Shine Cycle Précis: The Longest War: Plot

Last month I began my brief introduction to The Longest War, the planned eleventh book in the “main line” of the Shine Cycle. Today that précis continues with a brief overview of the plot.

The first part of the story is a period of several decades of “uneasy peace” between the Shine and Wild Empire and its allies and the Dragon Empire and its allies. Midway through this period, soon after the invention of a “spider-bombardier” that made the “spider-ship” more than a merely logistical advantage, the alliance headed by the Shine and Wild Empire found it necessary to declare “Prohibition”—that it would consider certain “shows of strength” or other actions to be acts of war—and back it up by openly placing spider-bombardiers and other units around the space station that held the opposing alliance’s headquarters. This policy was challenged three times, in what were later called the three “Prohibition Confrontations,” with the last sparking full war.

The war began with the removal of that space station to parts unknown, and a siege of an underground fortress on a nearby planet. But after that, it quickly grew to encompass several frontiers: first a couple of worlds in the New Roman Empire (more about which early next year, I hope), then Oceanus, Newfoundworld, and Greyhawk, all of which had seen fighting in previous wars.

At that point, on one front the war went badly enough that siege was laid to the headquarters of what my notes still call the APOGAL itself, but in what became called “the Battle of Lightning” the tide quickly turned and the enemy was driven back to their own headquarters, where their leader, Tashere’s protégé, Gondolor (of whom a profile early next year, I hope), was captured and imprisoned for a while.

But he escaped and made his way to our world. In a series of campaigns on our world and nearby worlds, he repeatedly tried to conquer our world or establish a strong enough base to lay a proper siege, again and again escaping imprisonment. (Those engagements will be told in more detail in the “Game of Life” and “High Powers” sub-series, about which I’ll explain in the next “précis” after The Longest War.) Eventually, however, the resources available to him and his forces are exhausted, and relations return to an uneasy state of peace.

In the conclusion of this “brief introduction” next month, I’ll describe how the principal characters fit into this, and some of what I hope to do beyond merely describing events.

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