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Consorts of Heaven Hardcover – 11 Jun 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (11 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575083220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575083226
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,874,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jaine Fenn is a British author, mainly of science fiction, who practices a small but evenly balanced number of virtues and vices. She studied linguistics and astronomy before going on to work in IT, an experience which left her with a distrust of technology unusual in an SF writer.

After having a number of short stories professionally published in the early noughties, she turned her writing virtue/vice into a career when her first novel was picked up by Gollancz in 2007.

The Hidden Empire series are far future SF, with each book telling a discrete story which contributes to the overall plot.

Product Description


"A vivid and unusual world, populated by an interesting array of characters." --"The Times," on "Principles of Angels"

Book Description

An amnesiac stranger recovers his memory and discovers that the hierarchy of the world he inhabits is rotten to the core.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
When Jaine burst onto the Sci-Fi scene last year, I jumped for joy at her refreshing new world look at how things in the future could possibily be. It's definitely a tale that isn't too hard on the old grey cells to understand the science side of things and also allows the readers to get to know the world through her protagonist. It became essential reading and after a reread before starting her latest offering I enjoyed the whole thing a lot more as I could spot subtle clues that I'd missed on the original reading. Here we also get to see Jaine's talents as she allows us to see a backwards civilisation through the eyes of a stranger which not only proves that she has the clout to make a very difficult beginning work but also allows us to see perhaps how we ourselves must look to a civilisation far in advance of ourselves.

If you want a tale that takes the best of Science Fiction and blends it with a touch of fantasy then this is the book for you. With strong lead protagonists, Spartan style descriptiveness and a whole range of action sequences that take you from hand to hand to mind bending conflicts then you really can't get better than this. Add to the mix that this tale is just as engaging as the original and you know that Jaine is going to be a name to watch.
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Format: Paperback
Fantasy and science fiction are genres that mesh well together. Some authors have written successfully across both genres, but not usually in the same story. Jaine Fenn has managed to combine both in one book and it's an interesting read.

One night, a stranger is found lying unconscious in a bog just outside the village of Dangwern. He appears to have come from nowhere and, apart from a strange piece of cloth lying near his naked body, there is nothing to suggest who he is or where he came from. Unfortunately, this includes the stranger himself, as he is suffering from amnesia and has no idea even where he is, much less how he came to be there.

Fortunately for Sais, as he is nicknamed, the boy who finds him is "sky touched". This means he is soon to travel to the City of Lights to be tested to see if he is worthy of being a consort of the goddesses. The village elders permit Sais and the boy's mother Kerin to accompany him to see if anyone there may recognise Sais or shed some light on his past.

The story begins as a fairly standard fantasy novel, with many of the usual elements you would expect to find. There are difficult living conditions, many conforming to old and impoverished ways of living by modern standards, which fantasy novels often thrive on. There are also all powerful gods, respected by all, and a journey to a major city from the edges of the world to seek knowledge not available elsewhere. There is a quest, one of the characters is special in a certain way the provides challenges as well as uses and others are battling adversity and unpopularity thanks to their past and hoping to become more than they are.

Most of this is fairly predictable and obvious enough and usually you would be able to see where the story would end up.
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By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
It is a time of tribulation for Kerin. Discriminated against in her village for the circumstances of her birth, her son Damaru is skytouched and will soon be blessed by being raised to the ranks of the Consorts. Events are complicated by the discovery of an unconscious man in the mere outside the village. As Kerin helps him regain his health, his memory comes back in fits and starts...and indicates that Kerin's world and everything she knows may be a lie.

Consorts of Heaven is the second novel in Jaine Fenn's Hidden Empire sequence (which currently stands at four books, with a fifth out this year). It is not a follow-up to Principles of Angels, instead taking place roughly simultaneously with it but in a different part of the galaxy. It can be read independently of the first volume. The first novel was more overtly SF, with a dash of the New Weird added to it, but this second volume is more akin to traditional fantasy. It's set in a much more primitive world where some people have abilities that seem similar to magic.

As with her first novel, Fenn has created an interesting world based on some solid foundations, and seeing how this lines up with what was established in Principles of Angels can be fun. Also, as with her first novel, Fenn undercuts the premise and fascinating backstory with a fairly indifferent prose style. This is made even worse by featuring some considerably less-interesting characters than the first book. The major protagonists - Kerin, the amnesiac Sais and the priest Einon - have potential, but ultimately end up being fairly straightforward and predictable. The commentary on the planet's problems, such as being in the grip of a religious theocracy and its issues with rampant sexism, also disappointingly never rise above the obvious.
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Format: Paperback
Every now and then a writer comes along that makes you want to jump for joy. And, if you're a writer yourself, experience just a little of 'wish I could do that' syndrome. Hi, Jaine.
Principles of Angels was fascinating, an alien but totally believable environment and a style which is spare, lucid and never boring. Jaine Fenn obviously care about her craft as much as she does her characters. Above all, she loves telling a story, as a story and not a series of connected events. A slight clunkiness in the denouement because her prose is actually much denser than it seems and she did cram a great deal of detail into the last quarter. Well, it seemed a little complex to me. Overall, a brilliant beginning. Then came the sequel, Consorts of Heaven. Jaine Fenn's prose is, at times, absolutely beautiful. She knows how to hint at future developments without being crass or precious. Her sense of place is excellent, her ability to take the reader there fascinating. The story concerns a stranger, a male amnesiac discovered on distant planet where society runs like a medieval theocracy. How he discovers his own past and how that interacts with the lives of a widow and her strangely abled, adolescent son makes for a deeply enjoyable read. There's been some criticism that the planet isn't quite alien enough. I didn't find this so. In fact, Jaine Fenn has Jack Vance's ability to take something that on the surface seems quite familiar and give it a little twist so that it actually becomes quite weird. Which also nicely seques into the my next point: these books aren't classic sci-fi, whatever that is. They're quite capable of standing on their own as novels, not least of all because Jaine Fenn can actually write about sex, something that few sci-fi authors ever manage.
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