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Sun of Suns: Book One of Virga [Kindle Edition]

Karl Schroeder
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $7.59
Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

It is the distant future. The world known as Virga is a fullerene balloon three thousand kilometers in diameter, filled with air, water, and aimlessly floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and "towns" that are in the shape of enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for gravity.

Young, fit, bitter, and friendless, Hayden Griffin is a very dangerous man. He's come to the city of Rush in the nation of Slipstream with one thing in mind: to take murderous revenge for the deaths of his parents six years ago. His target is Admiral Chaison Fanning, head of the fleet of Slipstream, which conquered Hayden's nation of Aerie years ago. And the fact that Hayden's spent his adolescence living with pirates doesn't bode well for Fanning's chances . . .

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 554 KB
  • Print Length: 332 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0765315432
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (July 31, 2007)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0015UB10W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,472 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A promising debut October 26, 2006
This is the third Schroeder book I've read (the other two being Ventus and Permanence), and this one is nothing like those books.

The most impressive aspect of this book has to be the sheer creativity of its world-building: the bizarre world of Virga--which seems to be equal parts Wild West, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Star Trek--is nevertheless utterly convincing (in part because of the even more bizarre Universe, only hinted at, in which Virga lies). Likewise, Schroeder doesn't forget the little details, such as what can, and does, happen when bullets don't hit their intended targets.

Of course, though, world-building alone can't carry a book, and, just as in Schroeder's earlier works, "Sun of Suns" doesn't disappoint. Schroeder constantly kept me guessing as to what the protagonist, Hayden Griffin, was going to do--and that includes even after Schroeder revealed the book's final surprise.

My only criticism, if it can be called that, is this book is relatively short: it is at most half the length of "Ventus." But, in a book as well-crafted as this one, knowing that a sequel awaits more than makes up for any such disappointment. I eagerly await Book Two of Virga.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Karl Schroeder is THE world-builder... February 12, 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sun of Suns is the first book in his Virga trilogy. The next one, Queen of Candesce is out in hardcover. Schroeder has the amazing feat of having his books published in HC first, something not many SciFi authors can lay claim to. And this is only his fourth book, the others being Ventus, Permanence, and my favorite, Lady of Mazes. In just a few books, he has established himself as one of the preeminent authors in the field. He is one of my all-time favorite authors.

Sun of Suns is a fairly short book, 331 pgs in PB form, and set in one of the most innovative "worlds" I've yet to encounter, and that's saying a lot, coming from Schroeder - the master of world-building.

Virga is a planet - where the inhabitants live inside! As the back cover says (but not at the outset in the book - you have to figure it out) - Virga is a fullerene balloon three thousand kilometers in diameter, filled with air, water, and aimlessly floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and 'towns' that are in the shape of enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for centrifugal gravity."

There are hundred of smaller suns inhabiting Virga, all originally powered off the main sun, Candesce. But to the inhabitants, it's all they've ever known - any other life outside Virga is "lost." Candesce is THE Sun of Suns, larger than all the rest, and providing sunlight for dozens of civilizations. It is the greatest source of heat, and creates the circulation cells of air that cause the nations to migrate slowly inward and outward.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent idea; poorly written February 8, 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The concept described in the book is fanastic; however the writing went from serviceable to poor. The idea, of a planet sized balloon filled with air, in which floating city-states build cylinders that people live in which are rotated to create gravity, was amazing enough for me to overlook the shoddy writing and weak, one-note characters for most of the book. Finally though, these flaws became too pronounced and I did not finish it.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This book was fun, fun, fun. If you like action-packed adventure SF, I bet you will like this. As a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki's movies, such as "Castle in the Sky" and "Howl's Moving Castle," which feature dashing heroes in 19th century costume flying through the clouds on wondrous airships, I found much appeal in this story and can't wait for the next chapter. Another thing that this novel and Miyazaki's anime films have in common that I really liked: Their heroes find that even their worst enemies are simply human beings, not monsters. There are few true villains in this story; even Venera Fanning, a nominal villainess, has a gritty determination you have to admire.

If you like your SF rigorously hard-boiled, i.e. the universe laid out must be extremely plausible when measured against the physics and biology of our universe, you may be a tad incredulous of Virga (where do all these wooden airships get their lumber, when the floating forests of the Virga Dyson sphere seem to be few and far between?). If you're that sort of reader, you may be annoyed by some of the later story elements involving the technology that makes Virga possible, which relies heavily on Clark's Law ("Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.")

Also, in deference to the reviewer who found the language clunky: As a published non-fiction author, I don't agree. I didn't find any bugs in the language ointment of this book, and I usually notice.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great concepts, so-so execution September 18, 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Great idea; wonderful fleshing-out of a unique world. However, I think the swashbuckling action aspect of the novel interferes with a full appreciation of the world. As the action comes on fast and furious I found myself feeling less and less connected to the characters and less fascinated by the world. There's a bit of sensory overload as new cities and new sights are thrust on the reader with little development and no time to appreciate them. The characters, who at the start are intriguing and seem to have complex motivations, become reduced by all the action to cardboard cut-outs swinging swords and riding jet bikes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A future sci-fi classic
Karl Schroeder is a bona fide science fiction prodigy. He has the Big Ideas of a Philip K. Dick, the logical clarity of an Isaac Asimov and the storytelling chops of a Robert A. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Tom Braun
2.0 out of 5 stars didnt care for this
Was a slow moving book that seemed to take forever to launch and then didn't go far. I like the more fantasy than futuristic and this is very futuristic.
Published 20 months ago by Kenneth Robert Fee III
2.0 out of 5 stars Not enough science in the fiction.
I seem to have had the reverse impression of most of the other reviewers here; I thought the story was well-told but the fictional world was so implausible that I was distracted... Read more
Published 20 months ago by bmills
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and intriguing
One of the most intriguing world settings I've encountered in a long time. Virga is a planet sized Dyson sphere, fully pressurized with an atmosphere and an ecosystem powered by an... Read more
Published 23 months ago by S. R. Gyll
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I found this author
I found Karl Schroeder while doing a Google search on authors at the same level of writing as Charles Stross. His name came up several times so I took a chance on this book. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Impetusin
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book Bad price.
Really liked the book, but I'm sorry, I can't see paying this kind of money for a digital format book. I could get a real able to hold paper back for $8.00. Read more
Published on October 11, 2012 by Lisa Bond RPSGT
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars
Hayden Griffin is out for revenge. When he was a boy, the nation of Slipstream attacked his little home world of Aerie. Read more
Published on June 26, 2012 by Kat Hooper
4.0 out of 5 stars Well thought out
I really enjoyed this book. The setting is quirky and imaginative, and the action is entertaining. The author does a great job explaining how this world works without bogging down... Read more
Published on December 11, 2011 by Jeremy
4.0 out of 5 stars Hornblower like battle and action in a weightless environment
I finally got around to reading Sun of Suns, which had been setting in my to-read ebook stack for two years. I should have done so sooner as it was a very enjoyable read. Read more
Published on August 23, 2011 by Clyde M. Wisham Jr.
2.0 out of 5 stars Original Concept - Infantile plot
The concept of a planet-size fullerene balloon filled with air and water and with almost no gravity is highly original. Read more
Published on April 19, 2011 by Nigel Farquharson
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More About the Author

I was born September 4, 1962 in Brandon Manitoba. My family are Mennonites, part of a community which has lived in southern Manitoba for over one hundred years. I am the second science fiction writer to come out of this small community -- the first was A.E. van Vogt!

I moved to Toronto in 1986 to pursue my writing career. I married Janice Beitel in April 2001 and our daughter Paige was born in May 2003.

I divide my time between writing fiction and consulting--chiefly in the area of Foresight Studies and technology.

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