COBRA (science fiction novels)

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For the series of novels by Joseph R. Rosenberger, see COBRA (action-adventure novels).

COBRA refers to a series of science fiction novels by Timothy Zahn.


The books center around Cobras, elite soldiers augmented with bionic technology. These modifications include built-in weapons, sensory enhancements, effectively unbreakable bones, and their characteristic combat reflexes. These modifications to the human body are invisible to casual inspection, and allow the soldiers to appear as ordinary unarmed civilians, allowing them to be effective resistance leaders. However, most of the cybernetics are permanent, allowing Zahn to examine the position these individuals might fill in a society during peace-time. Their weaponry includes small lasers implanted in the little finger of each hand, an anti-armor laser that runs down the calf muscle of one leg and exits through a lens in the heel of their boot, plus an "arcthrower", a secondary weapon built into the fingertip lasers that delivers a high-voltage pulse, which disrupts nearby electronics. In addition, they are armed with a sonic weapon, which can produce sound at frequencies capable of shattering most objects. All of their weaponry is controlled by a "nanocomputer" that is implanted inside their skull. This computer also helps run the visual and auditory enhancers, targeting computer, automated reflexes, etc. Modifications include ceramic laminae over all of their bones (essentially rendering them unbreakable), as well as servomotors at the major joints, which augment strength and speed. The design of the nanocomputer renders it impossible to reprogram, and its location makes it next-to-impossible to remove without killing the Cobra.


  • Cobra (1986)
  • Cobra Strike (1987)
  • Cobra Bargain (1988)
  • Cobra Alliance - Cobra War Book 1 (2009)
  • Cobra Guardian - Cobra War Book 2 (January 4, 2011)
  • Cobra Gamble - Cobra War Book 3 (January 2012)
  • Cobra Rebellion Trilogy - Cobra Slave (2013)
  • Cobra Rebellion Trilogy - Cobra Outlaw (2015)
  • Cobra Rebellion Trilogy - Book 3 (not yet released)

The first two were also released in one compilation called Cobras Two in 1992. A complete compilation was released as the Cobra Trilogy in 2004.

Cobra depicts the story of first generation Cobra Johnny Moreau, who, following his participation in the Human-Troft war by aiding resistance movements on Troft-occupied world Adriondack, returns home, but finds himself an outcast. Unable to find a job outside of manual labor, he accidentally kills two teenagers and wounds two more when they swerve towards him in a car and his combat reflexes kick in, his nanocomputer interpreting his situation in a military context. Following this, the human leader sends the Cobras to colonize a solar system on the other side of Troft Space, with the Trofts grudgingly allowing the humans passage through a narrow corridor through their territory. The Cobras prove to be perfectly suited to combating the hostile wildlife of the colony planets, and manage to prosper, despite incidents including an attempt to create a Cobra-run government and the closing of the Troft Corridor.

In Cobra Strike, the Cobra Worlds are petitioned by the Trofts to stop a hostile alien civilization on the planet Quasama that is a threat to both them and the Cobra worlds, offering five uncolonized, hospitable worlds in exchange. Unable to decline the offer of additional planets, the Cobra Worlds agree to the offer, and dispatch a task force to the planet, where, much to their astonishment, they find that the hostile aliens are in fact humans, each symbiotically bound to a bird-like native lifeform. Although their true mission is discovered, the team manages to escape, and a solution is developed, by releasing spine leopards (a dangerous, vicious, and prolific predator native to the Cobra Worlds)to the planet, causing the avians to begin bonding to spine leopards instead.

In the third novel, the main character (Jasmine "Jin" Moreau), the first of the female Cobras, is part of a Cobra strike team sent to investigate Troft claims of Quasama developing space flight. When her shuttle is shot down, she finds herself the sole surviving member of the task force. Though very nearly killed by the native Quasaman wilidlife, she manages, with the aid of a Quasaman who discovers her secret, to unearth and destroy the project, a secret collaboration between Quasaman government officials and an unknown Troft Demense with unknown motives to build a new class of Troft warship.

A fourth book, Cobra Alliance: Cobra War Book One, copyright 2009 (ISBN 978-1-4391-3306-4) was released by Baen Books and continues the saga of the COBRA warriors of Aventine. A fifth book, Cobra Guardian, also released by Baen Books on January 4, 2011, further continues the story. The final book of the Cobra War trilogy is titled Cobra Gamble and was released in January 2012.

A new trilogy, Cobra Rebellion, was announced, the first book of which (Cobra Slave) was released in 2013 and the second book (Cobra Outlaw) being released in 2015.