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Unconquerable Sun: The Sun Chronicles #1    by Kate Elliott order for
Unconquerable Sun
by Kate Elliott
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2021 (2020)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've read and re-read many of Kate Elliott's extraordinary and varied fantasy/SF series, including Jaran, Crown of Stars, Crossroads, Spiritwalker, and Court of Fives. Now she brings us something very different again. The Sun Chronicles is a space opera saga starring a female interstellar version of Alexander the Great.

As the saga opens, Princess Sun (heir to the throne of the Republic of Chaonia, ruled by Queen-Marshall Eirene) has just won a significant victory (her first command) in their conflict with the Phene Empire. Her father Joao, a prince of the Gatoi, is distrusted in the Republic, but has her back as best he can. The Gatoi hire out most of their banner soldiers to the Phene Empire (compulsions to fight to the death engineered into them by the Phene).

Republic politics are complicated and getting more so, as Eirene takes another consort, this one from the powerful Lee House. As this develops, readers meet other leads in the story - Sun's assigned Companions; talented Phene lancer pilot Apama At Sabao; Persephone Lee who fled her family to join the military academy, but is then pulled back into the Lees' orbit, and into Sun's; and Gatoi Zizou who's been conditioned as an assassin.

After Sun's mother sends her and her Companions on a show tour of industrial establishments, they are attacked. After a conflict between Sun and her mother, she and her surviving Companions end up on the run, fighting for their lives. They reach the Academy as Phene gunships attack, fend them off with cadet support and eventually Sun takes command of the cruiser Boukephalas once more.

Unconquerable Sun is a very exciting and fast moving read, set in a well developed set of worlds and cultures. This first episode ends with this wonderful cast of characters heading once again into 'unknown territory'. I can't wait to read more.

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