Smith and Trowbridge describe the flavor of their five-book space opera Exordium as a cross between Star Wars and Dangerous Liaisons with a touch of the Three Stooges. With its fast-moving blend of humor and horror, of high-tech skiffy and the deep places of the human heart, The Phoenix in Flight launches the reader into a complex, multi-layered universe of Brandon nyr-Arkad, dissolute youngest son of the ruler of the Thousand Suns.
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In the sequel to The Phoenix in Flight, Brandon vlith-Arkad, who fled the Mandalic Palace and his old life only hours ahead of assassination, is now heir to the Panarchy. He wants only to rescue his father, the Panarch. But everyone wants a piece of him. The Dol'jharians, who smashed the Panarchy and took his father prisoner. A Rifter pirate and her crew, who helped him escape a doomed planet - twice - and now wonder what to do about a royal prisoner with the price of ten planets on his head.
In the third volume of Exordium, this swashbuckling space opera continues with Brandon and the Rifter crew of the Telvarna arriving at the Panarchic Navy's headquarters. The Rifters are imprisoned, and Brandon finds himself, as sole heir to the Phoenix Throne, fighting a battle of symbols, his only weapon his wits as he strives against the powerful and sophisticated aristocrats who hide lethal intent behind urbanity and style.
In this rewritten fourth volume, the Panarchy is in shambles, coalescing at the military base Ares. Not only has Brandon inherited this political tinderbox, but he also must face the escalating threat from the invading Dol'jharians and their Rifter allies before they can power up the ancient artifact they call the Suneater. But moving with secret, deadly precision against Brandon is a traitor who will do anything for power. Meanwhile Brandon has fallen in love, but everyone thinks it's with the wrong person.
In this last volume, the desperate fight to recover the Panarchy of the Thousand Suns is about to commence. Brandon hai-Arkad has been crowned emperor, but his throne remains in the hands of his enemy, Jerrod Eusabian of Dol'jhar. The fleet has been gathered, the order of battle drawn. Brandon will reclaim his father's empire or face annihilation. This is the exciting conclusion to the Exordium series.