The Saga of Seven Suns
|Author||Kevin J. Anderson|
|Genre||Sci-fi, Space Opera|
|Publisher|| Simon & Schuster
|Published||July 2002 – July 2008|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|No. of books||7|
|Preceded by||Veiled Alliances (prequel)|
The Saga of Seven Suns is a series of seven space opera novels written by Kevin J. Anderson and published between 2002 and 2008. The series is set in a not-too-distant future where mysterious alien benefactors, the Ildirans, have helped humanity to spread out among the stars, colonizing a number of planets in the Orion Spiral Arm of the Milky Way galaxy. Much of the human race is ruled by the powerful Terran Hanseatic League (Hansa), which intends, by force or by subterfuge, to extend its control to every corner of human space while the Ildirans simply continue to look on.
The series details the outcome of an ancient war rekindled by human folly when scientists experimenting with alien technology create a new star from a gas giant and thereby awaken the fury of a hidden empire of elemental aliens known as the hydrogues, who dwell within gas giants. The hydrogues start to extinguish stars, thus awaking another elemental race in the stars—the faeros—who fight back. On the planet Theroc, human colonists awaken the verdani, a tree elemental race, and two Roamers awaken a fourth elemental race—the water elemental wentals. The series details the rekindled war between these forces and the Illdirans, Hansa and Roamers who are caught in the middle.
Beneath this all, a subplot of artificial intelligence lurks. Ancient black robots ally with the humans and the Illdirans, and aid them in their war. Later in the series, their creators, the Klikiss return, attacking both human and robot to regain their lost colonies.
Synopses of each book are provided below.
Prequel: Veiled Alliances (Graphic Novel) (2004) 
Eleven generation ships were dispatched from an overpopulated Earth hundreds of years ago to find new planets to colonize. But then one of the ships, the Caillié, discovers an advanced race capable of faster-than-light travel.
The Ildirans help the people of the Caillié settle the planet Theroc and rescue most of the remaining human ships, then send an envoy to Earth seeking an alliance. Earth is now governed by the wizened King Ben, with Chairman Malcolm Stannis pulling the strings for the Terran Hanseatic League behind the scenes.
Book 1: Hidden Empire (2002) 
Having colonized the worlds of the Spiral Arm, humanity is divided into three branches: the Earth-based Terran Hanseatic League, the telepathic Theron green priests of Theroc, and the rebellious, starship-dwelling Roamers. The only other known intelligent species in the galaxy are the Ildirans, an ancient, senescent civilization, and the Klikiss, who vanished ages before.
Two xenoarchaeologists, Louis Colicos and Margaret Colicos discover a Klikiss device that can convert gas giant planets into suns. The first test of the technology is successful, but the supposedly uninhabitable gas giants are the homeworlds of another alien species - the Hydrogues. Their civilization had remained undetected as they preferred to use a system of hyperspace gates to travel between their worlds. Much more advanced than any other known species, the Hydrogues begin a war to annihilate anyone harvesting their gaseous planets for space fuel or 'ekti' - whether Hansa, Ildiran, Theron, or Roamers.
Book 2: A Forest of Stars (2003) 
Five years after the war began, the Hydrogues maintain absolute control over the galaxy's gas giant planets. On Earth the government is tightening its grip on rebellious colonies while seeking to dominate the other humans throughout the galaxy, unaware of additional threats beyond the Hydrogues themselves. The Ildirans are secretly abducting and breeding humans in enforced breeding camps. The Terran Hanseatic League begins to build military robots (Soldier Compies) to fight the war using technology found in Klikiss Robots which have exterminated their own makers and may turn on mankind.
Then a new race of elemental entities are rediscovered, ancient enemies of the Hydrogues that have suffered genocide at their hands for millions of years.
Book 3: Horizon Storms (2004) 
The war between Hydrogues and Faeros, fiery creatures inhabiting suns, continues to sweep across the Spiral Arm, extinguishing suns and destroying planets. Chairman Basil Wenceslas of the Terran Hanseatic League and his figurehead King Peter attempt to unify all branches of the human race to stand together against the threat, even if they must resort to deception and oppression to do so.
The Roamer clans and the people of Theroc don't give up their independence easily, however, and the policies of Chairman Wenceslas force the disparate civilizations to forge alliances of their own.
Partly as a distraction from their peril and partly as a desperate hope the Hanseatic League launches an ambitious new colonization program using the network of Klikiss transportals, instantaneous gateways that take colonists to the abandoned worlds of the Klikiss race.
In the ancient Ildiran Empire, Jora'h - the newly crowned Mage-Imperator - faces the responsibilities and secrets his predecessors have imposed upon him: a breeding program forced upon a colony of human captives and an uneasy pact with the Klikiss robots that could result in the extinction of the human race. But Jora'h must also survive an open rebellion among the Ildirans, the first in ten thousand years.
Book 4: Scattered Suns (2005) 
The war between the Hydrogues and Faeros continues. The Hydrogues offer the Ildirans peace if they help destroy the humans, but the Ildiran empire is preoccupied with rebellion as Jora'h's brother Rusa'h launches a bloody rebellion across the Ildiran planets, appointing Jora'h's own first-born son as its leader.
In the Terran Hanseatic League, Chairman Basil Wenceslas continues his red-herring war against the Roamer clans. Their homes destroyed, the wandering Roamers scatter into hiding, trying to keep their culture and government intact, even when faced with enemies from all sides. Cesca Peroni, leader of the Roamers, finds herself stranded on a small icy outpost where miners have uncovered a hibernating army of Klikiss robots. These robots, along with other, already active ones, trigger another dark and ancient plot, one that could lead to a massacre across all human-inhabited planets.
Book 5: Of Fire And Night (2006) 
Earth slips deeper into desperation. Increasingly irrational Chairman Basil Wenceslas's punitive treatment of Hansa colonies and free-spirited Roamers, as well as his refusal to aid the burned forest world of Theroc, has made enemies all around. Earth’s own Soldier compies have rebelled, taking over much of the military, and the Hansa's allies, the Ildirans, are secretly making a deal with the Hydrogues to exterminate the human race.
As the war continues to go badly for Earth, the remaining factions of humanity work together elsewhere. Worldtrees allied with “green priests” on Theroc have rallied hulking, thorny tree battleships, while Roamers work with powerful water entities, the Wentals, to seed scattered planets with a growing force to challenge the Hydrogues.
After Chairman Wenceslas has alienated and cut off so many potential allies, it seems clear that Earth is not well defended, and that it may be destroyed.
Book 6: Metal Swarm (2007) 
The Hydrogues have been defeated, driven back into the cores of their gas-giant planets by an alliance of the Earth Defence Forces, the Ildiran Empire, the Roamer clans, the Wentals, and the gigantic living Verdani 'tree ships'. But as the various factions try to recover the Hansa's brutal Chairman Basil Wenceslas struggles to crush any resistance and King Peter breaks away to form his own new Confederation among the green priests on Theroc, the Roamer clans and an ever-growing number of breakaway colonies who have declared their independence.
Klikiss robots continue to attack helpless worlds with stolen Earth battleships. The Faeros have allied with an Ildiran madman to declare war against all life. And the original Klikiss race - long thought to be extinct - has returned, intent on reclaiming their former worlds and willing to annihilate anyone who happens to be in the way.
Book 7: The Ashes of Worlds (2008) 
Book 7 takes off right where Book 6 ends, tying together all the numerous plotlines of the previous 6 novels. The Faeros mount an attack on Ildiria while the Mage-Imperator is at Theroc to admit his empire's folly at Dobro. Chairman Basil Wenceslas is overthrown and the war finally comes to a conclusion.
Critical reception 
The series has received varied reviews. The Best Reviews said "The tale grabs the audience from the start as Kevin J. Anderson does not just introduce the several races and the orbs, but blends the players and worlds into the thrilling plot. Thus, the audience does not receive an extended prologue as often seen in first novels. Instead readers obtain a powerful futuristic epic that contains a robust stand-alone story line yet provides a puissant cliffhanger that will keep the audience wanting to continue non-stop." SF Signal described it as "A rather pedestrian space opera that nonetheless has some cool ideas." The premise of the series was greeted positively by critics, with the main criticisms being levelled at Anderson's literary ability, and the suggestion that the story arc doesn't really justify such a long series.