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This is a truly magical tale, full of strangeness, terrors and wonders. Many girls daydream that they are really a princess adopted by commoners. In the case of teenager Miranda Popescu, this is literally true. Because she is at the fulcrum of a deadly political battle between conjurers in an alternate world where “Roumania” is a leading European power, Miranda was hidden by her aunt in our world, where she was adopted and raised in a quiet Massachusetts college town.
The narrative is split between our world and the people in Roumania working to protect or to capture Miranda: her Aunt Aegypta Schenck versus the mad Baroness Ceaucescu in Bucharest, and the sinister alchemist, the Elector of Ratisbon, who holds her true mother prisoner in Germany. This is the story of how Miranda—with her two best friends, Peter and Andromeda—is brought back to her home reality. Each of them is changed in the process and all will have much to learn about their true identities and the strange world they find themselves in.
This story is a triumph of contemporary fantasy.
Celestis, inhabited by conservative human settlers fleeing from a socially decayed Earth, is riven by racial strife. Those conquered alien inhabitants who can afford it are surgically and pharmacologically altered to appear more human. Simon, a human diplomat, is taken hostage by alien rebels and thrown into contact with Katharine, an altered alien, with whom he falls in love. But Katharine, also a hostage, is cut off from her medications and rapidly begins the transformation back into a creature of alien needs and desires.
Where the seasons last for generations, hard winter makes for hard religion. The worlds of the solar system are the hells through which all souls must incarnate on their journey to Paradise; all, that is, but the Starbridges, nobles who serve to enforce the “divine will.”
In the lowest slums of the city-state of Charn, a Starbridge doctor and a drunken prince defy the law to bring medicine to the poor and hear the story-music of the refugee Antinomials, a wild people who shun words, infidels pressed to the edge of extinction. As a decades-long pitched battle approaches the city and the Bishop of Charn herself is condemned for impurity, the doctor and the prince will follow their compassion into the heart of a revolution, just on the eve of spring, with its strange and treacherous sugar rain.