Commander Jonathan Radec is dead. However, the Commander has already died once before, and for some death is but a doorway…
“For whoever has lived unjustly and impiously goes to the dungeon of requital and penance which, you know, they call Tartarus.” – Plato
After making a shocking discovery that reveals the truth about a long-held misconception, the crew launch a desperate rescue mission to Tartarus. The only way to reach there, aboard The Sunfire, which was once the Confederation Navy’s newest, most powerful heavy cruiser, but is now nothing more than a ghost ship, adrift amongst the stars.
Meanwhile the last Imperial Princess, Sofia Aurelius, is questioning her own decision to focus on the Senate and turn her back on her family–and Jon. Embarking on a quest to discover the truth about the present–she instead finds the past has finally caught up with her.
Failure will mean certainly death for them both, but the price of success could be far worse, almost certainly plunging the galaxy into civil war, the last of which, five-hundred years ago, cost tens of millions of lives.
Smith has an inventive imagination, and this story is no exception. One may think that because Jon Radec appears near-invincible, that one has to completely suspend belief in order to swallow this story. But the beauty of writing the story mostly from his POV shows just how and where he is vulnerable. This sets the reader up for tension as events head Radec’s way.
But not only that. Smith is audacious, and comes up with plot lines and devices that stagger the readers’ imagination – and that totally suit the characters of Jon Radec and his contemporaries. What Smith does in The Sunfire is not far short of brilliant, and a joy (advisedly) to read. A page-turner that keeps one in the grip of events, hastening to discover the outcome.
I thoroughly enjoyed this second instalment of the Redemption trilogy, and look forward to reading Pax Imperia.