Follow TV Tropes


Literature / The Spiral Wars

Go To
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)
  • Drysine Legacy (2015)
  • Kantovan Vault (2016)
  • Defiance (2017)
  • Croma Venture (2018)
  • Rando Splicer (2019)
  • Qalea Drop (2020)
  • Ceephay Queen (2022)

The series is projected to run for a total of 11-12 books.


  • 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.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Genetic treatments exist, both of the "cure diseases and enhance longevity" varieties, and the "increase intelligence" variety.
  • The Cutie: Lisbeth Debogande, as the sole civilian non-combatant on the ship, is this in spades.
  • Cyborg: Most humans, and especially members of the military, have cybernetic augmentations, usually to either enhance strength and speed or to resist the heavy G-forces that occur in space combat. A common one also allows very slow telepathic radio communication, used mostly to communicate when overwhelmed by G-forces.
  • 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.
  • Frog Men: The Tavalai have a frog-like appearance.
  • Funetik Aksent: The named Kuhsi characters understand English just fine, but have some difficulty pronouncing it.
  • Gender Is No Object: For human spacers and marines, anyway. Mainstream Kuhsi society doesn't seem to agree. Oddly, it sounds uncomfortably close to Japanese Ranguage at times.
  • Humans Are White: Notably averted. With the near-destruction of the human race, there are relatively few Caucasians, especially among the named characters.
  • Inertial Dampening: Averted, G-forces are a huge threat to spacers, with specially designed "slings" invented to keep people from hitting anything during maneuvers.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The sard have a spider-like appearance and hive-like behavior.
  • In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race: Flip-Flopped, while the lore says that this is the case, most characters are more clearly part of a race, with Captain Debogande being unambiguously African, and Trace Thakur not only being South Asian, but specifically Nepali, that ethnicity somehow undiluted after 1,000 years in space.
  • 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).
  • Non-Uniform Uniform Marines customize their Power Armor with a wide variety of art/drawings, which serve the dual purpose of being expressive and allowing soldiers to easily recognize each other and officers without having to wear a badge of rank that might draw sniper fire.
  • Posthumous Character: Captain Pantillo, for the most part.
  • Power Armor: The standard attire for most Space Marines.
  • 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.
  • Space Marines: They feature heavily in the series, especially deuteragonist Major Trace Thakur. Notable, not all soldiers are space marines, with a regular army existing for holding ground on planets.
  • 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." Oddly, this is in defiance of the first time they use Autistic to refer to a machine, which meant that it payed more attention to received data than its own sensors, which would be the opposite of being airgapped.
  • 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.