Fall from Grace

(2007 German novel cover; authoritative 2008 electronic English edition has no cover image)
Product information
Type Novel
Author Chris Hartford
Pages 205
Cover Artwork Swen Papenbrock (German edition)
Publication information
Publisher BattleCorps
First published 15 October – 19 December 2008
Era Star League era
Timeline 9 July 2571 – 9 April 2617

Fall from Grace is a novel by Chris Hartford that was published online on BattleCorps in 2008 as a ten-part serial.

Previously, in April 2007, a German translation of an earlier draft of this novel had been published as part of the line of FanPro Novels, with some differences to the authoritative 2008 version (see In Ungnade below).

Plot summary[edit]

The novel describes Rhean Marik's tragic life, particularly her struggle as Captain-General of the Free Worlds League.

Part 1[edit]

published on 15 October 2008
“It was the dawn of a new era of humanity, the establishment of the first Star League. Through years of preparation and sacrifice, the leaders of the major human powers had come to together under one government. Changes were sweeping throughout known space, bringing unknown challenges to the next generation.”

Rhean Marik (age three) is present at the gala ceremony on Terra celebrating the creation of the Star League. While Albert and Marion Marik discuss the problems of keeping the six member states together in the alliance, Rhean tells Archon Viola Steiner that she wants to be a Warhammer when she grows up.

At age six, Rhean is present on Atreus when Ian Cameron's Pollux Proclamation triggers the Reunification War. While Captain-General Marion Marik is worried by this development, young Rhean only fears that she's too young, and will miss all the fighting.

In her teens, under the assumed name of Frieda Moran, Rhean attends classes at the Princefield Military Academy on Oriente. The heirs of noble families run roughshod over the children of wealthy merchants as the pecking order sorts out, and (being undercover as a merchant scion) Rhean repeatedly clashes with Lambert Allison, grandson of the Duke of Oriente, as she refuses to comport herself as his inferior.

Part 2[edit]

published on 22 October 2008
Part Two takes us through Frieda's journey at Princefield, amid the back drop of the growing Reunification War. Come with us and see if Lambert Allison gets his in the end.

In 2581, while Rhean spends the holidays with friends at a Swiss chalet, she receives news that her uncle David died in a car accident, placing her in the direct line of succession for the Captain-Generalcy of the Free Worlds League. Her father, Brion Marik, decides to allow her to continue to attend Princefield as "Frieda Moran," albeit with a bodyguard, Evangeline Sukhanov.

In 2584, Evangeline rescues Rhean when a drunken Lambert Allison attempts to assault her in the Princefield showers.

In 2586, Rhean gets revenge on Lambert by humiliating him in a pregraduation infantry combat exercise, beating him out for top honors. At the graduation ceremony, her father reveals her true identity.

Part 3[edit]

published on 29 October 2008
Rhean Marik soon discovers that the political landscape of Princefield, was pale imitation of the one she would face in life. And then there was Canopus...

In 2588, Rhean is a newly commissioned Lieutenant in the First Free Worlds Guards. At the controls of a Guillotine, she takes part in the joint Capellan-League task force dispatched to Wisconsin to destroy Shepperton's Freebooters - a renegade Capellan unit that had turned to piracy. When a dispute over the custody of the defeated pirates erupts between Colonel Appleton of the First Guards and Colonel Sheng of Cheng's Chasseurs, Rhean intervenes, playing on her relationship with "Auntie Ursula" to prevent her prisoners from being sent to Sian for execution.

In 2591, Rhean visits her Princefield friend, Madeline, on Terra, where she has just given birth to a son. Recently promoted to Captain, Rhean has been beset with requests for support from new "friends." During the visit, she receives word that her aunt Therese Marik died in a car accident, along with her unborn daughter. Captain-General Marion Marik tells Rhean that the auto-drive computer in Therese's car failed, causing the crash. However, Rhean recalls that Therese distrusted auto-drive systems, and preferred to drive herself. She is disturbed by the implications.

In 2593, Rhean begins an assignment to the staff of Duchess Melissa Humphreys, the Star League governor of the occupied Canopian territories. Other members of Humphreys' staff include chief economist Huw Ragnarsson, and Martin Demianchuk, representing Magestrix-Emeritus Crystalla Centrella. After a brief discussion of the ongoing Reunification War and Star League politics, they are joined by Magestrix-designate Rinalla Centrella, who shocks strait-laced Rhean.

Part 4[edit]

published on 6 November 2008
Being the heir to the Captain-Generalcy is not without its trials and tribulations. Rhean Marik must learn to navigate the inner workings of the Star League now, before she is thrust deep into the fires of running her nation. Fortunately she is a shark at pool.

In 2598, Rhean has returned to her staff officer position on Canopus IV after attending the funeral of Captain-General Marion Marik, which elevated her father, Brion, to the role. Rhean's bodyguard since her Princefield days, Evangeline, has gotten married to a Hegemony Armed Forces officer and is now on maternity leave, so she's been replaced by Annelise Corbin, an SLDF infantry officer of Davion heritage. During an outing with four-year-old Carla Centrella (the Magestrix-designate), Canopian security guards reveal their rebel sympathies and attempt to take Rhean hostage. The attempt is foiled, thanks to Annelise, and Magestrix Rinalla Centrella calls for an end to the insurgency, noting that Canopus has never achieved its goals through violence.

In 2600, Rhean attends a session of the Star League Council, and meets several other Great House leaders: First Lord Ian Cameron; First Prince Alexander Davion and his great-grandson, Zane; Coordinator Leonard Kurita; and Archon Kevin Steiner-Dinesen. Zane, Kevin, Rhean and Rinalla form a "kids clique" and go afterwards to Cavanaugh's - a Unity City bar run by House Cameron, where the Star League elites can go to be themselves. While shooting pool with Kevin, Rhean is introduced to Lydia Petersen-Cameron, and her bodyguard, Tanya Kerensky.

Part 5[edit]

published on 12 November 2008
The Golden Century, a time of the greatest peace and prosperity of the Star League. All was perfect and everyone was at peace... Yeah right, convince Tanya Kerensky of that.

In 2602, First Prince Zane Davion alleges that the Free Worlds League had engaged in "inappropriate financial manipulations" in the Federated Suns. Captain-General Brion Marik admits to the manipulation (which dates from the Age of War), and orders Rhean to settle the situation quietly. Rinalla Centrella advises Rhean to resolve the issue with feminine wiles (Canopian-style "diplomatic negotiations"). At the "working lunch between friends," Zane and Rhean flirt, and Zane agrees to let the matter languish in the bureaucracy in exchange for increased FWL investment on Robinson and support in a council vote. Rhean leaves Zane wanting more.

In 2604, Rhean and Zane administer CPR to the mortally wounded Tanya Kerensky, who was stabbed by Leonard Kurita on the floor of the Star League Council chamber as she tried to defend First Lord Nicholas Cameron from the Coordinator's drunken rage. Despite their efforts, Tanya dies, and a distraught Rhean is whisked away by Zane to a Davion-owned villa in France. "Diplomatic negotiations" ensue...Canopian style.

Part 6[edit]

published on 19 November 2008
Meeting the man of your dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife... A song never summed up Rhean's life more than when she fell astray of the charming and witty leader of the Federated Suns.

In 2604, Rhean and Rinalla attend the funeral and memorial service for Tanya Kerensky with Rhean's younger brothers - Quentin and Albrecht - and Quentin's son Tomas. As the last group of dignitaries arrives, Rhean is thrilled to see Zane Davion, but then stunned to see him escorting an unfamiliar woman and child. Rinalla informs Rhean that it's Elaine Romera, Zane's wife, and their daughter. When she later confronts Zane about it, he says that he doesn't view marriage as an exclusive bond. They agree to end their relationship, and part on less than friendly terms.

On December 23, 2604, on Atreus, Albrecht Marik is en route to the Captain-General's residence with "explosive" information for Rhean regarding their aunt Therese's mysterious death in a "car accident," which served to remove her half-Liao child from the line of succession. He makes a quick stop at a flower shop en route, and then explodes as a bomb detonates under the car. Captain-General Brion Marik hears the explosion and, literally seconds later, is informed by his head of security, Ross MacArthur, that Albrecht is dead. Brion assigns Rhean to liaise with the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to investigate the bombing, and promotes her to Warden of the Perimeter Defenses to liaise with the SLDF for a possible invasion of the Draconis Combine in retaliation for Leonard Kurita's murder of Tanya Kerensky.

On December 27, 2604 Rhean arrives at the FWLM command center on Marik to assume the duties of Warden of the Perimeter Defenses and coordinate with the Seven Sons of Solon - the League's military high command - including Duke Narinder Selaj of Regulus, NIA Director Maria Kreiss, Marshal Kozurek of Tamarind and Rhean's Princefield Academy nemesis, Duke Lambert Allison of Oriente. Despite a warm welcome, Narinder and Lambert begin plotting against Rhean as soon as she leaves the room.

Part 7[edit]

published on 26 November 2008
Hello Rhean Marik, my name is Murphy and I really love your family. Here let me do this, oh and this, and then this. Had enough yet? Rhean Marik must watch as time marches forward, tearing from her those she holds dear and close. And then she gets a personal dose of good old Murphy.

In 2610, Rhean attends a reception at Cameron Palace in England, and chats with Tomasina Cameron-Havley-Weston, Ian Cameron's niece, whose childhood scribblings inspired the Star League insignia. Rhean introduces Tomasina to her fiancé, Baron Carlton Allison of Oriente (Duke Lambert Allison's younger brother). Rhean muses to herself on Captain-General Brion Marik's command to marry and produce heirs to continue the Marik line, and that she's not really in love with Carlton. She speaks briefly with Coordinator Sanethia Kurita (relations between Combine and Star League having been restored following her brother Leonard's sudden and fatal "illness"), then encounters First Prince Zane Davion, who advises her not to get trapped in a loveless marriage like his. One of Zane's assistants distracts Carlton, and he and Rhean slip away to a guest room for renewed "diplomatic negotiations."

In 2611, Rhean visits with her Princefield friend Madeline on Atreus. They discuss Maddy's children, internal politics of the Seven Sons of Solon, and her affair with Zane. However, she's unable to attend the ball at the Parliamentary Grand Hall later that night, as she is diagnosed with cancer. At the ball, Lambert Allison and Narinder Selaj continue plotting against Rhean, and imply that Marion Marik was their coconspirator prior to her death. At the Archangel Raphael Clinic in Atreus City, Rhean ponders the preliminary diagnosis of an aggressive and malignant tumor. Carlton arrives from the party to support her, but she calls off their relationship, saying she can't make him marry someone who is terminally ill.

In 2612 Rhean insists on going to Terra for the Star League Council Meeting. Ailing Captain-General Brion Marik eventually concedes, though he insists that Duchess Melissa Humphreys and her Rhean's brother Quentin accompany her as advisers. En route to Terra, Melissa reveals that she knows about Rhean's affair with Zane. However, after twenty years on Canopus IV, nothing shocks her anymore. She resolves to help Rhean continue her secret tryst. However, as Rhean waits for Zane at a café in Switzerland, Elaine Davion approaches instead, and demands that Rhean terminate her affair with Zane. Still in shock, Rhean returns to Unity City and meets with Carla and Rinalla Centrella, who inform her that Rinalla, too, has cancer, and intends to go out partying. The spring Council session ends with a number of final goodbyes. Rhean gets one final shock when her younger brother Quentin suffers a fatal heart attack.

Part 8[edit]

published on 4 December 2008
No one ever expected her to take office, and when she did they all assumed it would be nothing but seat warming for her nephew. We all know what assumptions make of you and me...

In 2614, Captain-General Rhean Marik (since the death of her father, Brion, seventy-seven days earlier) attends the Star League council session on Terra, discussing issues ranging from transit tariffs to defense contracts to promising new developments in interstellar communications technology. During a June recess, she shares with her friend Madeline her suspicions that Lambert Allison and Narinder Selaj are plotting against either her personally or House Marik in general.

In 2615, Rhean attends a soccer match on Terra with a pregnant Magestrix Carla Centrella, in which her new husband, Colonel Curtis Yakubu, is a star player. Curtis reminds her of Zane - her forbidden love. During a subsequent Council session on economic stimulus projects and a lack of information-sharing between the SLDF and member-state militaries, Rhean collapses. She awakens two days later at Grace Memorial Hospital in Unity City with Zane Davion at her bedside, and consents to an experimental medical treatment pioneered by House Davion.

Part 9[edit]

published on 11 December 2008
Is the cure better than the sickness? A question Rhean had to ask herself once the cure lead to even greater, 'complications'. Be careful what you wish for, the hidden costs might be fatal.

In May 2615, Rhean has vivid dreams as she undergoes an experimental cancer treatment. In her visions, she has become a Warhammer (recalling that she "wanted to be a Warhammer when she grew up" at age three) and envisions herself as the 'Mech interacting with her assorted antagonists - Lambert Allison, Narinder Selaj, Leonard Kurita, Elaine Davion, and Zane's daughter Sarah. After a week in a coma, she awakens to find Zane holding her in her hospital bed. The experimental treatment appears to have been successful. Zane tells her not to worry about Elaine, and the two renew their relationship.

In November 2615, on Atreus, Rhean attends a session of the Free Worlds League parliament, and gets the sense that the majority want to be rid of her. Once she does depart for Terra, Lambert Allison and Narinder Selaj resume plotting, analyzing contingencies for putting 17-year-old Tomas Marik on the throne. Narinder tells Lambert that NIA director Maria Kreiss supports their conspiracy, and has circumstantial evidence of Rhean's tryst with Zane. On Terra, Zane and Rhean deepen their romance.

In January 2616, Rhean hosts a gala birthday ball for her nephew, Tomas, at the Marik apartments in Unity City. The elites of the Star League attend - Carla Centrella, Sanethia Kurita, Richard Amaris, Henry Calderon, Zane Davion and Nicholas Cameron. Rhean notices a new "kids clique" forming of the next generation of Star League leaders - Joseph Cameron, Tomas Marik, and Sarah Davion. She officially declares Tomas Alain Marik as her designated successor. Feeling sick, Rhean withdraws from the party and speculates that her nausea is due to her having become pregnant with Zane's child.

In March 2616, Rhean breaks the news of her pregnancy (though not the parentage) to the ruling elites of the Free Worlds League - Lambert Allison, Narinder Selaj, Lise Stewart, Melissa Humphreys, Parliamentary Speaker Ahmed Shavpurtay, Treasurer Daneille Jansen, NIA director Maria Kreiss, Minister of Defense Gilles Pagliarulo, and a half dozen other cabinet members. However, thanks to Kreiss, it's clear that Allison and Selaj already know the father's identity. Afterwards, Kreiss, Lambert and Narinder ponder stratagems to push Rhean out of power. When the privy council reconvenes, it votes nearly unanimously to call for her resignation. Tomas wants her to fight, but Rhean says that her cancer has given her a new perspective, and she just wants to enjoy life rather than fighting for power. The conspirators demand that Rhean record a message saying she's resigning for "health reasons," but do not want her to speak directly with the press. She is sent to her apartments, under guard by NIA special forces troopers, to await her trip into exile. Unexpectedly, Rhean's jilted ex-fiancé Carlton Allison enters, brandishing a silenced pistol.

Part 10[edit]

published on 19 December 2008
Stripped of power and prepared for exile, Rhean finds she must prepare for execution instead. The conspiracy runs deep, but so do her friends. The question is, which is better?

In 2516, Carlton Allison uses his silenced pistol to kill the NIA agents guarding Rhean and her bodyguard Evangeline Sukhanov. He tells Rhean that Lambert's and Narinder's plan was for the NIA escorts to kill her as soon as they were off Atreus. He also implicates the conspirators in the deaths of Therese and Albrecht Marik. The so-called "Triumvirate" had begun as an alliance between Marion Marik and the Dukes of Oriente and Regulus to safeguard the Free Worlds League against becoming too deeply enmeshed in Albert Marik's "Star League" brainchild. Therese's marriage to a Liao and Rhean's relationship with a Davion were viewed as threats to the purity of the Free Worlds League. Evangeline reveals that she was selected as Rhean's bodyguard because she could, in a pinch, pass as her body double. They disguise themselves and flee into Atreus City.

In a stolen vehicle, Rhean approaches the rendezvous point Carlton specified. Rather than salvation, a hostile Griffin awaits her, and destroys her vehicle, despite an attempt by a Locust to intervene. Lambert and Narinder celebrate Rhean's death, which is confirmed by DNA analysis of the wreckage, and immediately begin plotting against Tomas. A press release announces that Rhean died in her sleep as a result of her cancer. In his first meeting with Narinder Selaj, Captain-General Tomas Marik trade threats, foreshadowing a coming struggle for power between the Dukes of Atreus and Regulus.

In 2617, Rhean and Evangeline greet Zane and Sarah at their safe house in Switzerland, on Terra. Evangeline faked Rhean's death with a vial of blood in the wrecked vehicle while Annalise distracted the Griffin with her Locust. With her son, Albert Alexander Marik-Davion, Rhean now lives under House Cameron's protection under her old alias, Frieda Moran. Zane and Rhean renew their romance, and Sarah dotes on her half-brother.

In Ungnade[edit]

The novel was written in English, but not published for some time after FASA ceased active operations in 2001 and Roc Books voiced no interest in publishing more BattleTech novels. However, FanPro published a German translation titled In Ungnade ("(Fallen) In(to) Disfavor") as the 13th of their German-only line of Classic BattleTech novels in April 2007, as part of the Great Game cycle of stories set in the late twenty-sixth and early twenty-seventh centuries.

Fall from Grace, as published on BattleCorps a year later, is different from the earlier edition that was translated as "In Ungnade" because of fact-checking and continuity concerns. It turned out that the original manuscript, unpublished in English for several years, now clashed with other canon material that had since been published, and had to be revised to account for some inconsistencies. According to the author, "Chapter 11 got a fair re-working to fit with established continuity but the rest was mainly tweaks and small-scale corrections."[1] As a result, the German edition as published is not considered canonical; it is trumped by the 2008 BattleCorps edition.

From the back cover (translated from German)[edit]

The vision of the Cameron and Marik families has become a reality: the unification of mankind—even though not everybody wants to participate. And where diplomacy fails, bloody battles must bring the recalcitrant periphery nations into the common house, though even then the question remains if the subsequent shaky peace is really the better solution.
Rhean Marik, a relative of the ruling Captain-General of the Free Worlds League, has been trained from childhood to prevail on the field of diplomacy as well as on the field of battle. But when fate catapults her to the helm of the Free Worlds League she realizes that both battlefields' reality is much deadlier than her training taught her. Mortal enemies become good friends and allies become embittered enemies, and the pitfalls of intrigue lurk everywhere at the Star League court. A fateful encounter turns her world upside down, and doom looms not only over Rhean, but over the Free Worlds League as well.
Can Rhean achieve a balance between the aims of the Free Worlds League and the Star League? Can she prevent the demise of one or both organizations, and can she stop the powers that threaten to destroy both from within?

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  1. As stated by him in this posting on the BattleTech forum