the grunts are men.
  • Affably Evil:
    • King Trace of the Saxon Alliance is a charming, cultured man who banters in a friendly way with Hail even when he's trying to kill her. She's less than amused. Gets deconstructed in Beyond the Empire; Trace's almost manic cheerfulness even in the face of danger is a sign of the drug addiction Wilson uses to control him.
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    • Hail's cousin Ganda is, by Hail's admission, the sort to smiled broadly before stabbing you in the back. And sure enough, she's in on the coup attempt in the hope of becoming Empress.
  • Authority in Name Only: The Prime Minister of Indrana is the Empire's highest elected official, but in practice he or she has about as much authority as the Empress is willing to allow them, and no more. Which is probably why Phanin was bitter enough to plan and stage his coup.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: After her mother's death, Hail has one at the end of the first book.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Hail's bodyguards, most obviously Emmory and Zin, are in this position.
  • Big Bad: "Wilson", the man behind Hail's father's assassination, is the major antagonist of the series being behind the war with the Saxons and Phanin's coup as well as aforementioned murder. He's ultimately revealed to have been a former friend of Hail's father and suitor to her mother, who turned against Indrana because he felt he was more deserving of the royal consort position and was passed over for it.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Farians have a very arcane code governing how they can and can't use their healing abilities, which typically makes very little sense to humans who work with them. This becomes a plot point in the second book.
  • The Chessmaster: Whatever Wilson's ultimate goals are, it's obvious the man has a plan and he's been setting it up for a long time.
  • Decadent Court: Indrana has one; Saxony is implied to be much the same.
  • The Don: Po-Sin, the leader of the syndicate Hail used to work for. He's not that bad a sort, as far as examples of this trope go, but you certainly want to stay on his good side.
  • The Empire: Indrana. Subverted in that it's a pretty decent place, though not without flaws. The Saxon Alliance might be a better example, or it might just be their hawkish leadership - at this point, it's hard to tell.
  • Evil Chancellor: Prime Minister Phanin ultimately turns out to be this, arranging a coup while Hail is away in the second book and starting his own breakaway faction of the Indranan Empire.
  • Evil Is Petty: Wilson declared a one-man war on all of Indrana because the Empress picked his best friend instead of him as her consort decades ago. Hail is quick to lampshade just how petty it all is when she finds out.
  • The Evil Prince: Hail's nephew Laabh and cousin Ganda both count, taking part in the conspiracy against the throne to advance their own personal (and mutually exclusive) ambitions.
  • Feudal Future: The Indranan Empire and the Saxon Alliance are both monarchies, with all that implies. The Solarian League, however, is the third big power and is a democracy.
  • Genius Bonus: Indranan culture, religion, and naming conventions are littered with references to Hindu Mythology for the discerning reader; appropriate, considering that the Indranans are descended from a primarily-Indian colony ship.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Hail's mother wasn't like this in her prime, but by the time the first book opens she's in the early stages of dementia and has become prone to wild mood-swings and erratic decisions. She was actually being poisoned specifically to induce these symptoms to discredit her.
  • Heir Club for Men: Gender-flipped. Having a daughter to inherit one's family and titles is considered an important duty for an aristocratic Indranan woman; unfortunately for Hail, she's sterile as a result of an injury sustained during her gunrunner days.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Subverted with Emmory and Zin since they're married, but Trackers in general operate in pairs like this.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Even after two books Hail has no real idea what "Wilson" is after. About all he'll give away during their brief conversation is that he despises the Bristol dynasty for unspecified reasons, but how that hatred ties into whatever he's actually trying to accomplish isn't clear.
  • Humans Are White: Defied. Hail is Ambiguously Brown, as are a majority of Indranans, though a minority are white. The Saxons are mostly white, but they're antagonists.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Saxon names seem to work like this, as King Trace Gerison is the son of King Geri.
  • La Résistance: The Upjas are an organization who seek reform in the Indranan Empire, by violent force if necessary. The leaders of the movement are willing to work with the royal family if the royals will work with them and are on speaking terms with Hail, but other factions are less patient.
  • Matriarchy: Indrana; due to women being less susceptible to Space Madness, the early Indranan noble families defaulted to female leadership and the trend stuck. Women hold most of the top military and government positions in the empire (the throne and the Council of Matriarchs being explicitly female-only), and women are generally favored in society at large.
  • Modest Royalty: Hail doesn't have a lot of patience for the fripperies of her position, even after she actually takes the throne. She'll wear the dresses and jewelry for state occasions, but generally seems more comfortable in a plain shirt and pants with a gun in her hand.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The assassin who was behind Hail's father's death is code-named "Wilson". It's not his real name, but he's never called anything else because nobody knows his real name. He himself admits during his conversation with Hail at the end of the second book that it's as good as any.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The Saxons are patriarchal, and even the usually-affable King Trace makes moderately disparaging comments about Hail's gender when he's trying to kill her. Of course, considering Hail's from a matriarchy, the taunts don't sting as much as they might and she largely blows them off.
  • Posthumous Character: Hail's father and sisters are all dead before the first book starts, but their presence still looms large over the plot.
  • Rags to Royalty: Or rather, royalty to rags and back to royalty. Hail became a gunrunner to find her father's killer, and got pulled kicking and screaming back to her royal position.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Hail takes a direct hand in events whether as gunrunner, princess, or Empress; her opponent King Trace is also a hands-on leader and accomplished military commander.
  • Space Elves: The Farians are ethereal, pointy-eared, intensely spiritual humanoids with quasi-mystical powers.
  • Space Opera: A sweeping epic of galactic war and regicide, with one woman's struggle to find herself, hold her throne and protect her people at the heart of it.
  • Space Pirates: Hail was effectively one during her time away from Indrana. Her enemies rarely lose an opportunity to rub her "criminal background" in her face.
  • Space Romans: The Indranans are Space Indians, the Saxons are Space English, the Solarians are Space Americans, and the Cheng are Space Chinese. Justified as all are implied or outright stated to be descended from the appropriate Earth nations.
  • Spare to the Throne: Hail considered herself this, especially compared to her regal, responsible older sister Cire - hence why she had no problem with running off to become a gunrunner, and her mother grudgingly permitted it. Unfortunately for her, she winds up the family's last option when her sisters are assassinated.
  • Young and in Charge: Downplayed in that Hail and Trace are both in prime adulthood at the time of the series, but are fairly young for their positions; Trace played this straight when he first came to the throne of Saxony as a teenager in his backstory.