Alternate cover for the British edition.
A recently released image of Pluto. (Credit: NASA/HST).
The drama spans nearly all worlds in the solar system, including Earth. It would have been intriguing to have set more action in the Oort Cloud or the Kuiper belt, but perhaps the author wisely opted out of expanding upon worlds yet to be visited lest the series become dated by new information.
Once in the Neptunian system, the Outers encounter a new player in the cosmic drama, the Ghosts, an egmatic religious cult of genetic tinkerers that believes their ultimate destiny lies around the star Beta Hydrus, a Sun-like star 24 light years distant (minor point of terminology; the genitive of the southern constellation Hydrus, not to be confused with Hydra, is frequently given as Hydri; a tiny point, we know, but this is an astronomy blog… )
The bizarre, two-faced walnut world of Iapetus. (Credit: NASA/Cassini/JPL).
The plight of the Ghosts explains several mysterious events that occurred at the height of The Qiuet War, such as the slab of ice that decimated the squatters on a tiny Saturnian moon at the height of the conflict. The Ghosts prove themselves to be quite the opportunists, using negotiation when it suits their needs and taking advantage of unrest on Earth to launch a daring assault. As with The Quiet War, action ultimately climaxes in the Saturnian system as Macy Minnot races back to Iapetus with a sureptiously frozen Loc Ifrahim to try and head off a confrontation with the Ghosts inbound fleet.
Haumea; Nephele’s twin? (NASA/Artist’s conception)
We fully recommend Gardens of the Sun as a first rate space opera that melds science, politics and fast paced action. A worthy sequel of this series could easily span those hinted future millennia much like Olaf Stapledon’s The Last and First Men or the Dune franchise… be sure to get in on the The Quiet War saga from the ground floor!
Humanities’ next stop; Fomalhaut? (Credit: NASA/HST).