Vân is a scholar from a poor background, eking out a living in the orbitals of the Scattered Pearls Belt as a tutor to a rich family, while hiding the illegal artificial mem-implant she manufactured as a student.
Sunless Woods is a mindship — and not just any mindship, but a notorious thief and a master of disguise. She’s come to the Belt to retire, but is drawn to Vân’s resolute integrity.
When a mysterious corpse is found in the quarters of Vân’s student, Vân and Sunless Woods find themselves following a trail of greed and murder that will lead them from teahouses and ascetic havens to the wreck of a mindship — and to the devastating secrets they’ve kept from each other.
Here are just a few of the great reviews the book has received…
‘With this lush, immersive sci-fi tale, de Bodard (The House of Sundering Flames) delves into a world as gritty as it is ethereal… De Bodard hints at a vast, fully realized world… readers will be swept away by the vivid prose, intrigue, and romance of this intricate tale. This fascinating, unusual story is sure to entrance.’ — Publishers Weekly
‘A magnificent sf mystery, nuanced, intense, and romantic, with a complex, clever plot nested inside de Bodard’s rich, evocative, and vivid Xuya universe.’ — Kate Elliott
‘Aliette de Bodard is an author whose works I both like (in several cases, the word adore may be more appropriate) and admire… De Bodard’s work is marked by precision and delicacy of prose, by a concern with ethics and relationships, and by the presence of uncaring systems that violently resist critique from without – and even from within… SEVEN OF INFINITIES is a novella concerned with forgiveness, deserved or not, about cages, self-made or otherwise. It concerns itself with growth, with grace, with ruthlessness and its costs and consequences. It’s a tightly written jewel of a story, intense and full of feeling, and I recommend it highly.’ — Locus (Liz Bourke)
‘While SEVEN OF INFINITIES is a perfectly satisfactory mystery, with ingratiating characters and clever puzzles, its main appeal comes from de Bodard’s seamless weaving together of three wildly diverse frames of reference: the structure of a romantic mystery, the far-future space opera-like setting, and the culture of formality and tradition derived from its Vietnamese and Chinese ancestry (the title, for example, refers to a tile from an ancient gaming tradition). In SF terms, de Bodard’s Xuya Universe – a far future descended from an alternate past – is a pretty impressive imaginative construct by itself, but as she demonstrates with stories like this, it’s also a way of rethinking and sometimes reinventing familiar formulas, of defamiliarizing the familiar through the lens of different cultures and histories. But mostly, it’s a lot of fun.’ — Locus (Gary K. Wolfe)
‘… the intricate plot is really the star of this tale… a completely engrossing tale that stretches my imagination. It’s one of the best stories she’s written yet.’ — Fantasy Literature