cover image A Fire Born of Exile

A Fire Born of Exile

Aliette de Bodard. JABberwocky Literary, $17.99 trade paper (406p) ISBN 978-1-62567-652-8

In this intricate and emotional standalone space opera set in Nebula Award winner de Bodard’s Xuya Universe (last visited in The Red Scholar’s Wake), three women struggle to balance self-respect with family obligation against the backdrop of a dazzling far-future universe full of mind-bending technology and government intrigue. Far from the center of the Empire, Minh, the daughter of the Prefect of the Scattered Pearls Belt, chafes against her mother’s plans for her future. After she’s saved from kidnappers by scholar Quỳnh, Quỳnh’s attention and approval awakens a tentative self-confidence and new suspicions about her mother’s government. However, Quỳnh isn’t what she seems—and she’s on a quest for revenge against those in power in the Belt. Meanwhile, technologist Hoà takes over an enormous project from her ailing sister: fixing a damaged mindship, or sentient spaceship. Quỳnh’s revenge plans are disrupted by whirlwind romance after she meets Hoà and agrees to teach her about mindships. As the vulnerable characters reckon with the past and find the strength to grasp the future, de Bodard’s worldbuilding dazzles, complete with cute toddler mindships and technology that can generate immersive new worlds in an instant. The result is a touching sci-fi romance that will delight fans and new readers alike. Agents: John Berlyne, Zeno Agency and Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary. (Oct.)