Be­hiND the throNe

Im­pe­rial in­trigue

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 406 pages | Pa­per­back/ebook

Au­thor KB Wa­gers Pub­lisher Or­bit

SF may be a genre of ideas, but it also isn’t afraid to throw those ideas aside in favour of pulp thrills some­times. The space opera sub­genre is prob­a­bly the best ex­am­ple of this, of­ten re­tool­ing mythic fan­tasy in an SF set­ting (hello there, Star Wars) – but some­times the process can go a lit­tle too far, as is the case in Be­hind The Throne.

The first in a tril­ogy, it’s the story of Hail Bris­tol, a self-re­liant gun­run­ner who’s also the run­away heir to the In­daran Em­pire. When Hail’s past catches up with her, she’s forced to re­turn to the Im­pe­rial Court, where her re­main­ing sib­lings have died in sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances and there’s a dark con­spir­acy afoot. It’s up to Hail to sur­vive long enough to claim the throne.

While de­but au­thor KB Wa­gers gets some mileage out of Hail’s strug­gles with her des­tiny, the world-build­ing is vague and mud­dled, while the em­pha­sis on courtly in­trigue leaves this read­ing more like a clichéd high fan­tasy. De­spite an in­ter­est­ing kick-ass hero­ine and a few strong ac­tion se­quences, Be­hind The Throne lacks the pulpy in­ven­tion that makes space opera truly shine. Saxon Bul­lock

As well as se­quels, Wa­gers is work­ing on a story that’s like “Hitch­hiker’s got into a fight with Bat­tlestar Galac­tica”.

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