The Consuming Fire

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The Consuming Fire
The Consuming FIre.jpg
AuthorJohn Scalzi
CountryUnited States of America
SeriesThe Interdependency series
GenreScience fiction (space opera)
PublisherTor Books
Publication date
October 16, 2018
Preceded byThe Collapsing Empire 
Followed byThe Last Emperox 

The Consuming Fire is a space opera novel by American writer John Scalzi. The book was published by Tor Books on October 16, 2018.[1] Audible released an audio book version narrated by Wil Wheaton.[2] It is the middle volume of a planned trilogy and a sequel to The Collapsing Empire[3]; the third and final book, The Last Emperox, is scheduled to be published on 14 April 2020.[4]


Following the events of The Collapsing Empire, End is now isolated from Hub as the result of a Flow shoal breakdown. Seeking to unite the population of the Interdependency behind an agenda to get ahead of the coming collapse of Flow-supported space travel, Grayland II (Cardenia Wu-Patrick) claims, in her capacity as head of the Church of the Interdependency, to have had visions affirming the need to plan for the collapse. This causes religious disquiet in the church, and political intrigue from the House of Nohamapetan and the House of Wu with the aim of claiming the throne from Grayland II through a coup d'etat. Meanwhile, Marce Claremont follows a lead provided by his erstwhile rival, the researcher Hatide Roynold, and together they learn that the Interdependency will once again be connected by Flow shoals in a different configuration on a timescale of hundreds of years, and that in the meantime evanescent shoals will appear and disappear. Seeking to learn more about the possibility of survival while cut off from other parts of the Interdependency, Marce and Hatide, accompanied by Marines, depart to study the survival of life on Dalasýsla, a system which was cut off for eight hundred years until the emergence of an evanescent Flow shoal.

Kiva Lagos, meanwhile, deals with the aftermath of Nadashe Nohamapetan's actions. Tasked by Grayland II with the upkeep of the House of Nohamapetan's business affairs on Hub, Kiva becomes a hindrance to the Countess' plans for regaining wealth and political favour. When Grayland II shoots down the Countess' plans to regain control of her House, the Countess retaliates at Kiva with an attempt on her life. Kiva survives but her lover Senia, lawyer for the Nohamapetan house, is seriously injured. In response, Kiva assaults the Countess' chief of staff. Nadashe is covertly sprung from imprisonment through the efforts of the Nohamapetan and Wu conspirators, who stage the incident as a failed escape attempt with no survivors. Kiva, investigating the House of Nohamapetan's affairs, discovers clues pointing to Nadashe being alive.

Marce and Hatide, while visiting Dalasýsla, meet survivors who have adapted to the changed conditions over hundreds of years. Coming under attack from Nohamapetan-hired mercenaries, Marce and a few members of his expedition manage to survive while the ship carrying Hatide and the rest of the expedition is destroyed. Marce returns to Hub with the help of Tomas Chenevert, a deposed king from outside the Interdependency who has had his consciousness transferred to a ship after his death. They return in time to witness Grayland II decide on a course of action in response to the anticipated coup d'etat attempt. Learning the identities of the traitors, she invites them to a party and proceeds to honour and promote her allies, Kiva and the Archbishop of the Church, and denounce and arrest the rest. The book ends with Marce offering a solution to the problem of getting the Hub population to End without coming under attack from Ghreni Nohamapetan and his allies, who strategically positioned themselves to control the passage to End in earlier events.


The Publisher Weekly review is largely positive and says it "sits perfectly in its second-book role, leaving the reader deeply invested in the developing story, with plenty left to tell."[5]


  1. ^ "The Consuming Fire - John Scalzi - Macmillan". Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  2. ^ "The Consuming Fire". Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  3. ^ "2017 Recap + What's On Tap For 2018". 29 December 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  4. ^ "The Last Emperox". Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Fiction Book Review: The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi. Tor, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8897-1". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 18 October 2018.