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The swashbuckling space settlers of Schroeder's fantastical novel (after 2005's Lady of Mazes) inhabit warring nation-states inside a planet-sized balloon called Virga. This adventure-filled tale of sword fights and naval battles stars young Hayden Griffin of the nation of Aerie, orphaned by an attack on the artificial sun that his parents tried to build. He grows up to seek vengeance against the man who led it, Adm. Chaison Fanning of the nation Slipstream. Getting close to Fanning, though, entails infiltrating the flagship Rook and interfering in the schemes of the admiral's wife, the devious Venera. Schroeder layers in scientific rationales for his air-filled, gravity-poor world—with its spinning cylinder towns and miles-long icebergs—but the real fun of this coming-of-age tale includes a pirate treasure hunt and grand scale naval invasions set in the cold, far reaches of space. (Oct.)
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With this book Schroeder launches a saga set on Virga, a balloon-world warmed by artificial suns. The inhabitants build, besides their own suns, floating towns. The spaces between the towns, lacking nearby suns, are wintry cold, and only a few pirates and the utterly desperate live on the towns' edges. Hayden Griffen is dead set on revenge for his parents' deaths in the destruction of his home, Aerie, by the nation of Slipstream six years before. Somewhat unexpectedly, after catching the attention of Venera Fanning and becoming her driver, Hayden is dispatched on a mission under Admiral Chaison Fanning, the man he believes responsible for his parents' demise, to find a vast treasure and, even more valuable, a key to the sun and the world outside, where posthumanity reigns. The satisfying opening of a promising space opera. Regina Schroeder
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