The interstellar empire, known as The Interdependency, is in trouble. The empire encompasses multiple star systems with trade among the different systems an integral part of the empire economics. Travel between the systems is by way of “the Flow’ – a naturally occurring ‘slip stream’ that carries ships at a much faster-than-normal rate. There are specific entrances and exits to and from the flow, which is where civilizations have flourished.
The Emperox of the empire is Grayland II who was never trained for, nor expected to become, the Emperox. One of the biggest challenges to face her reign comes from a young man, a scientist (and son of a scientist) who offers proof that the Flow is collapsing. If the scientist’s predictions are correct, the system furthest out (known as ‘End’) will be the first to lose access to the Flow.
Emperox Grayland II has brought the information to the ruling council, who don’t wish to take the information very seriously. Instead, they are bent on preparing for a civil war and overthrowing Grayland II.
The Flow may be creating a new exit – one that existed thousands of a years ago. While Grayland II fends off a possible coup, she sends her scientist to investigate what might have happened to the civilization that once existed where the stream is now opening again. Any insight in how to survive will give Grayland II an advantage when the collapse comes.
I read (or rather listened on Audible) to this book when it first came out. When it was offered up again by the publisher, in conjunction with the next book, I thought it would be a great time to reread it so that I could go into the next book with this story fresh in my head.
John Scalzi writes terrific space opera. The main plot is pretty straightforward, though there are some great subplots that look ready to converge.
We also have a delightful cast of characters. For the most part, they are pretty much white hat/black hat types. The good are so very good, even though they question themselves (Grayland II), and the bad are confident and keenly evil (Countess Nohamapetan).
There’s action, there’s intrigue, there’s sex, and adventure, and plenty of snarky, sassy comments sure to make you smile. Scalzi knows how to spin a yarn! This is a heck of a lot of fun.
Oh … but … it’s not really a complete book. This is pretty clearly the middle book of a series. If you picked up this without having read the previous book, I think you might be lost. And if you want to have a complete experience, you know, beginning, middle, and end, you might be disappointed as the end is probably coming in book three.
Looking for a good book? If you’re willing to commit to a series of at least three books, then you will love John Scalzi’s The Consuming Fire, book two in The Interdependency series.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Consuming Fire
author: John Scalzi
series: The Interdependecy #2
publisher: Tor Books
hardcover, 316 pages