How To Read The Compact Universe

The Compact Universe

So you’re wondering how to read the series. I do have a handy page for that, but let’s lay it out here…

No Marigolds in the Promised LandBefore anything happens, there’s No Marigolds in the Promised Land. John Farno is a terraformer who was camping out in a rover the night the Gelt destroy Farigha, the first planet they invade. Only they leave the Mars-like world in ruins and wait almost a month to return. Meanwhile, Farno has to figure out how to survive when he’s literally the last human in the world, and the nearest human is 40 light years away.

Consider this Compact Universe #0. And it’s only available with a newsletter subscription.

“But what if I need another author newsletter like I need a hole in the head?”

Fear not. Because you can start with the Seeds of War Arc:

The Roots of War – Find out how it all began. From the Gelt’s point of view. Kai and Tishla run a colony of transported prisoners, but the climate destroys all their crops. Enter a mysterious man named Marq who comes bearing a root vegetable called a “potato.” Marq’s gift saves the colony for a while.

When potatoes fail, Marq and his Gelt associate Laral Jorl have a plan: Seems Marq’s species has two wayward colonies they’d like tamed. If Kai can tame them, he can have them. Kai agrees, only to learned this aliens called “hew-mans” aren’t rogue colonists. They’re the rightful land owners. Someone wants Kai’s Realm to go to war with a mysterious polity known as “The Compact.”

The Marilynists – Douglas Best has done something no one in the history of Jefivah, humanity’s oldest world outside Sol System, has ever done: Given it its own colonies. One in particular is called Marilyn, after the goddess of a Jefivan cult seeking credibility.

Only while clearing Marilyn of naval ordnance, seven clean fusion devices go missing, along with the ship carrying them. Best is on the hook for them, and the man who brokered the new colonies, the mysterious Mr. Luxhomme, is nowhere to be found. It’s only the cult to Marilyn Monroe who can save him from prison. But first, he has to agree to become their Prophet.

Gimme Shelter – JT Austin is the son of an admiral and a wealthy shipping heiress. And they’ve had enough with his running off, stealing money, and convincing women he’s much older than his fifteen years. So when they decide to send him to the venerable Virginia Military Institute, he runs away, hoping to make his fortune on Tian, the Compact’s wealthiest and most populated world. Instead, he winds up on Amargosa, under the suspicion of a local constable and warlord wannabe, in the eyes of a lusty farmer’s daughter…

And in the crosshairs of a coming alien invasion.
The Children of Amargosa

The Children of Amargosa – Childhood ends the night the sky explodes.

The Gelt have arrived on Amargosa, incinerating any human they find. JT Austin and Davra Andraste find themselves on separate journeys to find the resistance and take back the planet. Andraste will endure a nuclear blast, crawling through a tunnel, and fighting both Gelt and human alike to survive. JT and his girlfriend Lizzy find themselves drafted as soldiers into the resistance.

They meet up under the guidance of a legendary pilot most people know only as Suicide. It is fighting at along with Suicide that they discover the Gelt aren’t their biggest enemy. It’s actually a human warlord named Kray.


Broken Skies – Days after Amargosa falls, Admiral Quentin Austin leads an attack to take back the distant colony. It fails.

As he awaits trial, he’s assigned to find out about a mysterious company whose own parent company seems in the dark about. Called Juno, it was on Farigha before the Martian terraforming project was destroyed. It was on a colony called Gilead that is now not only in Gelt hands, but seems to have left the Gelt Realm as well. And Juno was on Amargosa in the weeks leading up to its fall.

Austin will travel from Earth to the wealthy Caliphate to the industrial hellscape that is Bromdar to find the truth. Eventually, it leads to the colony of Anacreon, where the Gelt tell him who the real enemy is.

Warped – Hideki Okada and Peter Lancaster have created warp drive only 500 years after Miguel Alcubierre said it was possible. Then they quit the Navy. But Okada finds himself drafted back to duty, as does his diminutive friend Lancaster. Together, they take the Compact’s first warp-powered warship, the Challenger, into combat.

Only the mission is something Okada just can’t live with. Especially having been born in Nagasaki. Even his Cybercommand overseer, O-3 Weiss, is suspicious. So do they carry out their mission of destruction? Or is something else going on?

Tishla – Kai’s widow Tishla accepts responsibility for the destruction of the world once known as GIlead. Now called Hanar, she uses her newly legitimized claim to offer the human survivors a choice: Build a new world with her and her people or, if they can’t accept that, kill her.

The humans take to the former concubine and begin the work of rebuilding. Only someone decides to shoot Tishla. And she’s not even the target.

Her unborn twins, upon whom her claim depends, are marked for murder.

Hell hath no fury like a mother on the warpath.

Second WaveSecond Wave – Book 2 of the Amargosa Trilogy

A fallen starship can turn the tide on Amargosa.

JT, Davra, Eric Yuwono, Connor Duffy, and Ellie Nardino accompany Suicide on a cross-country trek to reach a crashed starship, the Ban Ki-moon.

But they are menaced by Gelt soldiers, occasional Kray militia, and a pack of lycanths, wolf-like predators known for devouring livestock. Only these lycanths seem to be smarter than the usual scavengers.

Within their ranks, however, a greater danger lurks. Part of Suicide’s team includes five former Polygamy War criminals. For some, the old civil conflict never ended even if the cause is dead.

And a mysterious Gelt woman complicates things when JT takes her prisoner.

Coming in 2020: The Gathering Storm Arc: The AmortalsThe ExileFlight Blade, as well as Book 3 of the Amargosa Trilogy, Storming Amargosa.