As I swan around the internet in assorted anonymous disguises, I have seen what appears to be some confusion over what the story arcs of the Starship’s Mage series actually are.
While much of that boils down to my recurring logic that “the reader’s engagement with the book is always correct for them,” I wanted to lay out what the original and ongoing pieces of the Starship’s Mage story are at this point.
WARNING: THIS WILL INCLUDE SPOILERS THROUGH NEMESIS OF MARS!
There are three arcs that we are introduced to in the first Starship’s Mage: The first is Damien’s rare abilities as a Rune Wright and his recruitment to the service of the Mage-King of Mars. The second is the conflict between Mars and the Mage aristocracy on the one hand and the UnArcana Worlds and Legatus on the other. The third is the existence of an ongoing illegal slave trade and the power concentrated in the organized crime cartels.
The second and third arcs are continued in the Red Falcon Trilogy, where Kelly Lamonte stole the series from its intended leads. In that trilogy, we see the consequences of Damien’s destruction of the Blue Star Syndicate’s leadership and delve more deeply into the shadow war between the Protectorate and the Legatus Military Intelligence Directorate.
Over books 2 to 5 (what I generally refer to as Season One of Starship’s Mage), we see Damien grow into his full political and magical power and repeatedly bounce off the shadow war against Legatus. In book 4, Alien Arcana, we meet Winton, Nemesis, and the Keepers. Nemesis and the story around them make up the fourth arc of the series. We also have our first introduction to Roslyn Chambers, who begins her career as Damien’s protégé.
While in book 5, there are hints that Nemesis has a direct hand in the UnArcana Rebellion, but the main arc conclusion in book 5 is the end of the shadow war and the open secession of the Republic.
Season Two of Starship’s Mage, UnArcana Rebellion, focuses primarily on the titular rebellion and the Republic of Faith and Reason. It is revealed that Nemesis has a shadowy connection through the Republic and is, in fact, directly responsible for the Prometheus Drive—the Republic’s horrific solution to FTL travel involving murdered Mages. Nemesis is badly weakened, though not destroyed, when their attempt to install a more manipulable monarch goes very, very wrong. Thanks to a not very manipulable young Queen, major constitutional reform is pushed through in the Protectorate, resolving much of the arc around the conflict between mage and mundane (but not all, because those are not problems that vanish overnight.)
At the end of Season Two, the main war arc against the Legatans is resolved and Nemesis has been dealt a body blow. Both of these are events with immense, nearly-catastrophic consequences. Season Three, Mage-Officer of Mars, is about dealing with the consequences and showing Roslyn Chambers’ growth from someone more than a bit in over her head to a worthy officer in the service of her Queen.
With Beyond the Eyes of Mars, the third book of Mage-Officer of Mars and twelfth overall mainline novel, we see the complex reality of the Prometheans and the end conclusion of the UnArcana rebellions in the unknown colonies. To a large extent, by the end of the first few chapters of Nemesis of Mars, every arc I laid out in the series except for that of Nemesis itself has concluded.
Of course, concluded stories are boring, so new complications are introduced and Nemesis brings out some nasty toys that were introduced in A Darker Magic.
Book 14, coming in 2024 and currently tentatively titled Chimera’s Star, kicks off Season Four (current working title: Frontier Magic). Given that the only real ongoing arc left of the ones I’ve built into the series is Nemesis and their flight with a stolen cruiser, I think I’m due to introduce some new complications. They’ve been hinted at in the past…but no, I’m not talking about the aliens.
Happy reading all!
– Glynn Stewart