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Literature / The Secret King

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Rule or die.

Kendro, King of the Aonise, can do nothing to prevent their sun from collapsing, consuming their home planet Letháo in a single fiery blast. Running out of time and options, he evacuates the entire population, setting off into the unknown galaxy in four crowded ships. Under constant danger from their ancient enemy, the Zefron, treasonous dissent seeps into his inner circle. Threatened inside and out, Kendro struggles with whom to trust, until a mysterious vision finally brings hope to the distraught King. A new home awaits the Aonise, if Kendro can only unite them long enough to survive the journey.

The Secret King is a Space Opera series by Dawn Chapman with two volumes presently released in The Secret King: Lethao and The Secret King: First Contact. It also has a pair of audiobook-only novellas released in The Truth Hurts and Brie's Results. The series was originally written as a pitch for a 13-episode television series but was later adapted to a novel.


  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Zefron appear to be this as we get no information on them other than they want to annihilate the refugee fleet of the Aonise.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Played with as everyone outside of the Royal Family seems to be scum of one kind or another.
  • Armored Closet Gay: Octav conceals his homosexuality not only from his wife and king but himself. Ultimately, his love of Chace shakes it out of him but not without significant social consequences.
  • Badass Gay: Both Chace and Octav qualify as this.
  • Big Bad: Dalamarr is set up to be this for the series as a whole being a corrupted king of the Aonise from long ago.
  • Big Good: Kendro serves as this for his people, wanting to resettle them on a new home planet and also progress their society to be more equitable while still ruling as an absolute hereditary monarch.
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  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Potentially with humans and Aonise as Croex energy burns the former during sexual encounters. We've yet to see if this is a problem with Heiako or if humans can have it applied to them.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The Aonise ruling houses are constantly fighting for control of the planet despite the fact their monarch literally rules them with supernatural powers that bind them on a mental level. It's so bad that good guy advisor Wez argues they should let the other houses be destroyed.
    • It's to the point that Kendro must hide his heir's existence or he will be assassinated.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Aonise are a society which worships their king as close to a god, have a caste system which treats a large portion of the population as untouchable, and also are homophobic. It's notable that Kendro is actually more progressive than the vast majority of his people.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Aonise home planet is going to explode when its sun detonates, much like Krypton. Thankfully, they have a leader who is prepared for this eventually and evacuates as much of the populace on four ships as possible.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The Houses rule over the working classes of the Aonise with the Heiako people considered vermin. They're still evacuated with the rest of society, though.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Heiako people have no caste or position in proper Aonise society. Survival needs results in them being recruited to work on the ships, though.
    • A Downplayed Trope example occurs between humans and Aonise when they arrive on Earth. Humans are wary of the Aonise but mostly fascinated with them rather than hostile due to the potential technological boons they may bring. Aonise, by contrast, tend to view humans as chaotic and undisciplined with a little shame due to them not possessing croex energy.
  • Happily Married: Kendro and his queen Mika are this. Most marriages among the Aonise are this due to their bonding ceremonies. Subverted by Octav and his wife since he's Armored Closet Gay.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sheve and Brie's baby is doomed to die even if she's carried to term but can have its croex energy sacrificed to save the heir to the Aoniise. Sheve is less than pleased by this choice but, reluctantly, accepts the logic. This results in her elevation to the Royal House.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: A Downplayed Trope example but gay rights is not an issue for the Aonise until one of their royals is revealed to be one.
  • Hospital Hottie: Doctor Katya Brie is very attractive.
  • Human Aliens: The Aonise and the race Kendro is descended from are identical in appearance to humans except for their croex energy.
  • The McCoy: Doctor Katya Brie who serves as Kendro's Morality Pet and conscience for much of the series.
  • Human Popsicle: Lady Katesh has been frozen in her sarcophagus in space for millennium. Would be a Time Abyss except for the fact Aonise society has changed very little.
  • Lady Macbeth: Lady Katesh has all the markings of this as well as Ms. Fanservice. She's Ambiguously Evil, though.
  • The Messiah: A role which Kendro is taking among his people but is actually meant to be fulfilled by his son.
    • Adoni appears to be this for the Heiako as he is a member of their caste who can bond others. He builds his own Army of Thieves and Whores without anyone noticing.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Dalamarr in the first book as well as Lady Katesh. Both villains decide not to disrupt Kendro's current plans as they don't want to get the race they want to rule exterminated. Doubles as Pragmatic Villainy.
  • Psychic Powers: The croex energy which all Aonise share in is the center of their society and something which binds them all. It's also, coincidentally, what allows Kendro to rule over his people absolutely.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Prime Minister Walker who is willing to deal fairly with the Aonise while simultaneously wanting to promote his own nation's (The U.K's) interests.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Kendro and his son double as both this and The Messiah.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Kendro performs a polyamorous marriage ceremony between Octav and Chace be performed despite the fact Aonise society is a hetero-normative monogamous one.
  • Social Climber: Frie's marriage to Octav is viewed by many as this on her part given she was also The Beard for much of their relationship. The fact she doesn't seem too upset for her husband to have a lover and reveal he has no attraction to her plays into it. Others believe she may be a Love Martyr.
  • Wham Line: "Citizens of the last surviving Aonise vessel, we have reached the planet Earth."
  • Your Cheating Heart: It turns out Octav isn't actually all that faithful of a spouse in general as within weeks of marrying his true love Chace, he finds himself having a sexual relationship with a human male. The relatively freer nature of homosexuality and sex in the U.K. being a major difference from Aonise society.