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Literature / The Spiral Wars

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A Military Science Fiction series by Joel Shepherd.

1,000 years after the Earth is destroyed in an unprovoked attack by an alien species, humanity has finally won a long and grueling war to carve its own place in the larger galaxy. However, in the middle of celebrations on the new Homeworld, renowned war hero Captain Marinol Pantillo of the flagship carrier Phoenix is abruptly arrested and killed, and his junior Lieutenant Commander Erik Debogande is framed for the murder. Rescued by Major Thakur of the Phoenix's Marine detachment, Erik must flee with his ship and crew from their former compatriots, as they uncover a conspiracy that led to their captain's murder. Eventually, they stumble onto an even bigger plot that not only threatens war but the end of everything they love.

The series thus far is comprised of the following novels:

  • Renegade (2015)
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  • Drysine Legacy (2015)
  • Kantovan Vault (2016)


  • Ace Pilot: The 'Phoenix', being a carrier with multiple shuttles, has several.
    • Erik Debogande pilots Phoenix itself and, sure enough, pulls of some crazy maneuvers.
    • Lieutenant Hauser, pilot of shuttle PH-1, is a classic "hotshot fighter pilot" type.
    • Tif ends up regularly piloting PH-4. Less showy than Hauser but extremely good at her job.
  • Action Girl: Major Trace Thakur is a standout example.
  • Badass Adorable: The Kuhsi come off as basically human-sized teddy bears: furred with large, floppy ears... and long, razor-sharp, retractable claws.
  • The Cutie: Lisbeth Debogande, as the sole civilian non-combatant on the ship, is this in spades.
  • Field Promotion: A major point of contention during Drysine Legacy - Trace insists that Erik should declare himself Captain already (and then resolve the logjam of underranked-for-their-actual-position Lieutenants under him), while Erik remains unwilling.
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  • Fish People: The Tavalai have a frog-like appearance.
  • Funetik Aksent: The named Kuhsi characters understand English just fine, but have some difficulty pronouncing it.
  • Humans Are White: Notably averted. With the near-destruction of the human race, there are relatively few Caucasians, especially among the named characters.
  • Gender Is No Object: For human spacers and marines, anyway. Mainstream Kuhsi society doesn't seem to agree.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The sard have a spider-like appearance and hive-like behavior.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: In the pre-history of the series, an alien species known as the Fathers created sentient AI lifeforms now called "hacksaws" by organic species (named for the deadly sharp appendages they use in melee combat).
  • Posthumous Character: Captain Pantillo, for the most part.
  • Robot War: A particularly bloody one was fought millennia in the past, before humanity joined the galactic community. Sapient AI is banned as a result, and even organic civilizations at war would call a truce to exterminate a surviving nest of Machines.
  • Tagalong Kid: Skah - I'm sorry, the Furball - definitely qualifies.
  • Team Mom: Trace Thakur for her Marines, although one who is actually younger than most of her "children".
  • The Caper: Kantovan Vault has, as its centerpiece, a robbery of the eponymous vault to retrieve a MacGuffin.
  • Unusual Dysphemism: The team refers to airgapped devices as "Autistic."
  • Walking Disaster Area: Where the Phoenix goes, explosions and massive property damage are almost sure to follow.
  • Warrior Monk: The Kulina have aspects of this.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Phoenix Marine Company is hyper-competent in combat, but quite bad at basic guard duty, which they (at least initially) consider beneath their dignity. This causes problems on a regular basis.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Colonel Khola is summarily dispatched (and put back in the med bay) by the end of Drysine Legacy, and hasn't been mentioned since.

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