Behind The Throne (The Indranan War book 1).
K. B. Wagers.
4 stars out of 5.
Quick, sarcastic, and lethal, Hailimi Bristol doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She has made a name for herself in the galaxy for everything except what she was born to do: rule the Indranan Empire. That is, until two Trackers drag her back to her home planet to take her rightful place as the only remaining heir.
But trading her ship for a palace has more dangers than Hail could have anticipated. Caught in a web of plots and assassination attempts, Hail can’t do the one thing she did twenty years ago: run away. She’ll have to figure out who murdered her sisters if she wants to survive.
A gun smuggler inherits the throne in this Star Wars-style science fiction adventure from debut author K. B. Wagers. Full of action-packed space opera exploits and courtly conspiracy – not to mention an all-out galactic war – Behind the Throne will please fans of James S. A Corey, Becky Chambers and Lois McMaster Bujold, or anyone who wonders what would happen if a rogue like Han Solo were handed the keys to an empire . . .
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Well, I think I did, the book just arrived in the post, I hadn’t requested it, didn’t know I was on the publishers mailing list and I don’t remember entering any competitions to win it either! So, let’s call it a surprise book…….and what a great surprise it turned out to be!
Behind the Throne is the first book in debut author K.B Wagers The Indranan War series and willbe followed in December 2016 with book 2: After the Crown. And, I can’t wait!
In short, Behind the Throne tells the story of Hail/Hailimi Mercedes Jaya Bristol who twenty years previously had left home searching for her father’s killer, becoming one of the most renowned Gunrunners in the process, staying away from Indrana even after she had lost the killers trail. Only to be found at the start of the book by Indranan trackers and after being reluctantly persuaded by them returns to Indrana to take up her place and role as the only remaining heir to the Indranan Empire.
The world building is of a high standard, both the history and culture of Indrana is explained in decent detail really drawing you in to the created setting. In a lot of books, women are oftentimes objectified as being less than men, second class citizens so to speak with lesser roles and voices to the far more standard male dominated society. Behind the Throne turns that on its head with females dominating the Indranan society from the Empress, to the Matriarch council to the high ranking roles throughout the society. An example wouldbe that Hail is given a male Ekam (primary bodyguard) and this is seen as a slur as men aren’t equal to women. Now, as a male myself, did this bother me? And the answer is, No, it did not. I will admit it wasn’t what I was expecting but then again the book in general wasn’t what I was expecting either and turned into something far more enjoyable. I felt having a female dominated society made for a refreshing change. Now, men do still play key roles in the book, not every character is female and some of the best moments come from the social awkwardness between Hail and her male bodyguards as she tries to get them to stop following procedure and treat her as a person instead of just a title.
And, for me, apart from Hail the two best characters in the book were male, Emmory Tresk and Starzin Hafin. Emmory is Hail’s Ekam, her main bodyguard and protector and is at the start a very stoic and serious character. Alongside his tracker partner Zin, they both really make the story shine as the gradual thawing of their stoicism, seriousness and professionalism with Hail leads to some of the best camaraderie and interplay in the book often times making you smile at Hail’s insistence on informality, sarcasm and attempts at banter with Emmory and Zin’s very formal and respectful ways. They are opposites and play of each other really well developing a strong bond throughout the book that goes far deeper than simply bodyguards and their charge at the end progressing to mutual respect and I would say friendship.
Hailimi Mercedes Jaya Bristol, yes, that name sure is a mouthful, but luckily it gets abbreviated to Hail for the most part is a great choice for the main character and story to be built and focused around. As the reader, Wagers really makes you understand her motivation for both leaving and staying away along with her reluctance to return to Indrana and reticence to go back to the life she left behind. As the story progresses, you get to know Hail and she turns into a character who’s fate you really grow to care about.
On the back cover, it describes the book as ‘begins an action-packed new series…….’. And, I went in with the idea that I’d be reading an action centric story full of guns and space battles. But, what I got was something far more involving than just a ‘action’ book. The action scenes are all well written but while there is plenty of action, it isn’t the core of the story, you also get betrayal, family, politics, plots, assassination attempts, conspiracy, intrigue and suspense all added and thrown into the mix. Behind the Throne is to me, a very character driven book, focusing on Hail and her journey from the Gunrunner she is to the only remaining and rightful heir of the Indranan Empire. Giving you a well written, fast paced and captivating page turner of a book featuring an engaging main character.
Behind the Throne is more space opera than hard sci-fi and is an accessible read for all. There is both a lot to take away from and like in the book for both sci-fi fans and readers like myself who don’t generally frequent the genre. It’s a book that I thoroughly enjoyed, finding it to be a read that is full of suspense, humour and action with some great characters and exceptional storytelling.
While deftly concluding and finishing of the part of the story that is Behind the Throne, Wagers only scratched the surface with some aspects of the characters, their motivations, the world and its goings on. And, of course there’ll be the fall-out and repercussions from the events that took place in the books conclusion.
I’m now a fan of the series and as such I’m eagerly awaiting the continuation of Hail’s journey to find out what adventures await her, Emmory, Zin and the rest of their cohorts in After the Crown book 2 of The Indranan War!
In her debut Wagers has created a great start to a new sci-fi series that I hope does well, as it fully deserves to be a hit.
On a side note, I’d really like to read about some of Hail’s previous exploits as a Gunrunner and feel that there’s a lot of entertaining material there if the author ever decides to go in that direction and write some prequel novellas.
Follow me on: