Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross is the sequel to Singularity Sky and so is the second book set in the Eschaton universe. It is also most likely the last as Stross decided he had written himself into a corner and besides had some new more interesting ideas. This is a bit of a shame as I quite enjoyed both the characters and the universe of these two books. On the other hand, I’m always in favor of cool, fun new ideas.
Iron Sunrise starts off with the death of the star of the New Moscow system and the results that death has upon one Wednesday–a teenager on a space station in a nearby (to the exploding star) system who is being evacuated to escape the nova wavefront.
The death of the star is caused by a causality violating weapon that has the end result of turning the core of the star into a single crystal of iron a few thousand kilometers in diameter. Stars don’t enjoy this in general and tend to blow up when this happens.
Wednesday happens to have a secret friend named Herman. This is the same Herman from Singularity Sky. Herman is part/representative of the Eschaton and is quite concerned with how the star blew up. You see the Eschaton is supposed to prevent causality violation episodes and the fact that one occurred implies very serious things. Herman has Wednesday hide some documents on the station just prior to leaving.
We rejoin Wednesday a few years later. She is now around 18. She has not been very happy with her resettlement location and has adopted a kind of Goth style–or at least something like that in the future in space. Herman hasn’t spoken to her in the intervening time, but when she gets a message from “him” things begin to heat up.
At roughly the same time Rachael and Martin (from Singularity Sky) are sent as part of an investigation of who might be killing off the remaining diplomats from New Moscow. It turns out they are needed to turn off a set of retaliation missiles that New Moscow’s destruction set loose towards a rival system.
Also we join Frank, a war-blogger journalist aboard an FTL liner. Frank had been held prisoner in an earlier war in the Newpeace system. Involved in that war and also on board the liner are some nasty individuals who seem to be using personality restructuring to some quite unpleasant ends.
Stross takes all these pieces and produces a fun and innovative book. A good fast paced novel that I enjoyed and recommend.