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 between the artificial continents 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. Queen of Candesce is her story.
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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.