From the Publisher
“Asaro's Saga of the Skolian Empire has quietly become one of the most interesting, ambitious, and popular science-fiction series since Dune.” Romantic Times
“Asaro has quickly gained a reputation as a writer of first-rate rip-roaring adventures.” SF Site
“Intrigue, drama and romance converge in nebula winner Asaro's latest Skolian Empire adventure, an enthralling stand-alone that fills in the early history of the empire.” Publishers Weekly on Skyfall
“This latest installment blends dynastic intrigue with theoretical physics to create a story that will appeal to fans of hard sf as well as grand-scale storytelling.” Library Journal on Spherical Harmonic
Given the complex world within Asaro's Skolian Empire saga, perhaps it's forgivable that the first third of her second Triad fantasy (after 2004's Schism) explains at tedious length the history of the Ruby Dynasty, a ruling tribe of telepaths who struggle with discord among themselves even as they fight off their dire enemies, the Euban Concord. Readers of this extensive chronicle will happily plunge back into the fray, but newcomers might stumble, feeling much like first-time viewers of a byzantine space soap opera. However, once the action heats up with an assassination attempt that disables the head of the Ruby Dynasty, rapid pacing and gripping suspense whisks away any confusion. Young Soz, an heir to the throne and a military cadet, seizes the book's spotlight with her combination of vulnerability and bravery as she steps up to responsibility. But with so many characters, this tale suffers from a lack of focus. Asaro's saga is a monumental work, but only a more careful honing of the individual novels will make the series masterful. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The evil Traders are again attempting to overthrow the Skolian Empire. Their bilateral attack targets both the mysterious otherspace Web that links and supports the Empire and the telepathic dynasty that maintains and controls the Web. As members of the dysfunctional and reluctant dynasty battle both the Traders and their own personal demons, they find that they must work together to forge a new structure and stability for both the Web and their family. This sequel to Schism (Tor, 2004/VOYA June 2005) picks up the story without pause, although the first few chapters are slow going as the author sketches out her complex and confusing world. The balance of the book jumps between the viewpoints of six or seven major characters, and it is a tribute to the author's skill that it all works somehow. Once the action really starts, the book is impossible to put down, with compelling characters to enthrall even those who skip the hard SF details. Will the pharoah's husband overcome his addiction? Can the dynasty patriarch master the technology he loathes in order to rescue his wife? Can an untried cadet single-handedly hold the Web together? Is the heir really dead? Will the lonely boy finally get some action? Who gets kidnapped and tortured this time? Inquiring minds will want to know, even if they belong mostly to existing fans of the Skolian Empire. The book ends with an extensive character guide and chronology. Buy where the series is popular. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2005, Tor, 352p., Ages 15 to Adult.