Behind The Throne (The Indranan War book 1) by K.B. Wagers (book review).

August 19, 2016 | By | Reply More

I suspect like me you’d think the first person character of K.B. Wagers’ novel ‘Behind The Throne’ was a male from reading the first twenty or so pages, not to mention why ‘Hail’ was being used as a noun. It isn’t until a few pages in that things started to become more apparent and that criminal gunrunner Cressen Stone conceals the identity of Princess Hailimi Mercedes Jaya Bristol. Leaving her throne-world of Indria to look for her father’s murderer and doing gunrunning as a sideline, she is literally dragged home by Trackers following the deaths of her sisters and her mother boarder-line dementia kicking in to take over the royal throne. The Indranan Empire is a matriarchy ruling over various alien species and planets in some 45 planets spread over 28 star systems and a little fighting for territory with the Saxon Empire. I should point out from the interview Wagers gives in the ‘Extras’ that she admits to inventing as she writes and its probably only luck that there haven’t been too many contradictions.


Getting home, Hailimi is subject of several assassination attempts but because its one-sided first person, you only see things from her perspective. Thinking about it, there are only a limited number of choices as to who wants her dead but we don’t really get enough of their motivations to think whether it’s a good idea or not. If anything, the characters are either good or bad, there’s no middle ground in motivation. Saying too much about the plot from here would be regarded as spoilers territory. I would comment that considering that Hailimi is the only person apparently to have green hair on the planet, you would have thought a sniper’s bullet would have got her as an easy target and yet never employed.

There are the usual flaws. Considering how hard it is for our younger generations to remember even recent history, how can it be any different in the future? Although the Earth date isn’t given but there’s a human empire at some distance from our planet, how would they remember the source of their dolphins? Their technology to manipulate DNA would surely have been a relatively easy task to rectify Hailimi’s medical problem. Granted she had a fix put in her techplant to prevent appearance changes, this shouldn’t have affected any physiological repairs.

Which brings up an odd point about this reality. Other than Hailimi being brought back to Indran, there is little seen of their empire. On some levels, I’m surprised this matriarchy or any other type of ruling system could have worked considering so much is going on their homeworld. You would have thought there might have been some contenders from the other planets wanting to take over but nary a peep from them or even representation at the meetings or ceremonies. Granted we only see only aspect of the reality for the opening book and one can hope that this will widen in more books in the series.

Much of the technology you would have thought would have been associated with this reality would have been on display or used but other than genetic manipulation and some people with a preposition as healers, there is little on show and one could easily see this type of story in a fantasy setting with very little changes.

This doesn’t mean that this book isn’t readable but I do think Wagers will need to work a little harder to bring some proper Science Fiction credentials in the following novels.

GF Willmetts

August 2016

(pub: Orbit. 406 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-356-50801-6)

check out websites: http://www.orbitbooks.net/ and www.kbwagers.com


Category: Books, Scifi

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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