A surprisingly popular science fiction series by Piers Anthony. It's a five-book biography of Hope Hubris, following him from his humble beginnings as the son of a peasant on Callisto through his career as the tyrant of Jupiter.

The books are:

The 6th book was written 16 years after the rest of the series, and may be quite different from the others.

I have read only the first one, in which Hope, his family, and their fellow refugees are systematically raped and killed for 300 pages. Needless to say, Hope survives. His two sisters are taken captive by space pirates, and at least his younger sister, Spirit, survives to make appearances in other books. Pretty much everyone else dies. Usually they die nasty deaths. Sometimes they don't die as soon as the might want to.

These are well written and fast-paced books, but way too gruesome for me. They're heavy on the survivor theme and Hope cleverly outwitting the hostile elements, and they have nice character development. They are typical of Piers Anthony's writing style, apart from the fact that they are the most dire and tragic of any of his books that I've read.

Personally, I cannot imagine why they are so popular, and will never read any of them again. I like Piers Anthony in general, and if you ever need a super quick and light read, the Zanth, Apprentice Adept, and Incarnations of Immortality series are very entertaining. The Bio books are exactly the same thing -- except that they are very very violent. You've been warned.

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