Books

A Pale Light in the Black

The Expanse meets the Battle Room in Ender’s Game as K. B. Wagers brings us the rollicking first entry in a unique science fiction series that introduces the Near-Earth Orbital Guard—NeoG—a military force patrolling and protecting space inspired by the real-life mission of the U.S. Coast Guard.

For the past year, their close loss in the annual Boarding Games has haunted Interceptor Team: Zuma’s Ghost. With this year’s competition looming, they’re looking forward to some payback—until an unexpected personnel change leaves them reeling. Their best swordsman has been transferred, and a new lieutenant has been assigned in his place.

Maxine Carmichael is trying to carve a place in the world on her own—away from the pressure and influence of her powerful family. The last thing she wants is to cause trouble at her command on Jupiter Station. With her new team in turmoil, Max must overcome her self-doubt and win their trust if she’s going to succeed. Failing is not an option—and would only prove her parents right.

But Max and the team must learn to work together quickly. A routine mission to retrieve a missing ship has suddenly turned dangerous, and now their lives are on the line. Someone is targeting members of Zuma’s Ghost, a mysterious opponent willing to kill to safeguard a secret that could shake society to its core . . . a secret that could lead to their deaths and kill thousands more unless Max and her new team stop them.

Rescue those in danger, find the bad guys, win the Games. It’s all in a day’s work at the NeoG.


“Wagers kicks off the NeoG series with this fun, feel-good space opera. This effortlessly entertaining novel is sure to have readers coming back for the next installment.”―Publishers Weekly  See Review

“If Wagers didn’t serve, they certainly got the skinny from somebody who lived it and it shows. They spin a captivating sea-story in space. As an ex-Coast Guardsman, I appreciate that what the crew lacks in gear, they make up for in heart. Semper Paratus.”―Nathan Lowell, creator of the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper


 

Hold Fast Through The Fire

The Near-Earth Orbital Guard (Neo-G)—inspired by the real-life mission of the Coast Guard—patrols and protects the solar system. Now the crew of Zuma’s Ghost must contend with personnel changes and a powerful cabal hellbent on dominating the trade lanes in this fast-paced, action-packed follow-up to A Pale Light in the Black.

Zuma’s Ghost has won the Boarding Games for the second straight year. The crew—led by the unparalleled ability of Jenks in the cage, the brilliant pairing of Ma and Max in the pilot seats, the technical savvy of Sapphi, and the sword skills of Tamago and Rosa—has all come together to form an unstoppable team. Until it all comes apart.

Their commander and Master Chief are both retiring. Which means Jenks is getting promoted, a new commander is joining them, and a fresh-faced spacer is arriving to shake up their perfect dynamics. And while not being able to threepeat is on their minds, the more important thing is how they’re going to fulfill their mission in the black.

After a plea deal transforms a twenty-year ore-mining sentence into NeoG service, Spacer Chae Ho-ki earns a spot on the team. But there’s more to Chae that the crew doesn’t know, and they must hide a secret that could endanger everyone they love—as well as their new teammates—if it got out. At the same time, a seemingly untouchable coalition is attempting to take over trade with the Trappist colonies and start a war with the NeoG. When the crew of Zuma’s Ghost gets involved, they end up as targets of this ruthless enemy.

With new members aboard, will the team grow stronger this time around? Will they be able to win the games? And, more important, will they be able to surmount threats from both without and within?


“Wagers creates a cast of characters that are not only authentic, but endearingly flawed…Top-notch character-driven science fiction.”―Hold Fast Through the Fire, Kirkus Review (starred)  See Review

“Hold Fast Through the Fire is an ambitious, outstanding breath of fresh air in the military SF genre, and I would recommend it even to those who may not think of themselves as military SF fans.”―Chris Kluwe for Lightspeed Magazine  See Review


 

The Ghost of Trappist

Upcoming Book Release!


NeoG—the Near-Earth Orbital Guard, a diverse military force that patrols and protects the solar system, inspired by the real-life mission of the Coast Guard—and the crew of Zuma’s Ghost are under attack, and shocking truths are about to be exposed.

What the black takes should stay in the black.

Ensign Nell “Sapphi” Zika has been working hard to get past her trauma, but the unnerving pleas for help she’s hearing in the Verge and the song she can’t get out of her head are making that increasingly difficult. As Zuma’s Ghost gears up for a final run at the Boarding Games, their expert hacker is feeling anything but confident. Plus, her chief’s robot dog, Doge, is acting weird—a computer problem she can’t find an answer to—and the increasing number of missing freighters is putting everyone living on or stationed around Trappist on edge.

It doesn’t help the NeoG’s mission that Dread Treasure is sidelined from competing in the Boarding Games, and Commander D’Arcy Montaglione is stuck on the front lines of the mystery of the missing ships while also stuck in his own head. Never good at trusting people to begin with, he’s struggling to piece together his new crew in the aftermath of a great betrayal, knowing this may be his final chance at command. The last thing he wants to do is prove his enemies right and end up getting shoved behind a desk and forgotten. The easy answer to missing ships is pirates, but D’Arcy soon realizes the easiest answer is rarely the right one out in the vacuum of space. What’s worse is that the actual pirates are scared of something out beyond the asteroid belt. Something that’s been taking their ships too…

As the unknowns multiply and one of their mysterious enemies escalates by launching an attack on the NeoG itself, the Interceptor crews must brave both cyber and outer space to hunt down their foes, but no one is prepared for the truth that is revealed or the way it will shake the foundations of everything they believe about the universe.

 

Hardcover – June 27, 2023

 

Behind the Throne

Behind the Throne begins K. B. Wagers’s action-packed science fiction adventure, with a heroine as rebellious as Han Solo, as savvy as Leia, and as skilled as Rey.

Hail Bristol has made a name for herself as one of the most fearsome gunrunners in the galaxy. But she can’t escape her past forever: twenty years ago, she was a runaway princess of the Indranan Empire. Now, her mother’s people have finally come to bring her home.

But when Hail is dragged back to her Indrana to take her rightful place as the only remaining heir, she finds that trading her ship for a palace is her most dangerous move yet.

In a world where the only safe options are fight or flight, Hail must rule.


“Taut suspense, strong characterization, and dark, rapid-fire humor are the highlights of this excellent SF adventure debut.”―Publishers Weekly (starred review) See Review

“Full of fast-paced action and brutal palace intrigue, starring the fiercest princess this side of Westeros.”―B&N.com


 

After the Crown

The adrenaline-fueled, Star Wars-style sequel to Behind the Throne, a new space adventure series from author K.B. Wagers.

Former gunrunner-turned-Empress Hail Bristol was dragged back to her home planet to fill her rightful position in the palace. With her sisters and parents murdered, the Indranan empire is on the brink of war. Hail must quickly make alliances with nearby worlds if she has any hope of surviving her rule.

When peace talks turn violent and Hail realizes she’s been betrayed, she must rely on her old gunrunning ways to get out of trouble. With help from an old boss and some surprising new allies, she must risk everything to save her world.

 


 

Beyond the Empire

The adrenaline-fueled, explosive conclusion to the Indranan War trilogy by K. B. Wagers.

Gunrunner-turned-Empress Hail Bristol was dragged back to her home planet to take her rightful place in the palace. Her sisters and parents have been murdered, and the Indranan Empire is reeling from both treasonous plots and foreign invasion.

Now, on the run from enemies on all fronts, Hail prepares to fight a full-scale war for her throne and her people, even as she struggles with the immense weight of the legacy thrust upon her. With the aid of a motley crew of allies old and new, she must return home to face off with the same powerful enemies who killed her family and aim to destroy everything and everyone she loves. Untangling a legacy of lies and restoring peace to Indrana will require an empress’s wrath and a gunrunner’s justice.


“…The final installment of Wagers’s Indranan War space adventure trilogy has all of the best qualities of the previous books: nerve-wracking action on the ground and in space, dark humor, and the characters’ til-the-end loyalty to one another.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)  See Review


 

There Before the Chaos

The propulsive start of a dynamic space opera trilogy featuring a gunrunning empress who must navigate alien politics and deadly plots to prevent an interspecies war.

Hail Bristol: former runaway princess, interplanetary gunrunner, Empress of Indrana.

When the Empire’s closest ally asks her to intervene in a galactic military crisis, she embarks on the highest stakes diplomatic mission Indrana has ever faced.

Caught between two powerful alien civilizations at each other’s throats, Hail has one chance to make peace, before all of humanity becomes collateral damage in a full-blown galactic war.

 


 

Down Among the Dead

Gunrunner empress Hail Bristol must navigate alien politics and deadly plots to prevent an interspecies war, in this second novel of the Farian War space opera trilogy.

In a surprise attack that killed many of her dearest subjects, Hail Bristol, empress of Indrana, has been captured by the Shen — the most ruthless and fearsome aliens humanity has ever encountered. As she plots her escape, the centuries-long war between her captors and the Farians, their mortal enemies and Indrana’s oldest allies, finally comes to a head.

When her captors reveal a shocking vision of the future, Hail must make the unexpectedly difficult decision she’s been avoiding: whether to back the Shen or the Farians.

Staying neutral is no longer an option. Will Hail fight? Or will she fall?


 

Out Past the Stars

Gunrunner empress Hail Bristol must navigate alien politics and deadly plots to prevent an interspecies war, in the explosive finale to the Farian War space opera trilogy.

When Hail finally confronts the Farian gods, she makes a stunning discovery. There are no gods—only the Hiervet, an alien race with devastating powers who once spread war throughout the galaxy long before humanity’s ancestors crawled out of the sludge of Earth’s oceans.

But this knowledge carries with it dire news: the Hiervet have returned, eager to take revenge on those of their kind who escaped. And they don’t care who gets caught in the middle of the battle—Shen, Farian, or Indranan.

Once again, the fate of the galaxy is on the line and Hail will have to make one final gamble to leverage chaos into peace.


“…a fantastic send-off for one of science fiction’s most remarkable recent protagonists.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review) See Review

“The hallmark of Wagers’s space opera so far has been their gift for meaningful action, strong characterisation, and delightful banter.” –Liz Bourke for Locus
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