A governmental body in a series of books by Elizabeth Moon. The government is run on the principle that noble families (hence the name) hold all the power. The Familias rules over a large area of space, and its neighbours include the Guernsi Republic, the Bloodhorde, the Beneignity of the Compassionate Hand and the Emerald Worlds.
Until recently the Familias has been a stable government; but after the events of the first trilogy the current King abdicated and the Familias reorganised itself, turning itself from a monarchy (sort of) into an oligarchy, with one man elected as Speaker for the Familias.
The two trillogies so far written about the Familias focus on the Republic Space Service (R.S.S. - more commonly known as Fleet) of the Familias. The books so far have been concentrating on the exploits of two characters; Herris Serrano (first trilogy) and Esmay Suiza (second trilogy). Although other characters occasionally step in as the POV character, these two are the main players in the books.