Spherical Harmonic: A Novel in the Saga of the Skolian Empire Mass Market Paperback – Aug 1 2002
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Catherine Asaro's Saga of the Skolian Empire has quietly become one of the most interesting, ambitious, and popular science-fiction series since Dune, captivating readers with its complex universe, its diverse cast of sympathetic characters, and its imaginative blend of hard SF, future history, military SF, space opera, family saga, and romance. Spherical Harmonics is the seventh book in the loosely organized series.
A woman comes to consciousness on a world she doesn't recognize, and fades out again--literally. As nonexistence and awareness alternate, the woman regains her memory, realizing she is Dyhianna Selei, the Ruby Pharaoh, titular head of the Skolian Empire, who was destroyed in a star-spanning battle that ravaged both her empire and that of its enemy, the Aristos. Instead of dying, Dyhianna was transported to a distant world via the quantum-mechanical universe of Hilbert space--and now she is in danger of disappearing permanently into that nonphysical universe. And that isn't her only problem. Her husband has been physically and psychologically scarred by his captivity in Aristo hands. She may have to overthrow the elected government of her own Empire in order to resurrect it from the ashes of the Radiance War and defend it from the powerful Aristos.
Spherical Harmonics follows (and sometimes overlaps) the events in The Radiant Seas, 031286714XThe Quantum Rose, and Ascendant Sun. Other books in the series include Primary Inversion, Catch the Lightning, and The Last Hawk. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This fast-paced entry in the Saga of the Skolian Empire (The Quantum Rose; Ascendant Sun; etc.) provides a backstory with plenty of battles and political machinations that will no doubt delight fans of the series, but may leave others scratching their heads. We follow the flawless and very powerful Dyhianna Selei, after she wakes up on the moon Opalite, as she slowly regains her memory and seeks to be reunited with her husband and son no easy task, as her husband has been captured and enslaved while her son has disappeared into psiberspace, perhaps forever. Psiberspace, which links together the commerce of several star systems, is down, and suddenly everyone is jockeying for power Dyhianna, unwillingly, among them, as her family becomes a rallying point for followers dissatisfied with the status quo. A coup places Dyhianna in power as both the reigning Pharaoh of the Ruby Empire and as the leader of the representative Assembly, an unprecedented sociopolitical change with far-reaching implications. Her quest to regain missing family members takes her to Earth, where the presence of her fleet threatens the volatile relationship between the Skolian Imperialate, which Dyhianna now leads, and the Earth Alliance. Asaro, a physicist, weaves scientific descriptions of Kyle space, spherical harmonics and orbitals with fantastic elements of psychic powers and mental telepathy. Science and fantasy make an uneasy mix here, but underpinning and transcending both are complex interpersonal relationships that center on love and loss. (Jan. 3)Forecast: Billed as SF romance, this has obvious crossover appeal to romance readers, but they may be disappointed to find no big compelling love story.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Unlike many of the other books in this series, this one does not concentrate on a romance, including grand sex scenes. Instead this is a political outing, which describes what happened in a political sense at the end of the Radiance war (primary iverson & the radiant seas).
Dhyianna comes across as being absolutely essential to the empire and her complaints of the control the skolian assembly has over her family has a sort of hollow ring given how much of what happens in the empire revolves around her individual skills.
For some reason, in the other books you get the impression that the 'trader experiment' which produced the hightron race happened in the recent past, but in this book that event is redefinied as having taken place thousands of years ago (which makes more sense).
This is not the most inspired book in the series, but it's a definate building block to be read for filling out the Skolian/Allied/Trader universe and the interesting mess that is the Ruby Dynasty.
Catherine's time line, which appears at the end of every book in the series, simply tells us that in 2277-78, Dehya "coalesces." Exactly. The novel deals with rebirth, the physical rebirth of Dehya and of the Ruby Dynasty itself, as Dehya sets out to collect the Skolians' scattered surviving members (they've been decimated by a destructive war).
Dehya coalesces virtually naked and alone on a primitive world and doesn't quite know why. Throughout the book she keeps acquiring family members, friends, and allies (and clothing), and at the end is quite a formidable presence indeed. The structure in a way is similar to Ravel's "Bolero," which starts out with a single instrument and a single melodic line and ends colorfully and thunderously.
The story sweeps along in grand fashion, filled, as always, with action, romance, and painless lessons in quantum physics, as Dehya learns that sometimes she has to go against the people she admires and work with those she doesn't. All Catherine's characters are complex, reluctant heroes, and Dehya might be the most complex of all. She learns her lessons well and she learns the limits of power.Read more ›
For those of you not familiar with Asaro's Skolian universe, in a nutshell, humans crawl their way into the stars in the twenty-second century to find out that, surprisingly enough, humans already occupy most, if not all, of the inhabited planets in the galaxy. Two warring Empires, the Skolians and the Eubians, have fought to control about three-quarters or so of the inhabited planets in the galaxy between them. The Skolians are, in theory, a democracy, although power is uneasily shared between the Skolian ruling family and an elected council. They run their Empire-Democracy through the means of a sort-of collective mental net in which sufficiently sensitive telepaths can communicate instantly with each other, providing an unparalleled means of coordination within the culture. The Eubians, on the other hand, are not only tyrannic and imperial, but they are obsessed with genetics and virtually all the ihabitants of their Empire are slaves. Earth, which finds itself the great Switzerland of the galaxy, finds itself often on the sidelines holding together an alliance that provides the pivot on which the galactic balance of pwer hangs.
All of her previous books have dealt with various members of the Skolian royal family, but Pharaoh Dyhianna has always been a rather shadowy background figure.Read more ›
Dyhianna learns first hand that the "cold war" remains hot as she surfaces on a humanoid planet after making a desperate leap to escape her enemies' effort to kill her and her family. Her foes pursue Dyhianna, but she is rescued by a Skolian battle cruiser, only to learn that her invention the psychic-Internet no longer exists and that the Aristos haves captured her husband, Prince Eldrin. A desperate Dyhianna knows that Eldrin's psychic abilities accompanied by the ancient Lock the enemy controls will give the edge to the Aristos. She turns to her former spouse and his special kids on Earth as a last resort to stop the Aristo Traders from conquering her people.
SPHERICAL HARMONIC, the seventh Skolian tale is an engaging outer space novel that will excite fans of the series. The story line hops around the galaxy faster than the speed of light, but that is a two edged light saber as the action never stops, but the subplots do not fully mesh. Catherine Asaro's audience will enjoy this novel because it is fun to watch the wonderful gender bender heroine struggle to save her people at what might cost her the lives of her family.
Most recent customer reviews
If you follow the Saga of the struggling Skolian Empire, this volume will fill in some gaps, on the same timeline as Ascendant Sun(keep it to hand while reading). Read morePublished on Oct. 1 2002 by Mr. D. Dingwall
The trouble with a series is that some books will be better than others, but you really need to read them all to inderstand the story. This book did not work for me. Read morePublished on March 23 2002 by C. Glover
SPHERICAL HARMONIC is the 7 th novel in the Saga of the Skolian Empire and it lived up to and exceeded my expectations. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2002 by L. Coltharp
As usual, Asaro delivers an excellent and intelligent novel. I enjoyed the pace of this book, the writing style and the storyline. Read morePublished on Dec 13 2001 by Kate Savage
Watch for a positive review in the April 2002 Analog.
Asaro's emphasis here is less on romantic entanglements than on political intrigue: The Skolian and Trader Empires are... Read more