Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Book Review: Sun of Suns

I started listening to Sun Of Suns as it was a free audio book download from Audible. Without it being promoted by Audible, I probably never would have experienced this book and that would have been a shame.

This book owes a lot to Iain M Banks Culture novels as it is a posthuman space opera as Banks is credited in creating the genre. Even more so it reminds me of his latest novel, Matter, as an outsider comes into a relatively back water planet and upsets the balance of power. Comparing the author of Sun of Suns, Karl Schroeder, to Iain M Banks is a complement.

The events of Sun of Suns take place on a world called Virga. Virga is basically a Dyson's sphere orbiting its main sun Candesce. There is very little land and water. Giant cities generate their own gravity by using centrifugal force. Political power is gained by controlling any number of the smaller suns inside Virga.

We begin the story with a prologue where the people of Aerie are building their own sun to break free of the influence of Slipstream only to be brutally shut down by an attack from the Slipstream navy. We then skip forward a number of years where we focus on Hayden Griffin a survivor of the attack on Aerie where he has insinuated himself into the household of Venera Fanning the wife of Admiral Chaison Fanning. The man Hayden blames for the attack on Aerie.

All three of the main characters are interesting and well developed. You wonder whether Haydon can get past his need for revenge and move on with his life, Venera is certainly more than a trophy wife and she keeps some pretty important secrets from her husband but most interesting is the juxtaposition of Haydon's personal evaluation of Admiral Griffin compared to what he has always been told about the Butcher of Aerie.

The book is an engaging nautical adventure set in a posthuman society. It is expertly narrated by Joyce Irvine. I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to reading the Queen of Candesce: Book Two of Virga. However, you don't need to read the next book as the plot threads started are resolved in the first book.

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