Sten Adventures Book 3: The Court of a Thousand Suns

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The Court of a Thousand Suns
Sten Adventure 3 book cover.jpg
Author Chris Bunch and Allan Cole
Cover artist Not listed
Country United States
Language English
Series Sten Adventures
Genre Science fiction novel
Publisher Del Rey Books, reissued by Orbit Books
Publication date
1985
Media type Print (paperback)
Pages 275 pp
ISBN 1-84149-009-1
OCLC 59556159
Preceded by The Wolf Worlds
Followed by Fleet of the Damned

The Court of a Thousand Suns is the third book in Chris Bunch and Allan Cole's The Sten Adventures.

Plot summary[edit]

Sten is now the commander of the Imperial Gurkhas, personal bodyguards of the Eternal Emperor. However, Sten isn't happy with his new assignment at the Imperial Court, thinking of Court as "boring place full of boring people". When a bomb explosion in a bar kills a local mafia leader, Sten is surprised that Emperor immediately puts him on the case, apparently for no reason. It is up to Sten and a tough female detective Lisa Haines to discover what happened.

Sten finds that the bomb was detonated by an amateur who killed target he was supposed to capture, but whoever hired him, was professional. Sten pursues bomberman, who got himself imprisoned on Tahn world, and extracts him. During interrogation Sten discovers alarming news - the man who hired that amateur is a former member of the Mercury Corps. He also discovers codeword "Rashid" that was supposed to identify bomberman's target.

The Emperor is visibly startled - "Rashid" is his name when he goes incognito between common people, so the explosion was meant for him. He orders Sten to continue with investigation. Sten eventually finds renegade Mercury agent responsible for whole operation, but he commits suicide to avoid capture. Sten asks his friends (including Alex Kilgore) for help with the follow-up investigation, while Eternal Emperor goes to diplomatic meeting with Tahn delegation.

In Emperor's absence, rebels decide to put the cards on the table. Their original plan was to capture Emperor incapacited by explosion and reprogram his brain, so he would follow their orders. Failing that, they put backup plan in motion - assassinate Emperor and Tahn delegation, provoking war between Empire and Tahn. Sten, Alex and Gurkgas are captured and imprisoned by Praetorian guard, whose members side with rebels. Sten is able to escape and with the help of Gurkhas overthrow Praetorian guard. With the only communication equipment sabotaged, he has no choice than travel to the meeting and try to save as much as he can.

After many violent gunfights aboard Emperor's flagship, Sten barely saves the Eternal Emperor from assassination attempt. However, he can do nothing about Tahn delegation, whose members were murdered at the beginning of a coup. Tahn take killing their delegation as a provocation and immediately begin preparation for a war.