Down Among the Dead
By K. B. Wagers
The label space opera refers to the kind of story that characterizes what most people probably think of when they think of science fiction. Space opera is large-canvas, galaxy-hopping SF with lots of characters, space battles between different species, and complicated plots that often stretch out through whole series of novels. Think Game of Thrones in space and you have the general idea.
K. B. Wagers writes pure space opera, and does it well. Down Among the Dead is technically the second book in her Farian War trilogy, though since the Farian War novels are a direct continuation of the Indranan War trilogy you could think of it as the fifth book in an ongoing saga. You’ll want to have at least read the first Farian book because otherwise you’ll be lost.
The hero of all these books is the tough but empathetic Hail Bristol, a former gunrunner who has become empress of Indrana. In this series she finds herself caught between two warring sides, the Farians and the Shens. As with most middle books in a trilogy there’s a sense of marking time, but it moves along at a brisk pace, weaving a complex web of politics and mythology.