Anderson prepares to conclude his brilliant The Saga of the
Seven Suns series with this 5th and penultimate novel.
The citizens of Earth stand alone against the hydrogues as
the populace of the Spiral Arm unites to face their common
enemy. Hansa Chairman Basil Wenceslas, sure of Earth's
superiority, has unwisely and rashly made many enemies and
now Earth's population will pay the ultimate price for his
brash and heavy-handed condescension. Even the neutral
Ildirans have capitulated to the deep-core aliens and have
agreed to assist the hydrogues with their plan to
exterminate humanity. The Big Goose may finally be cooked
and the rest of the galaxy is far too busy defending itself
to mourn Earth's passing.
The Saga of the Seven Suns series has been a wild ride.
Anderson is the Cecil B. DeMille of science fiction here,
assembling a cast of thousands for a final showdown between
humanity and the deep-core hydrogues. The story shifts
point of view from chapter to chapter with no one given
short shrift. There are a lot of characters and subplots to
keep track of and they all turn out to be more or less
equally interesting. Even the compies (robots) have their
story told. Space opera has never been so much fun.
The extermination of Earth is at hand. With his
increasingly irrational leadership Basil Wenceslas,
chairman of the Hansa, has driven humanity into a corner.
His punitive treatment of the Hansa colonies and the
Roamers as well as his refusal to aid an embattled Theroc
have made enemies for the people of Earth. Enemies that the
Hansa cannot afford. Not when Wenceslas is struggling
against revolt by soldier compies, who decimate the
military by stealing ships and slaughtering soldiers; and
betrayal by the Ildirans, led by Jora'h the Mage-Imperator,
who is secretly scheming with the hydrogues to annihilate
Now disparate factions of humanity must plan for their own
salvation. Worldtrees allied with humans on Theroc have
rallied hulking, thorny tree battleships. Roamers work with
powerful water entities, the wentals, to seed planets
everywhere with a growing force to challenge the hydrogues.
But when the final battle with the hydrogues is joined, who
will aid the people of Earth?