Beyond The Empire (The Indranan War book 3) by K.B Wagers (book review).

Being brought up to speed in little less that a paragraph in the opening chapter and just a little more on the back cover, I really wish publishers insisted more authors provide a proper series synopsis for us poor devils who read several dozen books a year.

While off-planet, Empress Hail Bristol finds herself cut-off while a military take-over of her throne planet and many of her relatives killed. Now she is now gathering her forces, looking for traitors in her own ranks and generally getting ready to fight back.

K.B. Wagers does all of this first person through Hail herself. Unfortunately, at this time, it does rely on the reader getting a lot of conversations and most of the action is off-stage so you only get second-hand reports about the space battles.

Meanwhile, Hail, after working out who Wilson is and why he took her throne, succeeds in getting a small team on her home planet and then finds out this was what was intended. Wilson doesn’t just want to kill her but make her suffer by killing her personal first. From here, there is too much that becomes spoiler.

In many respects, these books are entertaining page-turners and moving along too swiftly for you to think too deeply about. Saying that, as a reviewer, that is part of my job. Wagers does make the common mistake of thinking past human history which on Earth is several centuries ago would still be remembered in as much detail. When you consider we have people today that can barely remember the 19th century, I can’t see it working quite the same way in the far future. Yes, as a device to help the reader make a comparison but, otherwise, it makes less sense when they would surely use something more current to their time and still draw some comparison to the reader.

Although there is little that can be done against fatal injuries, a sub-set of humans who can psionically repair people is all well and good but it does remove some elements of peril knowing that certain people are almost certainly going to survive some injuries, It is only hinted that there are some people who can precog the future but the exploitation of this is not explored. It might have ended the story quicker but factoring it in or even showing why it couldn’t might have raised the story’s SF element more.

Wagners certainly has a talent for writing and from the extras is going to examine this reality further but she does need to develop her tropes more or at least show why they aren’t.

GF Willmetts

November 2017

(pub: Orbit/LittleBrown. 388 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-356-50804-7)

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


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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