Planet Moscow is vaporized by an unnatural star explosion, prompting those who escaped to counterattack the likely culprit - planet New Dresden of the neighboring system. But New Dresden wasn't to blame, and as worlds go to war, an unseen enemy labors to destroy the universe itself.
©2004 Charles Stross; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
Charles Stross is a relatively recent find for me, but after reading his truly awesome Laundry series I made it a point to go back and explore some of his other works. Iron Sunrise is actually a sequel (though the author has said that there will be no more books in this universe) to Singularity Sky. It brings back the two main characters from that story, Rachel and her now husband, and introduces a who new spread of characters (slowly weaving the seemingly unrelated plots together). The world of these novels is quite interesting, as it is affected by the post-Singularity intelligence Eschaton, which upon reaching consciousness immediately flung 90% of the Earths inhabitants onto planets up to thousands of light years (and correspondingly that far back in time).
Humans being humans, we don't quite get along with each other, and the story begins with the planet of Moscow dying due to the sun exploding, and the retaliatory fleet (which can take decades to arrive) is launched at their competitor New Dresden. Of course the story isn't simply the mission to hunt down the Moscow Ambassadors who can recall the retaliation fleet, in a race against time as the Ambassadors are slowly being murdered, because as you would expect that is just the first layer of a multi-level plot that will keep you entertained through out the book.
Overall this is a great book. Enhanced if you read Singularity Sky but with enough exposition to allow you to jump in if you have not.
I only got this book because of the narrator, the summary didn't really appeal to me. Once the plot devices were explained, I bought in. The book started out good. It was a bit disconcerting though as it felt like the maturity level and the intelligence of the characters shifted as the point of view of the narrator changed. Not sure if that was intentional or not, but I didn't care for it. It wasn't just a "blind spot" change, it was more dramatic.
The character Wednesday started out being voiced as a highly intelligent if defiant teenage girl. When the point of view shifted to another character, she sounded like a whimpering, somewhat slow brat.
Also the motivation, at least what one could glean of it, of the bad guys seemed, to me, to be a bit shallow. The book appears to have been written with a next volume in mind. Haven't made up my mind if I'll continue the series.
Yes it is interesting, clever, compelling. It moves very fast, which I really like in an audio book.
Not giving anything away.
The previous book in the series, Singularity Sky, is awesome. It's a fun, playful concept, being stuck in a future ruled by a mysterious and capricious post-human intelligence of human creation. Abounds with crazed juxtapositions of the suposed human diaspora with tongue-in-cheek-contemporary relevance. This one is good for the same reason, but it lacks the freshness and playfulness of the earlier one. Stross has brought in a new protagonist or two for this one, which is just as well, as the surviving protagonists of the earlier version were not so interestingly conflicted and/or flawed that you'd want to follow them through a whole new book. In fact, I reckon he could have ditched them entirely because they don't bring much to the new book apart from setting.
But leaving aside the dead weight, there is still a lot fo fun to be had in this book, and he does get some nice twists out of the Nanotech-nazis-in-space theme. And that's really Stross's strong suit - taking hackneyed old SF tropes and spinning them in a cheeky post-dotcom way. Worthwhile.
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