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Fusion Fire (Firebird Trilogy) Paperback – January 1, 2000
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From Library Journal
In this sequel to the best-selling science fiction novel Firebird, Lady Firebird Angelo (Mari), who accepted Master Sentinel Brennan Caldwell's offer of pair bonding, eagerly awaits the birth of her twin sons. But her old life as a Wastling on her home planet of Netaia haunts her: her sister Princess Phoena, who hates Mari for escaping the suicide command all younger children of Netaian nobility face, will use any means to eliminate her. Meanwhile, the Shuhr, enemies of the Caldwells, step up efforts to wipe out Brennan's bloodline in order to prevent the Master Singer's (God) prophesied return of the Messiah through the Caldwell line. The innovative use of musical metaphors is highly effective in portraying God as the being who sang the universe into creation, and Mari's continuing journey toward belief realistically portrays a woman of war struggling to understand the Lord of Peace. The Firebird series is the most original Christian sf series to appear in years and belongs in every collection.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"... the most original Christian SF series to appear in years and belongs in every collection." -- Library Journal, Feb. 2000
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In this second book, Firebird is now married to Master Sentinel Brennen Caldwell, and is expecting twins. Originally from Naetai, from where she was exiled by her family, she is more and more finding her place Thyrica and accepting its faith. But now Shuhr agents are attempting to wipe out her royal family, including Brennen and Firebird. What can Brennen and Firebird do when her traitorous sister Phoena heads to the Shuhr home world of Three Zed?
In many respects this book continues the fine pattern that Kathy Tyers began in the first book of the series, with a strong and interesting plot that features a lot of action, many invented science fiction concepts related to space travel and combat, and strong Christian themes. I especially appreciated her treatment of the concept of atonement by means of a sacrifice, and also the question of evil and suffering in God's world.
In her author's note dated September 1999 in the revised edition, Kathy Tyers notes that this series isn't a spiritual allegory but "an extended parable of conversion". In the fictional alternate universe that is the world of these novels, she imagines a world without Earth prior to the coming of the Messiah. Salvation for these pre-atonement believers rests on a future event that is pictured by sacrifice of a substitute. In her words: "In `Firebird' I touched on God's existence and His mercy. In `Fusion Fire' I tried to deal with the existence of evil and our separation from God." Her theology is Scripturally sound, and I appreciated how it clearly conveyed the need for a Saviour as a result of "the intimate evil that results from our fallen nature".
These books are good examples of space opera, a subgenre of science fiction sometimes described as emphasizing "space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, as well as chivalric romance, and often risk-taking. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, this genre usually involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology." Kathy Tyers' work has the feel of an epic story which meets these criteria well, but in addition it has a deeper spiritual message that does a good job of combining science fiction and faith. Highly recommended. - GODLY GADFLY
There are three reasons a book might take me a while to read (four if you count too much busyness, but that has nothing to do with the book): 1) It's long (not the case of this 317 page book); 2) It's hard to get interested in (not with the opening chapter of this volume); or 3) you're enjoying it so much you just take your time to make it last as long as you can (which is the case here).
If you thought Phoena was a text-book example of a villain, there's more scary ones, that's for Shuhr. This story has plot twists you'll never expect. The characters are very well developed. And Tyers again does a good job of using music descriptions for each chapter.
As mentioned, there are strong Christian themes in this book. If you are intolerant of Christian faith, you might not like this. But those who are more open-minded will find this novel well-crafted, and even more exciting than the original.
I'd love to see this trilogy brought to the big-screen.
UPDATE: I finally found the original Firebird at the used book store a couple months ago -- wow. Every bit as good as I remembered. This is one that's worth hunting down. Just make sure it's the "normal" sized paper back you're picking up, not the slightly larger, although thinner, "updated" version!