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Shadows of the Apt Books in Order: How to read Adrian Tchaikovsky’s series?

  • Carole 
Shadows of the Apt Books in Order

Last Updated 5 months ago.A series where epic fantasy meets steampunk, science, and so much more.

What is Shadows of the Apt about?

Written by British fantasy and science fiction author Adrian Tchaikovsky, Shadows of The Apt takes place in a nameless fictional world. This universe is populated by different “kinden”. Each kinden is a fictional race of humans, named after (and having certain characteristics of) an insect. Kinden are typically divided into two categories: “Apt” and “Inapt”.

The Apt do not have magical abilities, but are able to understand, use and design mechanical devices. The Inapt have varying amounts of magical abilities, but cannot use mechanical devices, even those as simple as latches. The series focuses on the attempted conquest of the Lowlands by the Wasp-kinden empire.

Shadows of the Apt Books in Order:

Empire in Black and Gold Shadows of the Apt Books in Order Dragonfly Falling Shadows of the Apt Books in Order Blood of the Mantis Shadows of the Apt Books in Order Salute the Dark Shadows of the Apt Books in Order

  1. Empire in Black and Gold – The city states of the Lowlands have lived in peace and prosperity for decades. That peace is about to end. In far-off corners, an ancient Empire has been conquering city after city with its highly trained armies and sophisticated warmaking. Only the ageing Stenwold Maker, spymaster, artificer and statesman, can see the threat. It falls upon his shoulders to open the eyes of his people. But first he must stop himself from becoming the Empire’s latest victim.
  2. Dragonfly Falling – The armies of the Wasp Empire are on the march, and first to feel their might will be the city of Tark, which is even now preparing for siege. Within its walls Salma and Totho must weather the storm, as the Ant-kinden take a stand – against numbers and weaponry such as the Lowlands have never seen. While the Empire’s troops are laying waste to all in their way, the young Emperor himself is treading a different path. His thoughts are on darker things than mere conquest, and if he attains his goal he will precipitate a reign of blood that will last a thousand years.
  3. Blood of the Mantis – Driven by the ghosts of the legendary Darakyon, the seer Achaeos has tracked the stolen Shadow Box to the marsh-town of Jerez – but he has only days before this magical artefact will be lost to him forever. And should the Shadow Box fall into the hands of the power-mad Emperor, then nothing will save the world from his relentless ambition.
  4. Salute the Dark – The vampiric sorcerer Uctebri has at last got his hands on the Shadow Box and can finally begin his dark ritual – a ritual that the Wasp-kinden Emperor believes will grant him immortality. But Uctebri has his own plans both for the Emperor and the Empire. The massed Wasp armies are on the march, and the spymaster Stenwold must see which of his allies will stand now that the war has finally arrived. This time the Empire will not stop until a black and gold flag waves over Stenwold’s own home city of Collegium.

The Scarab Path Shadows of the Apt Books in Order The Sea Watch Shadows of the Apt Books in Order Heirs of the Blade Shadows of the Apt Books in Order The Air War Shadows of the Apt Books in Order

  1. The Scarab Path – The war with the Wasp Empire has ended in a bitter stalemate, and Collegium has nothing to show for it but wounded veterans. The Empress Seda is regaining control over those imperial cities that refused to bow the knee to her, but she draws her power from something more sinister than mere armies and war machines. Only her consort, the former spymaster Thalric, knows the truth. Then out beyond the desert of the Nem, the ancient city of Khanaphes awaits them both, with a terrible secret entombed beneath its stones.
  2. The Sea Watch – Despite the tenuous peace, Stenwold Maker knows that the Empire will return for his city, Collegium. As Stenwold faces betrayal on every side, the Empire is just waiting for the first sign of weakness to strike. But they are not the only power that has its eyes on Collegium. And even with all their military strength and technology, they may not be powerful enough to stave off the forces massing in the darkness.
  3. Heirs of the Blade – Tynisa is running, but she cannot escape the demons of her own mind. Amidst the fragmenting provinces of the Dragonfly Commonweal her past will at last catch up with her. Her father’s ghost is hunting her down. At the same time, the Empress, Seda is on the move, and her eyes are on the city of Khanaphes, the fallen jewel of the ancient world.
  4. The Air War – All is in turmoil as the world moves towards war. In the heart of the Empire, new pilots have completed their secretive training, generals are being recalled to service and armies are ready to march. Their Empress, the heir to two worlds, intends to claim her birthright. And nothing – either within the Empire or beyond it – will stand in her way.

War Master's Gate Shadows of the Apt Books in Order Seal of the Worm Shadows of the Apt Books in Order

  1. War Master’s Gate – Relentlessly advancing towards Collegium, the Empire is again seeking to break down the city’s walls. The mighty imperial armies have learnt from their failures, and Empress Seda will brook no weakness in her soldiers. Yet the campaign may be decided far from marching armies and the noise of battle. In an ancient forest, where Mantis clans pursue their own civil war, the Empress Seda is seeking a lost power of the old world. Cheerwell Maker must stop her, at any cost, but will their rivalry awaken something far deadlier?
  2. Seal of the Worm – With her chief rival cast into the abyss, Empress Seda now faces the truth of what she has cost the world in order to win the war. The Seal has been shattered, and the Worm stirs towards the light for the first time in a thousand years. Faced with destruction, Seda knows that only the most extreme of solutions can lock the Worm back in the dark once again. But if she will go to such appalling lengths to save the world from the Worm, then who will save the world from her?

Tales of the Apt, The Companion Series :

Tales of the Apt is a companion series of short stories set in the same world. It is advised to have read the main series first.

Spoils of War Tales of the Apt Shadows of the Apt Books in Order A Time For Grief Tales of the Apt Shadows of the Apt Books in Order For Love of Distant Shores Tales of the Apt Shadows of the Apt Books in Order The Scent of Tears Tales of the Apt Shadows of the Apt Books in Order

  1. Spoils of War – First book in this companion series comprised of short stories from disparate places and a wealth of new tales written especially for the series. Together, they combine to provide a different perspective, an alternative history that parallels and unfolds alongside the familiar one, filling in the gaps and revealing intriguing backstories for many established characters.
  2. A Time for Grief – A new collection of stories that shed fresh light on the dangerous and complex world of the insect-kinden, including three that are previously unpublished.
  3. For Love of Distant Shores – Four thrilling adventures, three of which are original to this book and have never been told before. Features the exploits of scientist-cum-adventurer Doctor Ludweg Phinagler, as recorded by his (semi-)faithful assistant, Fosse.
  4. The Scent of Tears – For the first time in print, Adrian Tchaikovsky has opened up the realm of the Apt, as featured in his best-selling Shadow of the Apt decalogy, to a carefully selected cast of fellow writers, inviting them to do their best and their worst within the world he has created.

If you like Shadows of the Apt, you may also want to see our Joe Abercrombie reading order, or our guide to Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.

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