by David Weber & John Ringo
The Hard Way
Roger Ramius Sergei Alexander Chiang McClintock hasn't done anything the easy way.
The spoiled playboy prince grew up the hard way on the planet Marduk. Watching ninety percent of your bodyguards - bodyguards who have become friends, closer to you than your own brothers and sisters - die to keep you alive will do that. And it tends to make you dangerous . . . perhaps in too many ways.
Now he's coming home, but home isn't what it was when he left. Traitors have murdered his brother and sister, his nieces and nephews. His mother, the Empress, is still alive, but in the hands of Roger's own biological father, who controls her through drugs and physical and psychological torture. A new heir to the Throne has been conceived, and once the child is born his mother will no longer be necessary to the traitors' plans. Home Fleet, the largest and most powerful of the Empire's fleets is under the traitors' control, and no one in a position of power on Old Earth has the means - or the will - to do anything about it.
And, just to make things perfect, the Empire has been told that the real traitor is Prince Roger Ramius Sergei Alexander Chiang McClintock.
With the twelve survivors of Bravo Company of the Empress' Own, a few hundred three-meter tall Mardukans, his one-time tutor and present chief of staff, an elephant-sized flarta pack beast, his faithful pet Dogzard, and the ghost of his greatest ancestor, Prince Roger must somehow retake the Empire from the men who control it . . . before his new brother is born and his mother dies.
It's an impossible task, but Prince Roger knows all about impossible tasks, and the surviving Bronze Barbarians and the Mardukans of the Basik's Own believe he can do it. They're prepared to storm the gates of Hell itself at his heels in order to retake the Empire.
But after they do, can they save it from Prince Roger, as well?