I’m amazed by authors who can create entirely new worlds—or entirely new galaxies, in Kathy Tyers’ case. As a writer, I’m wowed by the details in fantasy and sci-fi novels that carry me into a place entirely built by the writer. Fusion Fire, the second book in Tyers’ Firebird Trilogy, takes the readers to new planets and builds on the worlds and politics introduced in Firebird.
At the end of Firebird, Brennen and Firebird were on their way to Hesed, the Sentinel Sanctuary, to be married. As Fusion Fire opens, Firebird is six months pregnant with their twins when she thwarts an assassination attempt upon herself and Brennen. The Shuhr, renegade Sentinels, have renewed their attacks upon Brennen’s family and succeed in wiping out his brother’s family.
As Firebird studies Federate politics and Sentinel faith while awaiting the birth of their sons, Brennen tries to find the assassin and keep his family safe. Firebird also discovers she potentially carries some Sentinel genes herself and attempts to learn telepathic abilities. However, a second assassination attempt and a traumatic birth experience send them fleeing back to Hesed.
Then Firebird’s sister Phoena goes to the Shuhr for help in taking power in Netaia. Brennen goes after her, using new technology to break through the Shuhr’s telepathic fielding. In Hesed, Firebird struggles with her faith and understanding why the Holy One would allow suffering and pain. Finally, like Brennen, she listens to the Holy One’s voice and embarks on an impossible mission.
Fusion Fire might be science fiction, but I loved the way that Tyers uses fiction to bring up modern issues like cloning, suicide, gene alteration, and ethical research. In the context of sci-fi, we can see where some scientific advances might take humanity—and yet also see the possible costs.
Tyers calls this trilogy “an extended parable of conversion” and I enjoyed Firebird’s faith struggles in this novel. All of us have asked, at one time or another, the same question that Firebird does about why God might allow people like the Shurh to exist. Near the end of the novel, when Firebird is frustrated by her lack of progress, her spiritual director says, “Then pray for strength and the will to go on for one more day. Our Speaker doesn’t exempt people from pain. He only enables us to bear it and be strengthened.”
If you are a fan of sci-fi, I highly recommend this series. Kathy Tyers is a skilled writer and I found myself looking for extra opportunities to read so I could find out what happened next. I love the way she blends faith and science in these novels, asking “what if” and driving the question forward with unique characters, a great plot, and a detailed fantasy world.