Before getting started, a few words about my history with the series and the way these are going to work. I first read the series in a couple of years 2012 to 2014, including reading the last few books as soon as they came out, and haven’t reread them since. In this reread and analysis, I might read ahead a bit, but mainly I’m going to focus on the content of each chapter as I get to it. As such, whilst I might refer to events further ahead in the series, it does rather rely on me remembering them, so I suspect it will be at a minimum.
That said, I do not consider this a spoiler-free zone. Caveat lector.
I’m going to try to follow this basic structure, at least to begin with: a summary of the chapter, paying special attention to the introduction of new characters, kinden, places and polities; political analysis, which as I go along will hopefully, increasingly, tie the individual chapters into the larger politics of the series; and historical analysis, discussing parallels and references of various kinds, sometimes with a focus on specific topics (like education or food). A regular part of the historical analysis will be a military history corner, on which more below.
All of this is of course subject to change as I go along and continue to figure out what works. Suggestions on things I should talk about or adjustments in format are welcome!
‘You yourself have other means, Sten. You must go back to your college and your clever, machine-fingered people, and have them make ready. Of all of us, you were always the real hope of the future.’ (19)
The Shadows of the Apt series opens in media res, with a battle for the city of Myna, showing the threat of the expanding Wasp Empire. We meet Stenwold and a few other characters who aren’t locals, who make an escape by air as the city falls, with some of them dying on the way.