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Behind the Throne

(The Indranan War #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  3,155 ratings  ·  542 reviews
Meet Hail: Captain. Gunrunner. Fugitive.

Quick, sarcastic, and lethal, Hailimi Bristol doesn't suffer fools gladly. She has made a name for herself in the galaxy for everything except what she was born to do: rule the Indranan Empire. That is, until two Trackers drag her back to her home planet to take her rightful place as the only remaining heir.

But trading her ship for a
Paperback, 413 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by Orbit
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Kate What the hell is this? There's virtually no romance in this book, save a few flashbacks to a past relationship, and no sex scenes that I recall. There…moreWhat the hell is this? There's virtually no romance in this book, save a few flashbacks to a past relationship, and no sex scenes that I recall. There is a lot of gunfire though and some people get stabbed, is that sufficiently "male" for you? Though I suppose yes, there is some "girl power", in that the protagonist is female and achieves power, so maybe you'd prefer to spend your money elsewhere.

Some food for could have asked your question without ever using the words "chick" or "girlie" and it would have been a valid question about content and tone, instead of making vapid over-generalizations about "girly" things. Plenty of women also don't care for romantic novels, and plenty of women write stories about women that aren't romances. (less)
Elena No sex--the main character is way too busy for romance.

There is some swearing.…more
No sex--the main character is way too busy for romance.

There is some swearing.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  3,155 ratings  ·  542 reviews

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Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
I wanted to think this might have been a vast empire-building SF epic, with spaceships galore and an underdog rise from the dregs, but no. Even the SF portions feel kinda tacked on, focusing more on taking a bit of world-building along the cultural lines and making a matrilineal succession the focus, instead, with an almost obligatory strong female cast to "round" it out.

In actuality, this is not really an SF except in the fact that it has cut and paste SF space-operatic featured over a very old
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Actual rating: 2.5 stars

So here I was, suffering from the dreary side effects of a Slightly Deadly In Between IA Rerererereads Mini Book Slump (SDIBIARMBS™) and not knowing what piece of crap book to DNF pick up next. Feeling most adventurous and stuff, I boldly decided to dive into the frightfully vast expanse of my TBR shelf and came upon this seemingly refreshing piece of Sci-Fi-ness. "Seemingly" being the operative word here. Okay, so it's not that the book wasn't vaguely entertaining and s
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
2.5ish stars.

A fast-paced, highly readable action novel that professes to be space opera but, as far as I can tell, only incidentally happens to take place in space.

Approximately 85% of the novel, told from the POV of former gunrunner Hail, transpires as follows in slight variations:

Thinking about my former lover/gunrunning partner, Portis (from my days as a gunrunner), brought all the universes crashing down upon me in a space-explosion that sucked the air from my lungs like a space-Dyson. I st
Stevie Kincade
(Somewhere deep in the bowels of the Hachette Audio lair)

Hachette Executive: All right then, what's next on the agenda?

Hachette Lackey: Well Sir, we need to cast a narrator for KB Wager's "Behind the throne"

Exec: Never heard of it

Lackey: It says here it is a "Star wars-style Science Fiction adventure". We are really excited about it Sir

Exec: "Star Wars" eh...Seems like a pretty obscure reference...maybe the kids these days will go for it...Male lead or female?

Lackey: The protagonist i
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

This was a tough one to rate. I devoured this one, so you know I really enjoyed it and I want to make that clear. It was quite different from what I expected though, perhaps more political in nature than action and adventure-oriented, and calling it “Star Wars-style science fiction” might be a bit of a stretch. Still, Behind the Throne is a special kind of gem, and would appeal to readers who appreciate story structure,
I received a copy of this ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars, and I'm going to round it up. Why? Because even after I worked all week and had a lot of things to do around the house last night, I stayed up until 3 am to finish this book. I could barely walk to get to the bed after I finished, but I did it. And really enjoyed the whole experience.

This wasn't as detail-rich or epic scope as most of the top ratings I give, but when a book hooks you
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
The Indranan Empire is an interstellar civilization under a hereditary matrilineal monarchy. It's also under attack with nearly every immediate member of the Empress's family assassinated in a short time. The only one left other than the Empress is the black sheep of the family, princess-turned-gunrunner Hailimi Bristol. With the Empress ailing from a dementia-like illness, Hail is dragged back to the Empire very much against her wishes.

Once returned, and as the new imperial heir, Hail finds her
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1audio, 2fiction, scifi
An Indian civilization in the future that's female dominated & still follows the Hindu religion to some extent made the setting interesting even if the heroine was a bit too good & the plot was obvious. The black sheep of the family comes home to set things right & it turns out that the wandering is exactly the right training. This explained her ability to read people & situations unerringly. OK.

It could have been a fun romp, but everything was always very serious, nothing really lightened the m
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Basically: this is the book you're looking for *Jedi hand-wave* if you have an Ancillary Justice-shaped hole in your heart. Or if you miss the good Dune books but want something more readable. Or if you're dying for Rogue One to just get here already. For everyone who enjoys an excellent soft (in the genre sense, definitely not in the content sense *wink wink*) science fiction romp. Political maneuvering ...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
4.5 stars
Behind the Throne, K. B. Wagers’ sci-fi debut, fell into my hands after much praise from some of my most trusted peers. To describe my experience with it as love at first chapter would not be an exaggeration at all. Discovering books like it and pushing them at unsuspecting readers is why I took up blogging in the first place. It gives me great pleasure to share my delight over this title with all of you.

Behind the Throne starts with a bang and continues in an unrelenting pace. It is s
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-read
3.5 stars

This book definitely improves in its second half, enough so that I'm interested in reading the next book and seeing where the story goes from here.
Kate (Feathered Turtle Press)
To start: I have a hard time classifying this as Science Fiction and it only barely qualifies as a Space Opera. I think a much more accurate description would be "Political Fantasy set in Space." Magical Healing Space Elves already come built right in. It's fifteen minutes with the "Find and Replace" button on a word processor away from being termed "Indian-inspired Political Fantasy."

Anyways: I really wanted to like this one. I loved the idea of the gunrunner princess dragged home to rule with
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally escapist, political intrigue-heavy fantasy about an empire on the brink of war, a gunrunner/princess dragged back home to said empire in the wake of the murders of three members of her family and the ailing head of her family, her mother the empress. Lots of action with an interesting premise, that the planet on which most of the action takes place was settled by people from India, and after many years, became a matriarchy. Hail Bristol, gunrunner/princess, is unhappy being back home and ...more
Paige (Enchantology)
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016-releases
2.5 stars

Full review is up on my blog, Queer SFF.

Sooo much potential, but I was ultimately disappointed with this. Love Emmory with every fiber of my being though. Can we just elevate him to the protagonist position in the next book? Please?
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it

"Spoken like a consummate politician, Highness. One would think you've been doing this for years."
"I have, Caspel. It just involved more guns."
Whatever your expectations may be, I suspect Behind the Throne will probably defy them. When I first started reading, misled by the flowery descriptions of eye colors and muscle definition, the careful note of each time the characters touched, and the derogative-yet-highly-descriptive portraits of the protagonist's beautiful clothing, I was quite
Mike (the Paladin)
You know....this is the second time I got this out of the library and the second time I've sent it back. I forgot, thus I mark it "read" here but plan to pick it up in "actual book" version later. This is only about the "audio version".

I love audio books, they make it possible to "read" as you handle other things that leave the mind more or less free. But sometimes the reader is bad or as in this case make incomprehensible decisions. Angele Masters for some reason chose to read this book in what
Jun 29, 2018 marked it as zzz-books-not-for-me  ·  review of another edition
INDIAN CULTURE IN SPACE!! I loved it! It was something we don't usually see in Sci-fi, but unfortunately, if you replace a few words (spacecraft >> ship, planets>>territories, etc.) you realise it could just as easily be a periodic fantasy.

Why would that be a problem? It's not, it's a perfectly fine book with missed opportunities to challenge our mindset and show how humanity's psychology has evolved with such discoveries. It also felt a bit too long for me. And the heroine, although quite stro
Book Riot Community
A sci fi novel with an Indian lady lead, based on Indian culture? I was into this book, the first book in the Indranan War trilogy, from the first second I heard about. Wagers builds a rich and fascinating matriarchal culture, complete with a main character who’s a gunrunner when we first meet her. We quickly learn that Hail is actually a princess who’s trying to escape her destiny. But home comes calling, and Hail returns to find her mother, and her kingdom, much changed. It’s exciting, breathl ...more
Why you should read this/read this if you like:
- MC is in her late 30s which is SO refreshing, also a foul-mouthed, ass-kicking badass
- no romance
- political intrigue galore
- fast-paced, action-packed
- set in a futuristic Indian culture
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
A very easy and quick read. Not overly complicated and definitely not a scifi novel. Yes its set in space, but I think thats the extent of the scifi. Its more a fantasy whodunit terrorist thriller. A young lady has escaped her past, becomes a gunrunner, but due to circumstances on her home planet, she must return home to be the rightful heir. From here it becomes pretty standard and cliched in story. If youre a big fantasy fan you would have probably have read this type of novel before. I did en ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: r2016, scifi
Behind the Throne is an easy and entertaining read.

The idea of a rogue princess is not a new one but it works. Hail has left her planet for a particular reason, living as a gunrunner for the last 20 years and making a 'reputation' for herself. However, with the Empress ill and her sisters and niece recently murdered, Hail is brought back to fulfill her role as heir.

The blurb is misleading since this story is nothing like Star Wars, nor are there any space battles. Really, did they read the sto
The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
As always my fellow bookish peeps, this review is also available on my blog:

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Well, I think I did, the book just arrived in the post, I hadn't requested it, didn't know I was on the publishers mailing list and I don't remember entering any competitions to win it either! So, let's call it a surprise book.......and what a great surprise it turned out to be!

Behind the Thr
Beth Cato
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, 2017
Loved this book and didn't want to put it down. This space opera novel has it all: a strong female lead, solid action from page one, incredible world-building with a far-future civilization descended from India, deep characters, and plenty of material for future books, too. Speaking of which, I'm ordering the sequel today because I NEED to know what happens next. ...more
Toya (the reading chemist)
So, I’m a bit taken aback with this one.

Hindu culture in a space opera! Hell yes. I was here for it. Hidden royal? Yes! Bring on fantasy elements in space.

While the banter and snark is this book is a lot of fun...It’s really all we get. It took until about the 70% mark before any of the action happened. And yes, the MC is retrieved in the beginning after her sister is murdered since she’s now next in line to the throne.

However, after that, it’s a whole lot of tell with very little showing. I
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was so much fun, ladies and gents! A delightful space opera the likes of Paradox series by Rachel Bach with a sassy, tough, gorgeous badass of a heroine who is like Kate Daniels of sci-fi genre.

Hail is a smuggler with a very dangerous reputation, but what the majority of people don't know is that she is a runaway princess, the youngest in succession to the throne of Indranan Empire. Then someone tries to betray and slaughter her on her own ship and her mother's Royal guards finall
Bryan Alexander
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
Some books are easy reads. Others are even easier to get through. This is one of those books that gently sets you down on a soft couch, makes a soothing drink and sets it at your elbow, plays relaxing music in the background, fluffs your pillow, and murmurs into your ear: "You are right to read this. You deserve it. Don't feel bad. It's a good thing. Smile. Have some popcorn. Shut down that brain. Ssssshhhhhh."

Behind the Throne looks like a space opera and a story of intrigue, but really isn't e
MrsJoseph *grouchy*
I really enjoyed Behind the Throne but not for (all) my usual reasons. I was a little skeptical in the beginning - Haili IS a runaway princess and that's trope-y from beginning to end - but this was a runaway hit for me. I like that Haili isn't a push over, she is decisive, she's incredibly loyal, loves hard and tries to use her brain. Love all of that. Her backstory is rather flimsy to me but it's acceptable. I also rather enjoy the relationships of the BodyGuards & Trackers.

But what really pe
Blodeuedd Finland
There were many cool things about this book. Ohh let's make a list!

First we have a kick-ass gunrunner, smart, sassy, and she is actually a runaway princess. And now heir to the throne, ohh drama!

Second it's sci-fi, which is always cool. Not so much space-ship stuff, mostly land and tech stuff.

Third, this empire is one ruled by matriarchs. Go girlpower! Of course that is not perfect either since men do not get the same chances as women, but as a storyline I love it. Women are all in charge.

Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.5 Stars

Given the comparisons to the Star Wars franchise, I expected this novel to be an action-packed adventure. Instead this is more of story involving court politics and royal protocol. While our main character use to be a gunrunner, she spends nearly the entire book in her other identity, the heir to a powerful empire. At times the narrative felt uneven and unnecessarily slow. I did enjoy the characters and their interactions, particularly the relationship between our main character and her
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K.B. Wagers is the author of the Indranan & Farian War trilogies with Orbit Books and the new NeoG novels from Harper Voyager. They hold a bachelor's degree in Russian Studies and a second-degree black belt in Shaolin Kung Fu. A native of Colorado, K.B. lives at the base of the Rocky Mountains with their partner and a crew of recalcitrant cats. In between books, they can be found attempting to lea ...more

Other books in the series

The Indranan War (3 books)
  • After the Crown (The Indranan War, #2)
  • Beyond the Empire (The Indranan War, #3)

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“The new system of sending down a small group of families was the easiest solution. If they were still alive when the other ships got there, it was assumed safe. If they weren’t, the planet was X-ed from the habitable planet list.” 2 likes
“Haili! Good morning!” She wrapped her arms around my neck and squeezed. “You look wonderful, so nice to be able to buck trends and just slap clothes together, huh? Let’s take a digital. Smile.” Pressing her cheek to mine, she held up her hand, taking the photo with the tech embedded in the tips of her fingers. “I’ll post it on Hansi.” 1 likes
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