In this book, an alien race has conquered Earth. Key to this alien species is that their language is highly gestural but combined with speech. The aliens resemble a tall, seal-like race, who love water and to swim and bathe. The aliens are also formed in clans, highly militaristic in character, which vie with each other for power and governance.

In the novel, the aliens along with humanity, come together to face off against a third alien species that is highly incoherent and baffling to both, and which threaten Earth's very existence.

Submarines are used creatively, retrofitted using human ingenuity and alien technology to form a fleet in space, to face off against the third alien species.

The novel ends with humans triumphing with the alien conquerors' help and forming a new paradigm and partnership with them where both are equal partners.

Does anyone have any idea what book this is, and by what author?

  • Do they form a three-way partnership at the end? Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 7:13
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    @Albert Arevalo - If anyone correctly identifies the book you're looking for, you can mark that answer as accepted by clicking on the check mark beneath the voting buttons, as per the tour. Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


The Course of Empire (2003) by Eric Flint and K.D. Wentworth...? It was the first book in the Jao trilogy.

The Goodreads synopsis notes that Earth had been conquered by the Jao twenty years earlier, and that both humans and Jao were now under threat from a third race, the Ekhat:


Conquered by the Jao twenty years ago, the Earth is shackled under alien tyranny--and threatened by the even more dangerous Ekhat, who are sending a genocidal extermination fleet to the solar system. Humanity's only chance rests with an unusual pair of allies: a young Jao prince, newly arrived to Terra to assume his duties, and a young human woman brought up amongst the Jao occupiers.

But both are under pressure from the opposing forces--a cruel Jao viceroy on one side, determined to drown all opposition in blood; a reckless human resistance on the other, perfectly prepared to shed it. Added to the mix is the fact that only by adopting some portions of human technology and using human sepoy troops can the haughty Jao hope to defeat the oncoming Ekhat attack--and then only by fighting the battle within the Sun itself.

The Goodreads synopsis for the second book, The Crucible of Empire (2010), notes that the humans and Jao joined forces to defeat the Ekhat, and that their relationship was forever altered as a result of that alliance:

When humans and their Jao overlords joined forces in a desperate battle to save the Earth from the malevolent race called the Ekhat, the relationship between the two species was changed forever. Two years later, humans and Jao are learning to work together in an uneasy alliance.

Searching the Google Books preview for the first book brings up multiple hits for the terms "seal", "clan", and "submarine", including the follow sentence about Earth's fleet of submarines being refitted:

Cables snaked across the concrete floor and up into the sleek ships as the race to refit Earth's fleet of submarines went on.

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    There is a third book in the series, The Span of Empire, which gives more insight into the Ekhat, and introduces another alien race; this was completed by Eric Flint and David Carrico after K. D. Wentworth's death. I had hopes that the series would continue, but Mr Carrico has other authorial commitments, and Mr Flint is no longer with us to guide another co-author. Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 18:28

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