All the Gods of Eisernon (1973), The Elluvon Gift (1975), The Trumpets of Tagan (1992), Timeslide (1993), Hopeship (1994)
Written under the pen name, Simon Lang, by Darlene Hartman, this series tells the story between Earth and the conquered world of Eisernon.
Like all worlds that are conquered, the ruling members are either killed or incorporated into society. But the story isn't about how the world was conquered, but how the world became to be Earth's greatest ally.
Through political mistakes, friendly fire, and misunderstandings many atrocities are committed. The ruling Han of Eisernon are no more and the only surviving heir, Marik Dao, becomes the second in command to the stellar starship of the Federation, USS Skipjack and under the command of Captain Paul Riker.
With the beginning of All the Gods of Eisernon, the reader witnesses the love-hate relationship between Marik and Riker, and learn of Marik's distrust of his new allies. As a top doctor, or Priyam, in the universe and the destruction of his credentials by his childhood friend, Marik must come to terms with his new status. Soon Marik's true self is revealed and he is labeled a half-caste. I love the explanation given: "I am one of you as well as one of us, Captain. I am the son of Moses, and of Isaac, and of Abraham, the brother of Christ and of Muhammed. Demosthenes was my teacher; I am the pupil of Aristole, the kinsman of Genghis Khan, the victim of Hitler, the follower of Sun-yat-Sen. I am a Han. My mother, Miluae, was the Emperor's only daughter." Between death, intrigue, mysteries, and several plots that tie up neatly in the end, Marik finds his reasoning for living and for serving.
The second book, The Elluvon Gift, picks up with a chance for Marik to redeem himself, not in the eyes of his fellow shipmates, but in his own eyes. After the death of his wife, Mishli, Marik must again prove himself. Riker on the other hand faces not only the very real threat of the Krail, a vicious and bigoted warrior race, but also the threat of internal turmoil within himself and his ship. Through out it all, Riker's and Marik's friendship solidifies.
With the next three books, The Trumpets of Tagan, Timeslide, and Hopeship, it becomes a whirlwind ride as Riker and Marik saves Marik's only child, Misi, the true last heir of the Hans; a battle is fought to preserve the time travel orders of the USS Skipjac; new friends are made, as well as new enemies; old enemies are defeated; and new life is found. Plots and subplots weave an intricate tale, each lending support to the main plot.
The reader will see small indications of a Star Trek influence, but it doesn't overpower. The religion for the Eisernon is Christianity, albeit in their form. The Einai are cat-like people, but their worship of the True One who died on the Pole is an allegory to Christ on the Cross.
This five book series is an epic journey. Character arcs and conflicts enhance the flavor of the read. Page after page brings forth discoveries which lead to more page turning.
These books are a coveted and out-of-print series, but if ever someone finds copies of the story, it is a definite must read. Books that makes a difference, not only to literature, but to the reader. You can't stay the same after reading the journeys of Marik and Riker.