The second book in the SF trilogy.
Publication year: 2012
Publication year of the Finnish translation: 2013
Page count: 442
Publisher of the Finnish translation: Gummerus
Finnish translator: Antti Autio
If you liked the first book, the Quantum Thief, you’re very likely going to like this one, too. However, the plot is more complex than in the previous book and plot unravels mysteries and gives a lot of surprises so I’m not going to go into it, except to say that the master thief Jean de Flambeur, the Oortian warrior woman Mieli, and the living spaceship Perhonen are back. They’ve left Mars behind and are going to Earth.
Tawaddud Gomelez lives on the last city on Earth. Sirr is inhabited by humans and the jinn who seem to be either artificial intelligences or human spirits. The jinn can bind themselves to a human spirit. Most of Earth is a wasteland and there slavers hunt errant souls to sell them. Tawaddud is a daughter of the most politically powerful man on Earth. Yet, she’s very unhappy with her life and after an argument with her sister, she’s goaded into interfering with their father’s politics, which turns out to be far more dangerous than she thought.
One clear inspiration to this book is the “One thousand and one nights”. Occasionally, one of the characters tells the other characters a story. In Sirr, only true stories are acceptable and telling a fictional tale is a high crime. And telling a story could let strange code into the listener’s mind and take over him/her.
On the surface, Sirr’s society is different from Oubliette’s from the previous book. For one thing, while human spirits can be downloaded to other bodies, there is no common external memory like Oubliette. However, Sirr too is a very old-fashioned society when it comes to families and relationships.
This time we get to know more about Mieli’s background, which was great.
This whole series is pretty much the embodiment Clarke’s Third law “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. It certainly seems so to me at times. I’ll read the third book but probably I’ll read Quantum Thief and Fractal Prince again first. Just to find out what actually happened.