The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Roads of Heaven was first published in three parts, but the plot is a single extended story. It concerns the efforts of Silence Leigh to break a blockade established around Earth by the Rose Worlds. Most of the story takes place on various planets in the Hegemony, an expanding galactic empire with a culture that places women under permanent male guardianship. A magical system based on principles from alchemy and astrology has replaced science and technology in this future.

In Five-Twelfths of Heaven, Silence marries Denis Balthasar and Chase Mago so she can continue to work as a pilot after her grandfather dies. Her husbands are part of a criminal underground, and the three of them are ordered to take part in a raid. When they are captured by the forces of the Hegemony, they are placed under a “geas,” but Silence manages to break the geas and free them from slavery. The three ally with a mage, Isambard, and steal a ship. They try to find a way to Earth but find that the “star roads” are blocked. In their attempt, Silence learns that she has the potential to become a magus, and Isambard agrees to teach her.

Silence in Solitude begins with Silence as an apprentice magus on Solitudo Hermae, the magus’ artificial planet. When representatives of the Hegemony arrive, Silence, her husbands, and Isambard escape. They make another attempt to break the blockade around Earth, but they fail. Isambard says that they...

(The entire section is 546 words.)