Queen of Candesce by Karl Schroeder
I just finished this one and it was an interesting ride. Politics, intrigue, pocket kingdoms (literally!), a big dumb object the size of a planet, horses, politics and big stakes. All this, plus forgiveness and redemption. Not a bad read all in all.
Queen of Candesce is the sequel to Sun of Suns and our viewpoint character is Venera Fanning, wife of Admiral Chaise Fanning, and formerly the 'villainess' (or is that anti-heroine?) of the piece. In the course of the book we find out quite a bit more about her origins, how and why she is so good at intirgue and why she is so ruthless. She also loves and mourns her husband.
The setting of the book is Spyre, a construct inside Virga that spun to provide gravity - far larger than the wheel towns of Sun of Suns and far, far weirder. Spyre is possibly the oldest human inhabitation within Virga and is excessively proud of the fact, selling its produce and items that can only be produced under the gravity they have. Its riven with politics with kingdoms and nations the size of swimming pools making up the majority of the place.
Venera arrives immediately after the events of Sun of Suns and from there begins setting things in motion in a big way. From forced induction into one of these pocket principalities, to the resurrection of a noble family thought extinct to the fate of Virga and Spire itself. And along the way, Schroeder makes good use of Chekhov's gun (or in this case, Fanning's bullet).
I liked this one a lot, the character of Venera Fanning drove much of that for me since she is an anti-hero that I liked a lot. She does the right things for all the worng reasons, or so she tells herself. And along the way she comes to an accomodation with herself.
It is a neat fun book folks. Go forth and grab Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce. I'm looking forward to the third book in the trilogy myself. My only regret is that I don't have a clear image of Venera Fanning myself, but that's about it.