Familias Regnant universe

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The Familias Regnant is the name of the government of an area of the galaxy in the distant future from the Serrano series of books written by Elizabeth Moon. In the early books of the Serrano Legacy, the government is headed by a monarchy. As the story progresses, the abdication of the King after the Cloning Scandal caused the Council (equivalent of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom) to appoint an elected official to govern.

Political makeup[edit]

The council is made up of members of the Ruling Families. These families have many business interests throughout known space, and political decisions are closely linked to business needs. Non-members of the Ruling Families have little to no control over the choice of leaders and the everyday running of their government.

It is likely that the Ruling Families were initially a business arrangement which became a form of government as business relationships grew and merged. Their government is run according to a set of bylaws and there is no constitution or other set framework in place.

Make up of military forces[edit]

The Military Forces of the Familias Regnant is made up of two distinct forces:

Regular Space Service[edit]

The "Regs" are the professional section of the Familias Military Forces, primarily made up of space capable vessels crewed by highly experienced crews. They also have planet combat elements and are responsible for the enforcement of law and order in Familias Space.

The RSS was initially created from the private militias of the 14 ruling families. Known founding member families are the Serrano and Livadhi families. Unlike most senior fleet families, the Serranos have no patron due to the occupants of Altiplano led by the Suiza family over-throwing them and in this process killing them (the Suiza/modern Altiplan(an) version of the history has the Founders dying in the plague which was part of the cause of the initial revolt). The true version of the story was never determined during the storyline. Prior to this amalgamation each militia owed loyalty only to its patron's family.

Notable characters in the Regular Space Service[edit]

  • Commander Heris Serrano
  • Lieutenant Esmay Suiza
  • Commander/Admiral Minor Arash Livadhi
  • Admiral Vida Serrano
  • Ensign Barin Serrano

While Heris is captain of the yacht, and captain of the various vessels she commands after her return to the RSS, there is no rank of captain in the RSS. The rank structure is equivalent to the US Navy, with the apparent exception being that starting with O-4, there is a change in the structure. Moon, a former US Marine, uses the Marine, Army, and Air Force rank of major after the rank of lieutenant. She then continues the naval ranks so that an O-5 would be a lieutenant commander, and an O-6 would be a commander. The last rank before "flag rank" is commander. This is the equivalent of a captain in the US Navy, or a colonel in the other services. It appears, in this series, that "captain" is used only to refer to the captain of a vessel, of any rank, which is the tradition in the Navy. The flag ranks, in the novels, appear to be admiral minor, admiral major, and grand admiral (which may be a position instead of a formal rank). While Garrivay calls himself "commodore",[1] the subsequent conversation with Captain Serrano makes clear that this is a position, not a rank.

Royal Aeronautical Space Service[edit]

Is a non-professional space force with officers primarily taken from families of the chair holders. They have a reputation as being arrogant and unprofessional, existing primarily to live a life of luxury. While this holds true of the officer class, it appears, taken from Esmay Suiza's thoughts in the beginning of Rules of Engagement, that Royal Security may also be a part of the Royal Aero-Space Service.

Known as the Royal Ass to the members of the RSS.

Other political elements in the Familias world[edit]

The Familias is only one form of government in existence in the galaxy. Other known groups are:

  • The Benignity of the Compassionate Hand
  • The Bloodhorde
  • The New Texas Militia
  • The Lone Star Confederation
  • The Guernesi Republic
  • The Baltic Confederation

The Benignity of the Compassionate Hand is a dictatorial government bordering Familias space. The government is predominantly driven by profit, and failure is usually punished by death. The view from the Familias is that The Benignity is a criminal enterprise governed by criminals who have become the official government. There exists an uneasy peace between the Benignity and the Familias, punctuated by minor skirmishes and border disputes. They are organized in a manner reminiscent of the Mafia. Another major influence on Benignity policy is the "Church" which appears to have been a descendant of the Catholic (and perhaps Orthodox) Church. However, the Church's role in the Benignity social and political structure indicates that it is a very changed role from that of the 21st century church's.

The Benignity is also known as the "Black Scratch", or more officially the "Benignity", or the "Compassionate Hand".

The Bloodhorde is a coalition of pirates operating at the edge of Familias Space. Predominantly from Aethar's World, their government is based on tribal lines similar to the Vikings.

The New Texas Godfearing Militia is one of several groups of fanatics descended from old Earth radicals who believe women must be controlled and kept in their place for a godly society to prosper, as in literally kept "barefoot and pregnant". They attacked the Familias Regnant by stealing ordnance and piracy against their ships and the ships of other systems. On one such raid they captured and decided to keep Lord Thornbuckle's daughter Brun and use her as breeding stock.

The Lone Star Confederation was settled by people from the old earth, many from the state of Texas, though other colonists were from other parts of North America, presumably with them primarily being from the U.S. and Canada. The Lone Star Confederation is one of the trading partners of the Familias Regnant, and they have no relation, other than in name, to the New Texas Militia. In fact, one of their Rangers was dispatched to the Familias Regnant after the kidnapping of Lord Thornbuckle's daughter to clear up any confusion between their states over their connection to the New Texas Militia.

The Guernesi Republic is a very advanced state bordering the Familias Regnant known for its medical and other advanced technology. They were involved in the clone crises that brought down the king and their agents helped in the retrieval of Lord Thornbuckle's daughter Brun from the New Texas Militia.

The Baltic Confederation is only mentioned in passing. Its organization, beliefs, form of government etc. are unknown.

Familias Regnant novels[edit]

Heris Serrano (2002-07-30) – Baen omnibus edition ISBN 978-0-7434-3552-9
The Serrano Legacy: Omnibus One (2006-12-06) – Orbit GB omnibus
The Serrano Connection: Omnibus Two (2007-09-06) – Orbit GB omnibus
The Serrano Connection (2008-10-01) – Baen omnibus edition
The Serrano Succession: Omnibus Three (2008-02-06) – Orbit GB omnibus


  1. ^ Novel Winning Colors