The Compact Universe. The Amargosa Trilogy. What’s the difference? Are they two separate series?
Well, let’s put it this way. All Amargosa novels are Compact Universe, but not all Compact Universe stories are the Amargosa Trilogy. Following me so far?
Good. Because until Storming Amargosa is released next year, all the Compact Universe novellas are tied to the Amargosa Trilogy. I make no promises after that.
Just say to yourself it’s just a show (Well… Should be. Netflix, call me!), I should really just relax. But here now is the suggested reading order for The Compact Universe.
You can read The Amargosa Trilogy by itself. It begins with The Children of Amargosa. JT Austin and Davra Andraste find themselves running across a continent to escape an alien invasion. They meetup with the resistance as they dodge alien berserkers, renegade humans, Amargosa’s wildlife, and even a nuclear blast.
In Second Wave, a fallen starship holds the key to turning the tide against the Gelt occupation. But as Davra, JT, and Suicide race to find the ship, they learn humans aren’t the only ones trying to throw off the invaders. And not every Gelt is their enemy.
If you prefer to read all the Compact Universe stories in order, then…
The Magic Root (Compact Universe #1)
Beware the alien bearing a potato. Kai and Tishla run a Gelt prison planet. Only the planet is an acidic hell that can’t produce enough food to support itself.
Enter Marq, an alien from someplace called The Compact. He comes bearing a potato to solve all their problems. When that fails, he offers a new solution: Interstellar war.
The Marilynists (Compact Universe #2)
Douglas Best has a dilemma. He has cleared three planets of weapons of mass destruction to give his homeworld Jefivah its own colonies. Only seven of them have gone missing. And the mysterious Mr. Luxhomme has left him hanging.
Best must find out where the weapons went. And his only hope is a cult that wants their own homeworld, a place where they can worship their goddess, Marilyn Monroe.
Gimme Shelter (Compact Universe #3)
JT Austin is a spoiled rich kid who wants to escape his gilded cage on Earth. But his attempt to escape to wealthy, bustling Tian results in his being stranded on Amargosa, at the edge of human space. There, he encounters Lucius Kray, a war hero who misses his glory days and wants to start his own militia. JT must avoid Kray’s machinations while watching himself around a smitten farmer’s daughter. None of them know that they are in the crosshairs of an alien invasion.
Gimme Shelter ends with the opening events of The Children of Amargosa. Children ends with the events leading up to…
Broken Skies (Compact Universe #4)
Admiral Quentin Austin attempts to retake Amargosa from the invaders. He fails. The Compact’s leadership wants blood. Austin’s. But while he’s waiting to slip his head into the political noose, he is assigned to investigate the mysterious JunoCorp, which was present just before three colonies, including Amargosa, went silent. The trail leads him from Antarctica to the wealthy Caliphate to the industrial hellscape of Bromdar. While Austin learns the identity of the invading Gelt, he also finds an enemy closer to Earth.
Warped (Compact Universe #5)
True FTL has arrived, powered by sarcasm. Wormholes let humans travel around the galaxy almost instantly. But wormholes are bright and noisey, making them a red flag when trying to surprise an enemy. Peter Lancaster and Hideki Okada have cracked the mystery of an older theory, warp drive. And now the Navy wants them to use it for something they had hoped they’d never see: Combat. Specifically delivering weapons of mass destruction to targets on Gelt worlds. Okada fights Cybercommand and his own service to find out whether the slaughter will be justified.
Tishla (Compact Universe #6)
Tishla, last seen in The Magic Root, finds herself in possession of Hanar, the former human colony of Gilead. Knowing her late husband Kai was tricked into invading, she offers her very life to atone for the slaughter of humans. Instead, the abandoned human and Gelt settlers make her their leader. She may be able to end the conflict between her native Realm and the human Compact. Only someone wants her dead, her and her unborn twins. Soon, revenge not only becomes a matter of honor. It’s a matter of life and death.
Tishla leads directly into the events of Second Wave, Book 2 of the Amargosa Trilogy.
But if you really want to take it to the beginning…
No Marigolds in the Promised Land (Compact Universe #0) (Currently in serial)
John Farno is stranded 40 light years from the nearest living human. One night as he camps out between the domes that sustain life on Barsoom, the world is destroyed by some unknown force. Now Farno must scavenge for supplies and find a way to communicate with the rest of humanity. He also must find out who destroyed Barsoom before the come back to finish him off.
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So, to recap
No Marigolds in the Promised (via newsletter. Optional)
The Magic Root
The Children of Amargosa – The Amargosa Trilogy Book 1
Second Wave – The Amargosa Trilogy Book 2
Or just start with Children, then Second Wave, and go from there.