The Fractal Prince

Readers with advanced degrees in everything from mathematics and physics to computer science and Russian literature may find they have an advantage when diving into the world of the honorable thief Jean le Flambeur. Finnish author Hannu Rajaniemi follows up his debut novel, The Quantum Thief, with another adventure in a mind- and reality-bending world where the deceased are used for processing power, and men and gods—and everything in between—wage wars across the solar system. The terminology and concepts in which the characters thrive may pose a hurdle to some readers, but Rajaniemi’s integration of these hurdles into imaginative storytelling acts as a gateway into the chaotic, ever-changing reality that surprises readers as often as it surprises its own characters. After laying the world-building groundwork in The Quantum Thief, Rajaniemi has freedom to expand on his characters: an incorrigible rogue, a star-crossed lover and a sentient ship that protects them both. In a world where the characters alter reality, it’s great fun to see how reality and virtual reality, in turn, alter them on a far greater magnitude.