Iron Sunrise – Charles Stross

Charles Stross is a rapidly rising sf writer who is well worth watching. Iron Sunrise is the follow-up to Singularity Sky[1], which was a lot of fun[2]. If you haven’t read the earlier book, there’s no problem starting here[3].

It’s a multi-viewpoint story, with several threads eventually coming together to a suitably dramatic conclusion. In a future that has been thoroughly scrambled by the actions of an enormously powerful artificial intelligence known as the Eschaton, human societies are scattered through a large volume of space.

Wednesday Shadowmist (well, her real name is Victoria Strowger, but she’s a bit of a Goth type… ) and her family are refugees from the destruction of the New Moscow system, whose sun was destroyed by a forbidden weapon. Before leaving the space station, she found something that will prove to be significant. Significant enough for her parents and brother to be murdered by someone.

Rachel Mansour, the UN agent who featured in Singularity Sky is sent on a mission. When New Moscow was destroyed, the system’s retaliatory weapons were launched towards the presumed attacker. The weapons will destroy all life on the target planet, unless they can be recalled. But someone has been systematically murdering the ambassadors who have the recall codes.

U. Portia Hoechst is an an ambitious and ruthless officer for an expanding faction known as the ReMastered. She reminded me of Servalan in the classic Blakes 7 series, which I suspect may be deliberate.

Everything builds to a climax back at the station that Wednesday started at, overseen by the glow of the Iron Sunrise – the nebula formed from the destruction of New Moscow’s sun. Can the missiles be stopped? Is anyone who they seem to be?

It’s all good stuff – sprinkled with popular culture references, gags and excitement. Stross has done a fine job in developing his characters, and getting inside the heads of them all.


[2] Hmm, I didn’t get round to reviewing it when I read it last year. I might rectify that at some point.
[3] But you may well want to go back and read it :smile: