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Cover image of first novel in the series
|Published||May 1988 – January 1996|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|No. of books||4|
|Followed by||The Emberverse series|
The Domination of the Draka is an alternate history series, generally regarded as dystopian, by S. M. Stirling. It comprises a main trilogy of novels as well as one crossover novel set after the original and a book of short stories. This series is also called the Draka series or Draka Saga.
- 1 Novels
- 2 Draka society
- 3 Draka history
- 3.1 The nineteenth century
- 3.2 The Great War (World War I) and its aftermath
- 3.3 Draka development of world domination ideology
- 3.4 The Eurasian War
- 3.5 Europe under Draka rule
- 3.6 The protracted struggle
- 3.7 Draka victorious
- 3.8 The struggle continues
- 4 Criticism
- 5 References
- 6 External links
|Book #||Title||UK release||US/CAN release||ISBN|
|1||Marching Through Georgia||February 1991||May 1, 1988|
|A Draka airborne unit attempts to hold a mountain pass against the Germans in Ossetia as the Domination launches its invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe.|
|2||Under the Yoke||December 31, 1991||September 1, 1989||0671698435|
|The Draka reshape Europe by turning the surviving population into serfs. Meanwhile an American agent infiltrates Draka society in an effort to gain contact with various resistance organizations.|
|3||The Stone Dogs||January 1, 1997||July 1, 1990|
|The long-standing Protracted Struggle between the Domination of the Draka and the Alliance for Democracy turns hot when the Draka unleash a new secret weapon.|
|4||Drakon||June 7, 1999||January 1, 1996|
|When an experiment goes wrong a female Draka is hurled into a parallel Earth and now seeks to pave the way for an invasion force.|
|Book #||Title||US/CAN release||UK release||ISBN|
|1||Drakas!||October 31, 2000||ISBN 0-671-31946-9|
In 2000, Stirling edited Drakas!, a collection of short stories by other authors who develop plots based on the Domination premise.
|2||The Domination||May 31, 1999||ISBN 0-671-57794-8|
An omnibus edition of the Draka Saga was published in 1999, containing the first trilogy, "Marching Through Georgia", "Under the Yoke" and "The Stone Dogs".
Origins and demography
The world of the Domination diverges from our world at the time of the American Revolutionary War, when the Netherlands declares war on Great Britain, resulting in the loss of its Cape Colony to the British. After defeat in Revolutionary War, the Loyalists who historically went to Canada are instead resettled in the new Crown Colony of Drakia (named after Sir Francis Drake) in South Africa, taking their slaves with them. Thousands of Hessian German mercenaries who fought on the Loyalist side are also paid off with land grants in the new colony. The Crown Colony of Drakia (later, the Dominion of the Draka) is an aggressive militaristic slave-owning society, massively influenced by the inherent racist attitudes of these American slave owner settlers that are allowed to run unchecked, reinforced over the course of the late 18th and 19th century by 25,000 Icelanders fleeing their island after the 1783-84 Volcanic devastation. French royalists, 150,000 defeated American Confederates and other reactionary refugees also emigrate to the colony. The much earlier Dutch Boer settlers are completely assimilated by these subsequent immigrants.
The genealogical lineage of both the original Boer and Southern Loyalist settlers from the late 17th century and 1780s, respectively, is almost overwhelmingly made up of Anglo-Saxons, Nordic, Germanics and Celtics, although these immigrant groups also include the scattered descendants of French Protestant Huguenots fleeing persecution in Roman Catholic France, and later the aforementioned French aristocrats seeking sanctuary from the French Revolution. Although most Draka remain at least nominally Christian for several generations, by the 1960s, the practice of Christianity among them has declined to the point that the few remaining Christian Citizens are subject to scrutiny by the Security Directorate and unofficially prevented from attaining officer ranks in the military. The Draka capital city is Archona, on the site of our own world's Pretoria.
The uppermost strata of Draka society by the mid-20th century was composed of the hereditary plantation families - the "old Domination" aristocracy descended from Loyalists that fled America, who monopolized landholding early on. Over time a new prosperous technocratic subclass emerged below this one, as the Domination industrialized (though it was still just "emerging" even as late as the Eurasian War, as the Domination was inclined to rely on slave labor more than industrialization). The Dutch Boer population actually did manage to survive as a distinct Draka subclass after a fashion: discontent with being edged out of landholding by the vastly more numerous Loyalist immigrants, Dutch Boer families came to dominate the officer pool of the Draka Navy. By the Eurasian War, of course, the Draka Navy was still disproportionately very small due to their heavy reliance upon land warfare - which made it both easier for the entire institution to be dominated by a handful of Dutch Boer families, and at the same time guaranteed that it would always be a minority power in wider Draka politics. The Confederates who immigrated after defeat in the American Civil War arrived too late to join the landholding class or the industrialist class, and the Dutch Boers already had a firm control on the Navy. Instead, as this coincided with a great outburst of Draka expansion, the Confederate immigrant families filled the rapidly expanding Security Directorate (secret police). Paralleling how the Navy was dominated by Dutch Boers, by the Eurasian War the Security Directorate was dominated by Confederate-descended hereditary families - who wielded considerable influence in militarized Draka society.
Citizens and "serfs"
Citizens, who are free and can vote, comprise only a small fraction of the Domination's population. Over 90% of the population are slaves. When the United Kingdom and most of the British Empire abolish slavery during the 1830s, the Draka avoid emancipation by labeling their slaves "serfs". At first, serfs are officially debt laborers who can earn their freedom, but this is a feeble legal fiction. This pretense is dropped when the Draka withdraw from the Empire, but the word "serf" remains the standard term. Serfs have no rights, and are not allowed to handle money. Their testimony is inadmissible in any court. Any child born to a serf mother is a serf. (Sex between a male serf and a female Draka is a capital offense for both parties.)
At first serfs are all African blacks, and Draka citizenship is open to all whites although Nordic, Anglo Saxon and Celtic types are especially welcomed. Because Draka expansion is based solely on enslaving conquered peoples, they soon have serfs from other races, including whites. As Draka social mores diverge more and more from those of free societies (and the Draka are more and more widely hated), they evolve an ideology in which they are "The Race" — the natural overlords of all humanity. Those non-Draka not already enslaved are "feral serfs" who represent a permanent threat to the survival of the Draka. Thus the Draka are dedicated to enslaving all humanity, since the only alternative is the extinction of The Race.
Almost all Draka citizens own at least a few slaves. The Draka are heavily outnumbered, meaning that a slave rebellion is a constant threat. In response, the Draka are utterly ruthless in their discipline of serfs. Impalement is the favored Draka method of executing rebellious serfs. Nonetheless, many Draka, especially those who are central characters in the novels, aim to create an idealized, "rural community under a lord" feel on their lands. Most Draka are quite fond of several of their serfs, as a European or American might have a favorite horse. Such an idealistic image is often spoiled, however, when punishment — always severe — has to be enacted. Killing a serf is never a crime, though it is a possible tort when the serf is the property of another Draka.
The citizen Draka army is made up of shock troops, meant to be used as the arm of decision in maneuver warfare. These Citizen troops are, to a man (and woman), superb physical specimens, unbelievably strong with startling muscle definition, astonishing stamina and reactions, and are the equal of several elite enemy soldiers, due to their fanatical and relentless dedication to fitness, physical conditioning, endless combat training and diet. Draka men and women are trained for combat from their infancy. Free Draka troops can be disciplined by superior officers for neglecting to keep their physiques and fitness sharply honed to the highest possible standard, although this would be extremely rare, as poor physical conditioning would be seen as an affront to one's family and reputation. Their physical regimen is expected to be maintained in times of relative peace, as the Draka are almost always on a permanent war footing. For attritional warfare, the Domination uses Janissary slave soldiers, who make up 60% of the Draka army. These troops are also quite formidable, and are probably on a par with regular Alliance combatants, although they are less well armed or equipped than their Draka masters or enemy troops. Draka soldiers neither ask nor give quarter—all captured enemies are killed, permanently enslaved or on very rare occasions used as hostages to trade for serfs and Janissaries captured by the enemy or Citizen troops who for some reason have been unable to take their own lives to avoid capture, perhaps through injury because Draka are never willingly captured alive. Several of the books' characters, however, do pay professional, if not personal, respect from time to time to the bravery, skill and tenacity of enemy troops they encounter, and if the enemy's equipment doesn't always impress, the Draka occasionally acknowledge their good use of it.
In the books, Draka equipment - from tanks to tank-busting aircraft- seems deliberately evocative of late-20th century military equipment, enhancing the otherworldliness and superiority of the Draka in technological as well as purely physical sense. The assault rifles used by Draka citizen-soldiers feature integral bipods and optical sights, while support weaponry includes nerve gas grenades and magazine-fed mortars. Descriptions of the Draka Hond tanks evoke images of modern tanks such as the M1 Abrams. In a similar vein, flashbacks involving some of the older characters reveal that the Draka had a large dirigible air force capable of strategic bombing during the First World War.
From Under the Yoke onwards, Draka equipment takes an even more science-fiction turn. Genetically modified baboon shock troops (containing the DNA of certain species of dogs and humans as well), combat spacecraft and pain-inducing irremovable bracelets for troublesome slaves make appearances. While in The Stone Dogs, the Protracted Struggle is still primarily a Cold War-esque arms race of nuclear capability, modified, genetically-targeted diseases and advanced computer viruses also make an appearance.
Being focused on land conquests, the Domination always had a disproportionately small navy, even through the Eurasian War (World War II). The budget for the coastal patrol and brownwater naval units maintained by the Security Directorate during the Eurasian War was actually greater than the combined budget of the entire bluewater Draka Navy. An attempted amphibious invasion of Spain during the Eurasian War was left stalled at its beachheads, a rare moment in which the Drakas fell short of complete success. After the Eurasian War, however, with increasing reliance upon air power and spaceflight this became an increasingly moot point.
Commanding ranks in Citizen's Force (where free citizens serve)
- Monitor (fire-team leader/Cpl) commanding a Stick of 4
- Decurion (Sergeant) commanding a Lochos (Squad) of 8
- Tetrarch (Lieutenant) commanding a Tetrarchy (Platoon) of 33
- Centurion (Captain) commanding a Century (Company) of 110
- Cohortarch (Major) commanding a Cohort (Battalion) of 500
- Merarch (Colonel) commanding a Merarchy (Regiment) of 1,500
- Chiliarch (Brigadier General) commanding a Chiliarchy (Brigade) of 4,500
- Strategos (Lieutenant General) commanding a Legion (Division) of 13,000
- Arch-Strategos (General of the Army) commanding larger units, at the Corps level
A full-strength legion has about 9,200 citizens and about 3,000 serf auxiliaries, who are unarmed support personnel in noncombatant functions. The Janissary units are commanded by citizen officers and for the serf soldiers use the traditional ranks from Private to Master Sergeant, the highest rank available to subject race personnel.
Culture and ideology
During the 1790s the Draka trade extensively with India (Ceylon is an early conquest), which leads to a fad for Mughal artwork. Some new Draka cities are also given Indian-style names including Diskarapur (Newcastle) and Shahnapur (Maputo). From early in the nineteenth century the Draka develop a craze for Classical Antiquity and draw from it much of their military and political terminology. It is explained that during the early and rapid conquest of Egypt, in 1820 Draka scouts stumbled upon a long lost treasure trove of all the lost works of the Greco-Roman world, which sparked off this fixation. Antiquity provides the Draka with a ready-made model of "colour-blind slavery". The ancient Greeks and Romans saw no problem in enslaving people of the same skin colour as themselves, and even of the same language and culture - though with them, unlike the Draka, the wholesale enslavement of a defeated enemy was the exception rather than the rule, and their slaves could and frequently did gain manumission (see Slavery in antiquity).
Their core population being primarily composed of Loyalists who fled from the American Revolution, and officially being a British colony for many decades, the Draka speak English - but with a very odd accent which it is difficult for non-Draka spies to imitate perfectly. Some attempt is made to transcribed the Draka accent phonetically in the books, though it is stated that these are only rough approximations. It is described as generally sounding like a Southern United States drawl mixed with an undertone of guttural Germanic sounds from Afrikaans - given that the original core population were Loyalist families that fled the American revolution to South Africa, which then received large immigrant waves from the defeated Confederate States of America and losing sides from the 1848 German revolutions in Europe. The Draka enforce their English dialect on subject peoples and gradually outlaw conquered peoples from speaking their native languages. Dozens of major languages across Africa and Eurasia are rendered extinct as a result, along with hundreds of minor ones. Localized accents persist up to a point among certain conquered peoples, i.e. those conquered in the last three generations or so, but their overall goal is to enforce linguistic uniformity.
The Dominion draws substantially from the ideology of Friedrich Nietzsche and similar philosophers and can be viewed as an "Anti-America", in the sense that like the United States, the Draka nation started off as a British settler colony, but evolved along diametrically opposite lines. While the United States had slavery, even slave-holders had to nominally adhere to the American values of liberty and equality, and the contradiction was eventually resolved by the American Civil War. The Draka, on the other hand, view themselves as a master race and unlike the Nazis (who believed that their mere racial heritage made them superior), are keenly aware of the effort they must make to maintain this status; in the manner of ancient Sparta, all Draka citizen children attend sex-segregated boarding schools with an extreme emphasis on military prowess and physical conditioning. While the United States in the 20th century set for itself the goal of equality for all regardless of race, the Draka worked to enslave all non-Draka humans, also regardless of race.
Government and economy
Politically, the Draka state is described as 'aristocratic republic' with a parliamentary system of government. The Archon is the head of state appointed for a 20-year term by a parliament (elected in free and fair elections). Draka citizens have a considerable degree of free speech, but fundamental criticism of the slave system is forbidden. The Draka economy is heavily dominated by cartels known as Combines, with ownership split between the state and the Landholders' League (Citizens can only own the right to use land, not the land itself, which can be confiscated in the event of neglect or misuse). There is also a considerable small-business private sector. The Draka economy is on the gold standard, with the basic unit of currency being the Auric. In the third novel, with gold becoming plentiful due to imports from space, the Draka switch to the Auric reflecting a basket of commodities.
The nineteenth century
The Draka take over Egypt and Ceylon from the French during the Napoleonic Wars, and over the course of the 19th century, the Draka gradually conquer and enslave the entire continent of Africa. The last areas to be conquered were the jungles of the Congo, due to the danger of tropical diseases. Technological development is faster than in our own history, as the Draka put the wealth derived from their vast gold and diamond deposits to effective use by offering large grants to scientists and inventors who settle in their territory and develop new inventions. These include Richard Trevithick, inventor of the steam locomotive, who settles in Virconium (equivalent to our own world's Durban) in 1796, R. J. Gatling, who settles in Diskarapur in 1850, and Louis Pasteur, who discovers malaria's mosquito vector in the 1860s while working for the Shahnapur Institute of Tropical Medicine.
The United States is also much more expansionistic than in our own timeline – it annexes Canada after the War of 1812 (a conquest presumably made easier in this timeline by the absence of Loyalist American settlers to enlarge the Canadian population) and Mexico after the Mexican–American War (since, it is implied, the addition of numerous Northern, Free-Soil states following the conquest of Canada strengthened Southern demands for a reciprocal campaign to increase the number of slave-holding states with representation in Congress). William Walker's Southern adventurers conquer Central America; while Cuba, Hispaniola, Hawaii, and the Philippines are annexed in 1854.
During the American Civil War, the Draka supply massive amounts of aid to the Confederacy, including steam-powered armored cars. However, the Union still wins the Civil War (with the help of large numbers of Mexican conscripts), and annexes Walker's Central American empire. Cuba, Hispaniola, Hawaii, and the Philippines are granted statehood in 1898, with the Central American territories following later. The United States eventually has 62 states in total.
The Empire of Brazil seizes control of Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and the Guyanas in the 1870s, the same decade which sees the United Kingdom uniting Australia and New Zealand as the Dominion of Australasia. In addition, the Republic of Gran Colombia never breaks up into the nations of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador, as in our world. This exemplifies the trend in the series of fewer and fewer nations achieving sovereign independent status.
In China, the Taiping Rebellion is successful, resulting in a China which is even more incapable of successful modernization than in our own history. The Japanese victory in the First Sino-Japanese War (which in the Draka timeline occurs in 1899) is even more decisive, with Japan not only annexing Formosa, but also Korea, Hainan, and several Chinese coastal cities. After victory in the 1905 Russo-Japanese War, Japan annexes Manchuria and establishes a protectorate over the weak Taiping Dynasty.
The Great War (World War I) and its aftermath
The Dominion of Draka joins the Allied side in the Great War, and conquers the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. It subsequently declares its independence from United Kingdom and renames itself the Domination of the Draka.
The Domination of Draka then takes advantage of the Russian Civil War and seizes the rest of the Middle East, much of Central Asia, and China west of Xian and Wuhan. Up to 500,000 Janissaries die in pacification campaigns during this time in the Domination's new territories. Sixty-five percent of the population of Afghanistan is exterminated in retaliation for the fierce resistance of that nation's "Badmash" rebels. In 1921 the Empire of Japan deposes the Taiping Emperor and annexes all Chinese territory not in Draka hands. After the death of Vladimir Lenin, a second civil war further weakened the Soviet Union, which is won by a faction led by Joseph Stalin—who subsequently orders a "hermit kingdom" (isolationist) policy.
Draka development of world domination ideology
Under the influence of Draka philosophers such as Elvira Naldorssen, the traditional Draka white-supremacism is replaced by Draka-supremacism, with the Draka viewing all of non-Drakan humanity as their cattle. Elvira explains the ideology of the Domination, the utter amorality of which will lead enemies of the Draka to refer to them as 'Snakes':
- ...so the Draka are not different from other peoples because they violate the Golden Rule or Bentham's derivative idolatry 'the greatest good for the greatest number'. Everyone does. We do not violate them, we reject them.
- Others have conquered and ruled; we alone conquer for conquest's sake and Dominate for no other purpose than Domination itself; the name we half-consciously chose for our state is no accident. We and we alone have spoken aloud the Great Secret; that the root function of all human society is the production and reproduction of power—and that power is the ability to compel others to do your will against theirs. It is end, not means. The purpose of Power is Power.
- The Draka will conquer the world for two reasons; because we must and because we can. And yet of the two forces the second is the greater; we do this because we choose to do it. By the sovereign Will and force of arms the Draka will rule the Earth, and in so doing remake themselves. We shall conquer and beat the Nations of the Earth into the dust and reforge them in our self wrought Image; the Final Society without weakness or mercy, hard and pure. Our descendants will walk the hillside of that future, innocent beneath the stars, with no more between them and their naked will than a wolf has. THEN there will be Gods in the Earth.
The Eurasian War
The first book of the series Marching Through Georgia is a war story set during the Eurasian War, the Domination timeline's equivalent of World War II. In this war, the Nazis utterly crushed the Soviet Union, with only a Siberian rump state beyond the Urals surviving under a junta led by Marshal Timoshenko. The Nazi success derives from the Soviets suffering two recent, devastating civil wars, and needing to defend a long southern border with the Domination. Additionally, the Lend-Lease between the United States and the Soviets was rendered ineffective by Nazi U-boats effecting a powerful blockade in the Atlantic, Japanese naval hegemony in the Pacific, and the Domination's refusal to allow lend-lease supplies through its territory.
The Domination entered the war just before the Nazi invasion of Russia and conquered Italy with the Nazis' tacit consent. The Draka then attacked the Third Reich in the Caucasus region, attempting to cut off a large part of the German army.
The German Wehrmacht is somewhat more advanced than historically, with a fully mechanized supply train. The Waffen-SS units facing the Draka Citizen Airborne unit the novel centers around are also in possession of numerous 'hybrid' armoured vehicles made from German and captured Soviet parts, but they are still no match for the Draka army. The Draka citizen soldiers, female as well as male, are honed killing machines, each equal to several of their enemy on the battlefield. The Draka also have superb weaponry, including 14,000 Hond III tanks with armor, engine size and gun caliber approaching those of modern MBTs, and powerful air force which includes high-performance single and twin piston engine fighters, airborne early warning systems mounted on dirigibles and a twin-engine armored ground attack aircraft. By 1944, all sides are widely using nerve gas, jet- and rocket-powered fighter aircraft and ballistic missiles.
The United States is forced into the war when the entire Pacific Fleet is wiped out at Pearl Harbor. Japanese forces occupy the U.S. states of Hawaii, the Philippines and the Panama Canal Zone. Additionally, Japan occupies northern Australia, raids California, and the Imperial Japanese Navy shells Acapulco. Consequently, the United States cannot open a second front in Europe. Alliance with the Nazis against the Draka is also impossible, due to the influence of the Jewish lobby and a Draka threat to supply Japan with nuclear weapons-related materials in the event of U.S.-German peace.
In 1943, the Alliance for Democracy is formed—comprising the military alliance, free trade area and monetary union. This Alliance includes the Americas, the United Kingdom, India and unoccupied Australia. The United States turned the tide against Japan with victory in the Battle of the Sea of Cortez, in which jet fighter-bombers armed with guided bombs played a crucial role. Hawaii was liberated in late 1943, and half of the surviving Imperial Japanese Navy was destroyed in a nuclear cruise missile attack on the Truk naval base. In late 1944, Tokyo was destroyed by a nuclear cruise missile—killing over 150,000 people including the Imperial Family. A fanatical military government takes over Japan. The Draka overrun Europe as far as the Pyrenees, with the decisive blow made with five atomic bombs against the industrial areas of the Ruhr. Adolf Hitler himself, it is revealed in later flashbacks, was assassinated by a cadre of generals in 1942. Without his meddling, the German Wehrmacht puts up much more stubborn and effective resistance than it did historically against the Soviet Union, but the memory of Hitler means that the rest of Europe is loath to unite behind the Germans to halt the Draka. Numerous Draka characters credit Hitler's memory as a key factor in ensuring Draka victory in Europe.
In 1945, the Draka completed its conquest of Europe by using its remaining stockpile of 12 atomic bombs to force the Pyrenees—finally defeating a communist Spain (following a different outcome to reality's Spanish Civil War). The United Kingdom remained free and was inundated with refugees. The Draka then turned its attention to the Far East, attacking Japanese-occupied China. Despite the rapid Draka conquest of Eastern China and Korea, the loss of the remaining Japanese naval units in the Battle of the Philippines, the nuclear destruction of Osaka, and the Alliance invasion of Kyushu, Japan continues a bitter resistance, only surrendering to the Alliance in July in fear of a Draka invasion of the Home Islands.
The Eurasian War claimed some 200 million lives, over three times the death toll of our own World War II. The liberated South-East Asian Federation and Indochinese Republic become members of the Alliance for Democracy, as does a reconstructed Japan in 1954. The United Kingdom - minus the Channel Islands - is the only remaining free nation left in Europe, and is heavily defended and fortified against potential Draka attack. The Domination and the Alliance thus control the entire world between them.
Europe under Draka rule
The second book, Under the Yoke, shows Europe under Draka rule. The Draka ruthlessly crush all resistance in Europe. European institutions are remorselessly removed, obliterated, and forbidden, although religions, albeit heavily modified by the Draka overlords, are tolerated as means of further controlling the enserfed population. Schools, universities and all seats of learning are similarly eradicated. Any serfs caught in possession of radios or literature are summarily executed. Languages are encouraged to die out, except for a few remaining mutually unintelligible local dialects, and are replaced amongst serfs by the slurred Drakan version of English. Finland is almost completely depopulated and, in 1952, when a rebellion takes over the city of Barcelona, the Draka respond with a thermonuclear bomb. Under the Yoke contains a deliberately horrific description of the impalement of several French Maquis guerrilla soldiers, disgusting even the Draka who ordered it, who nevertheless considers it a necessary means of impressing upon the slaves that resistance is futile. Thus, they will obey more willingly, making it possible for the Draka to be less harsh, giving rise to even further willingness to obey. The Draka have been slavemasters for two hundred years, and have applied modern science to the problem of breaking human wills; they are extremely good at it. Indeed, this feeds further into their ideology of the Draka as a master race, with individuals capable of enforcing their will over many serfs with no other tool than raw willpower.
In this book, mention is made, from both the conquered peoples and the Draka themselves, of the Western Allies refusal to join forces with Nazi Germany, even though Adolf Hitler was dead by late 1942 (officially by heart attack, but in reality assassinated by German Military Intelligence), to fight the Draka once the full horror of the Drakan onslaught's threat to European civilisation is apparent. Widespread disgust and revulsion at Germany's genocidal policies towards political, ideological and racial enemies, and utter hatred by former occupied countries are cited as the cause of this reluctance even though the Draka treatment to defeated enemies is, by that stage, universally known. Both Nazi Germany and the Allies foolishly thought they could defeat the Draka without uniting.
The protracted struggle
The third book, The Stone Dogs, tells the story of the Protracted Struggle—the Cold War between the Domination of the Draka and the Alliance for Democracy. There is a far more intense space race in this world, with nuclear pulse-drive interplanetary spaceships and colonies and military bases established on the Moon, on Mars and in the asteroid belt. Over a period of several decades, the Alliance secretly constructs an antimatter-driven starship for transporting 100,000 people to Alpha Centauri in the event of a Draka victory. The Draka employ the policy of "No peace beyond Luna," leading to frequent skirmishes in the inner solar system. It is not unknown, although extremely rare, for people from the Domination to defect to the Alliance. Citizens primarily seek asylum due to personal convictions, while serfs simply want to escape their bondage. Any citizen or serf caught attempting to defect would be summarily executed, though the serf would no doubt meet a more hideous death - probably by impalement or breaking on the wheel. These defectors prove valuable to the OSS because of the unique opportunity it offers regarding gathering vital information on Drakan society, the Drakan dialect, which is notoriously difficult to acquire and master, and the Drakan fighting style which is unmatched anywhere in the Alliance.
The conquest of India
In the 1970s, there is a major setback for the Free World. An OSS covert operation, designed to discredit a Hindu nationalist party and keep India in the Alliance, backfires as a suicide note is found implicating the OSS in the scandal. As a result India secedes from the Alliance—and is conquered and enslaved by the Draka within weeks (except Burma, which counter-seceded back to the Alliance). After the 'Indian Incident' the Alliance for Democracy is formally converted into a single superstate.
The much larger free population of the Alliance gives it an edge in physics and computer technology, while the Domination gains the upper hand in the biological sciences allowing them to perfect their genetic engineering techniques by using their slave population as test subjects. They finish the Human Genome Project and are performing significant genetic alteration on mammalian organisms, including humans, by the mid-1970s. Both sides develop super-weapons with which to launch the first strike of the inevitable final war. However, both sides recognize that the long-term trends are in the Alliance's favor. Due to its much larger economy and free population the Alliance's lead in overall scientific progress slowly grows, with the stagnant Draka increasingly dependent on espionage and Alliance defectors for new innovations.
The war finally breaks out in 1998 when the Draka, about to lose the secrecy of their superweapon, decide to use it preemptively instead. Draka advantages in bioscience allowed it to create a bio-psychological virus, "The Stone Dogs". This virus lies dormant but causes the host to go violently insane when activated by precisely modulated very long wavelength radio waves. The Alliance counterpart, a computer virus designed to trigger self-destruct mechanisms in Draka military units that go to war footing, works well but is not as effective at disabling the enemy command and control or crippling their space forces.
Due to the Stone Dogs virus, Draka forces ultimately succeed—if barely—in wiping out all significant Alliance populations and military forces in the Earth-Luna sphere. In the process, they lose 15 percent of the Citizen population and 22 percent of the serf population—300 million total. The Alliance, though suffering 400 million casualties and losing its Ceres command center, wins in trans-Lunar space, including the Belt. A truce is declared, allowing the Alliance remnants in the Belt to launch the starship, while giving other Alliance remnants in space limited Draka citizenship (the new Draka will not be able to vote, though their children will be). The war itself proves to be devastating to Earth. Though the Solar System belongs to the Draka, the planet's ecosystems were pushed nearly to the breaking point. The war causes a nuclear winter lasting for several years, a climatic disturbance so severe that ice forms in the Adriatic Sea, despite most nukes being 'clean' fusion weapons and Archon Eric von Shrakenberg, in an effort to limit damage to the planet, ordering no more nuclear weapons used within the atmosphere after a certain point in the conflict.
Near-extinction of "Homo sapiens" on Earth
At some intervening period, before the next book in the series, the Draka produce a genetically altered new serf race, Homo servus, which is incapable of rebelling. This is accomplished by making servus vulnerable to dominance and sexual arousal pheromones, as well as changing their genetic temperaments toward the emotional and nonaggressive. Thus they can dispense with the brutal repression needed earlier, and entrust serfs with sensitive positions such as theoretical physics. Because of additional chromosomes added to the drakensis genome, drakensis and servus cannot interbreed, precluding any "half breed" versions of the drakensis "Master Race."
A 'paravirus' is mentioned as the method of converting Homo sapiens serfs to Homo servus, the sex cells being transformed with the result that infected human parents give birth to servus children. However, it is not clear that this advanced method was the one used for the initial changes to human serfs in the early 21st century.
Of Homo sapiens, only a few scattered "feral humans" survive precariously on Earth, mainly in North America, having been quite literally bombed back into the Stone Age, nearly wiped out with "biobombs," and being hunted "for sport" by the Draka. The Pygmies of Central Africa are also allowed to survive on special lands reserved for their use.
The struggle continues
Drakon takes place in an alternate universe version of our 1995-2000. It begins in the year 2442 (aka 442 FS, or the 442nd Year of the Final Society) of the Draka history. The Domination is pitted against the post-American world of Samothrace in the Alpha Centauri system, which is a colony of Alliance refugees from the Final War. A failed experiment intended to research wormholes (called "moleholes") for FTL travel causes a single Drakensis (the genetically-engineered posthuman species of Draka), Gwendolyn Ingolfsson, to be sent to the 1995 of an alternate universe very similar to our own. The only notable difference is that Kenneth Branagh played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel, (though his casting occurs after Ingolfsson's incursion in 1995, indicating that the introduction of "holo-projectors" by IngolfTech might have attracted a higher-quality lead in the 1999 film of our universe). The Samothracians send one of their own agents, cyborg soldier Kenneth Lafarge, to stop her. Lefarge arrives in the alternate 1998, due to the crude nature of the time travel technology. Both Lefarge and Ingolfsson create organizations of native humans to aid their fight against each other, Lefarge's team being led by NYPD Detective Henry Caramaggio.
Both Lefarge and Ingolfsson are killed in an epic battle in New York City when the Drakensis attempts to activate a beacon to allow the Draka scientists of 445 FS (several years having elapsed) to lock a transit wormhole to the alternate 1996. In the time between 2442 and 2445 in the Domination's home timeline, the Samothracians attack the Domination's Earth via a series of wormholes laid between Alpha Centauri and Sol. These attacks ultimately did not succeed, however, the Draka barely managed to beat back the assault. The Alliance colony on Samothrace still enjoyed the societal advantages its faction had during the original Protracted Struggle, i.e. that as a free society their rate of scientific progress and discovery is much faster than the stagnant, totalitarian slave-masters of the Draka. Given four centuries, the scant 100,000 colonists on Samothrace were able to establish a new industrial base on a virgin planet and design better weapons than the Draka, to the point that their assault - first assault - nearly succeeded in taking back Earth.
Thanks to perfectly faked documents provided by Lefarge, Ingolfsson's estates, laboratories and archives of advanced technologies fall into Caramaggio's hands, who according to the frame story of The Domination becomes "the richest man in the world" within twenty years. Caramaggio releases Ingolfsson's technologies at a rapid rate, attempting to prepare his Earth for another Draka attack. Since, unknown to Caramaggio, Ingofsson transferred her knowledge into her infant daughter, the struggle will no doubt resume at some point.
The series has been criticized on various places on the internet for giving the Draka an impossibly fast-spreading and technologically advancing society, as well as for assuming that the British would have tolerated the Draka's harsh slavery tactics. When asked about these attacks on the implausibility of the series in an interview, Stirling answered:
There’s a small internet industry of ‘proving’ that the Domination couldn’t happen. I consider this a complement [sic]. How many people go on at great length trying to prove that vampires and werewolves don’t exist?
Stirling's use of the Draka as point-of-view characters has led to accusations that he has some sympathy with them (for example, in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction), to his dismay. He describes the Draka series as dystopias based on "suppos[ing that] everything had turned out as badly as possible, these last few centuries." The title page of his non-Draka novel Conquistador has the quotation "There is a technical term for someone who confuses the opinions of a character in a book with those of the author. That term is 'idiot'."