Venera Fanning was last seen falling into nothingness at the end of Sun of Suns. Now, in Queen of Candesce, Venera finds herself plunging through the air among the artificial worlds of Virga, far from home and her husband, who may or may not be alive. Landing in the ancient nation of Spyre, Venera encounters new enemies and new friends (or at least convenient allies). She must quickly learn who she can trust, and who she can manipulate in order to survive.Survival isn't her only goal. With the powerful Key of Candesce in her hands, she can control the fate of the entire world of Virga, yet something even more pressing is driving her—the all consuming need for revenge.
“Damned good . . . The strong prose supports a skillfully developed plot and a number of complex, yet easy-to-follow, political intrigues. The hard SF rigorously governs Virga, but it never becomes so dominant that it bores those readers more interested in high adventure than in engineering puzzles. The characterizations are sharp, and the protagonist, Machiavellian genius Venera Fanning, is excellent company as she plots her escape, plans her revenge on her husband's enemies and grows and changes despite her worse intentions. The Queen of Candesce . . . offers a generous abundance of reading pleasure, and it confirms that Karl Schroeder belongs in the front ranks of SF world-builders.”—Cynthia War, SciFi Weekly
“Continuing from Sun of Suns, the fabulous world of Virga, Schroeder follows Venera Fanning as she falls from Candesce's great sun onto Spyre, a collection of tiny, warring nations housed in a crumbling, cylindrical craft. She has the key to Candesce, a powerful bargaining chip, and is keen on avenging her husband's almost certain death. Her talents for manipulation and subterfuge excel in Spyre, whose secretive powers want the key. Schroeder's world building continues fascinating, and the intrigue among inbred nations thrown into confusion by an outsider keeps the pace at a satisfying clip.”—Regina Schroeder, Booklist“Schroeder's ambitious sequel to 2006's Sun of Suns further explores Virga, the vast enclosed realm containing a miniature cosmos of floating worlds, wheellike townships and intriguing mysteries about the construct's origins and creators. Heated and lit by numerous artificial suns, the individual populations have evolved on divergent paths. When the delightfully amoral Venera Fanning finds herself on Spyre, an ancient and decaying cylindrical world that's slowly breaking apart, and realizes the Key of Candesce could not only unlock the secrets of a long-lost technology but also destroy entire worlds, she inadvertently disrupts Spyre's delicate political balance and rigid cultural mores and ignites a revolution. Comparable to classic SF epics like John Varley's Gaean trilogy and Jack L. Chalker's Well of Souls series, Schroeder's saga is an awe-inspiring example of masterful world-building. A myriad of themes, from rogue artificial intelligences to the evolution of human bodies and culture, make this futuristic epic one to reckon with.”—Publishers Weekly
Karl Schroeder lives in Toronto, Canada.