A Fallen. A young one, barely manifested in the world, lying in pain, somewhere close; somewhere vulnerable in a city where young Fallen were merchandise, creatures to be taken apart and killed before they became too powerfull and did the taking apart and the killing.
The fallen angels are the rulers of an alternate Paris. The Fallen are split up in factions, each belonging to a different house. The houses fought a devastating war with each other to gain ultimate power over Paris.
Now the city is more or less ruined, the houses are weakened but still plot against each other – and at the slightest sign of weakness they pounce and try to eliminate the weak house.
Into these fights come other powers. Dragons living in the depths of the Seine and an exiled Annamite (Vietnamese) from the Imperial Court of Immortals.
Magic, power, arrogance – fear, poverty, desolation – love, kindness and compassion are all stirred in a big pot in the hope of getting a mixture that can satisfy and sustain the city and its inhabitants.
The pot is stirred by Aliette de Bodard. She is fantastic – that’s a fact.
Her mixture of Eastern and Western cultures gives the story an extra spice, that is fascinating for someone (that’s me) who does not have a real knowledge of old Vietnamese culture.
This mix of cultures is carried out with a poetic use of language that makes every page a small wonder.
Already Aliette de Bodard has gotten 3 Nebula awards, 1 Locus award and 1 BSFA award for her shorter work and has been nominated for more Nebula and Hugo awards.
The first book in the Dominion of the Fallen trilogy won the BAFTA award for best novel in 2015.
These books should be read in the order they were published:
- The House of Shattered Wings.
- The House of Binding Thorns.
- The House of Sundering Flames.
Do yourself a favour and read these fantastic books.
The House of Sundering Flames was first published in a tradepaper edition by Gollancz (UK) with this cover:
As this is the first edition, this is the edition I have. I do not have the US edition, and the book has not been published in a hardcover edition.