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I'm trying to remember the name of a series of books (I think it was a trilogy) that I believe originally dates from the late 1980s or early 1990s..

What I can remember of the plot is as follows:

  • Interstellar empire/kingdom setting.
  • Young man is a Hidden King.
  • Young man is not aware of his true heritage at the start of the story.
  • He joins with other "royal" soldiers/fighters who train him.
  • One of the soldiers was a female warrior with a scar?
  • After various adventures, he becomes acknowledged for his role and assumes the kingship of the interstellar realm.
  • There is a secret order bent on demolishing the monarchy.

One of the major elements in the story that I allude to in the title is the use of an energy sword/lightsaber where the hilt "connects" to sockets in the palm of the wielder's hand. I think there were 5 sockets. Usage of the sword slowly drained the energy of the user. I think only "royal" people had the sockets in their hands

I'm not sure of the covers, but I think all books were around 300 - 400 pages in length.

2 Answers 2

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This is the Star of the Guardians series by by Margaret Weis.

The Goodreads synopsis of the first book, The Lost King, mentions a hidden heir to a throne.

As a corrupt Commonwealth rules the galaxy through the might of its armies, its most influential general--a renegade Guardian of the deposed Starfire royal line--pursues the rumor of a hidden heir to the throne and searches for a woman he loves and is destined to destroy.

This review of the first book mentions lightsaber-esque weapons called bloodswords.

It is my understanding that George Lucas did not intend to write hard science fiction, but rather Galacitc Fantasy in Weis’s terms. Another word that has been used to describe Star Wars is “Space Opera.” I think either of these would be suitable descriptions.

Why do I mention Star Wars? As the first few chapters unfolded, I noticed quite a few familiar themes. I detected obvious influences from Star Wars and Dune very early on. For example, the Guardians seemed to be very similar to Jedi. They are an elite group, loyal to protecting their leaders. Their weapon, for example, is the bloodsword. There is selective breeding for the “Blood Royal” kind of like in Dune, however it is combined with genetic research and with a slightly different goal. There are a few others that I won’t mention because I consider them to be spoilers.

I was delighted to discover that these were just loose similarities, because I was starting to worry that this was just a mash-up of other ideas that I have seen before. Rather than searching for the one perfect being, the breeding’s goal is to strengthen the blood line of all that rule the galaxy. The bloodsword, unlike the lightsaber, can only be safely wielded by a Guardian. Using it drains the Guardian’s energy, but also contains a fast acting virus that to which only Guardians are genetically immune.

This extract from a preview of the first book describes the five needles that connect a bloodsword directly to the wielder's palm and bloodstream.

Adrenaline loosened his fingers, moved his shaking hand to the sword. He withdrew the hilt from the scabbard. The plane's interior light shone on the five sharp needles protruding from the side of the handgrip. The darkness outside the plane grew thicker and denser. The needles gleamed.

The lady's words sounded good, but he didn't believe them. She was only offering him an excuse. He only had to drop the sword and he would die -- die a hero.

Angrily, tears welling up in his eyes, Dion jabbed the needles into the palm of his hand. The pain was intense, the virus streamed into his bloodstream, and he cried out, but he held on to the sword tightly.

The maw absorbed him and boomed shut behind him, and all the lights in the universe went out.

"He's done it, my lord," Maigrey said wearily. "He's taken the bloodsword."

And this extract describes the conspicuous and painful scar on the cheek of a female character named Maigrey.

Maigrey's hand touched the scar, the fingers following its line from her cheekbone to her lip. From the pain she felt, she would not have been surprised to see that touch draw blood. She could have masked the scar -- plastiskin could make a human of one hundred appear no older (at least on the surface) than one of twenty. But Maigrey knew that nothing would cover it, nothing would blot it out. Were she to put a metal helmet over her head, the scar would burn through.

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  • The covers show a "Lightsabre" type weapon but is there a quote that covers the palm connection that I'm sure of?
    – Alith
    Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 16:39
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    @Alith, no but I remember that from reading it. In fact, I knew from the title alone of your question that this was what you're looking for; the rest just confirms it. It wasn't "sockets" iirc, it was more like persistent scarring.
    – fectin
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 12:36
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This sounds like The Star of the Guardians (warning, TV Tropes) and their Bloodswords:

Cover of King's Sacrifice

The series starts about 20 years after a college professor and unlikely revolutionary, Peter Robes, led an uprising against the monarchy; the "Blood ," a ruling caste which had been genetically engineered for wisdom, intense charisma and occasional superpowers, were wiped out almost to a man. The lone survivors are a small band of loyalists; the king's nephew, newborn Dion Starfire, whom they managed to escape with; and Warlord Derek Sagan, who helped organize the coup and fought his Star-Crossed Lover Maigrey Morianna to do it. At the beginning of the book, the last of those loyalists, Maigrey's bookish brother Platus, is killed, leaving the now-grown-up Dion to flee with the help of Mendaharin "Tusk" Tusca, halfblood Heroic Bastard son of another of said loyalists. Hunted by now-President Robes and "Citizen-General" Sagan and the People's Republic of Tyranny the new government has become, aided by the rumpled, fatherly General Dixter and enigmatic Not Quite Dead Maigrey, Dion must find a way to come into his birthright and reclaim the throne.

....

Laser Blade: the "bloodsword," which has a number of twists on the formula.

  • It can switch to a shielding function. You control this mentally.
  • It creates a mental connection with its user by injecting Nanomachines into the wielder's bloodstream, which not only connect the sword to the user's mind, not only heighten the user's latent telepathy, but steal the body's ATP to fuel the sword with.
  • If you are not Blood Royal, these nanomachines cause an extremely virulent form of cancer. Death comes in days. If you're lucky.

From The Lost King:

Reaching out his hand, Platus grasped hold of the silver scabbard that lay upon the table, lifted it unsteadily and appeared -- to Dion -- to remove the scabbard's handle. Five needles projected from a short, stubby hilt. Platus, somewhat clumsily and with a wince of pain, pressed his palm over the needles, driving them into his skin. "I will fight ... for my life."

Found via the TV Tropes entry for Laser Blades.

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    Well, not first to post, but I figure it's worth leaving it up there. :-D
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 16:47

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