Pirate Sun (Virga 3) by Karl Schroeder (Tor 2008)

This is the third of Karl Schroeders original Virga Trilogy. Sun of Suns was headed by Hayden, a young man learning the world and now he is building a sun in secret to free his people from Slipstream occupation. The man he believed responsible for killing his parent, Admiral Fanning is the protagonist of this book. He ended the first book a prisoner of Falcon Formation after defeating their shiny new super dreadnought foiling an ambush attack. His formidable and amoral wife who turned one of the ancient wheeled cities upside down in Queen of Candesce is determined to get him out. So she stages the most ambitious prison break in the history of Virga. It doesn’t go as planned when the admiral driven by honor tries to save a young boy that was part of his crew.

Chaison Fanning is a man driven by honor and we see time after time in this novel how it forces him to take the hard way again and again when he could have slipped away.

He and his fellow escapees are rescued by Antea Argyre, a member of the secret Virga High Guard who offers to take them back to Slipstream. But she has an agenda of her own. The Guard isn’t exactly happy about someone shutting down the protection Virga’s central sun Candesce is putting out, even if it is to destroy a monstrous Dreadnaught with the help of a radar equipped battle group. But there is more to it, something personal is driving Antea.

Both Antea and Chaison are great characters and the tension and play between them create great energy and enjoyment for me as a reader as they struggle back and forth on their way. We learn more of the fantastic world of Virga and our intrepid travelers survive through a war where cities literary collide with each other, monstrosities from the outside and other diabolic plots to stop them from reaching their goal.

Pirate Sun is fun, fascinating reading, more about honor and loyalty than about the real plot to be honest. The pacing gets a bit slow in the middle but that balance the frantic pace everything takes in the beginning and the end.

Virga is just one of the most imaginative and interesting world buildings around. I think I have to read his other books that takes place in the same universe.

It doesn’t feel like the final Virga novel, there are still lots of loose ends. Luckily for us Tor just released book four, The Sunless Countries and you can read my review of that one next week.


Title: Pirate Sun
Series: Virga book 3
Author: Karl Schroeder
Genre:  Retro futuristic steam punk
Hardcover:  320 pages
Publisher: Tor (2008)
Copy: Bought it myself

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Chaison Fanning, the admiral of a fleet of warships introduced in Sun of Suns, has been captured and imprisoned by his enemies but is now suddenly rescued and set free. He must flee through the sky to his home city and confront the ruler who betrayed him – and perhaps even find a way to regain his lovely, powerful, and subversive wife, Venera. He has not seen her since before he was captured, when she fled careening off into the air of Virga with the key to the artificial sun, Candesce, which is located at the center of Virga. With Pirate Sun, Karl Schroeder sets a whole new standard for hard SF space opera..