RogerBW's Blog

After the Crown, K. B. Wagers 01 March 2024

2016 SF, second of its trilogy. Hailimi has survived one plot to depose her, but there are more waiting their turn…

There are several ways this could have gone. The one I wanted to read was along the lines of Hail using her hard-won interpersonal skills to win over potential allies and make foes betray themselves; it's not Wagers' fault that that mostly isn't this book.

Rather, she reaches out to try to establish an understanding with the neighbouring polity (that's been saying "no, no, those aren't our shock troops invading your planet"), goes to a meeting on a planet known for its neutrality… and the latest conspiracy, again a combination of internal and external players, stages an attack, makes it look as though she's dead, and takes over at home. And the rest of the book is dealing with that, using her old gunrunner contacts to call in seed resources and use them as leverage to set herself up as a credible empress again even if she isn't holding the capital.

(My own feeling, given opposition broadcasts saying "the Empress is dead and that's why we're seizing power", is that she should immediately broadcast "oh no I'm not", even if she needs to stay in hiding for the moment—so that she presents potential loyalists not with a choice between a possible usurper and confused anarchy, but rather between an actual usurper and the rightful ruler. But hey.)

This isn't the sort of SF that explores ideas which don't fit in the real world—it wouldn't be impossible to play this out in a lower-tech setting—but it's also not the pseudo-setting that one tends to meet in romantic SF, there only to provide a background for All the Feels. Good stuff.

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Previous in series: Behind the Throne | Series: Indranan War | Next in series: Beyond the Empire

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