Third in Anderson’s sprawling space-opera series (A Forest of Stars, 2003, etc.).
Humans share the galaxy with a number of intelligent races: the ancient, quasi-magical Ildrians, the hydrogues, who live on gas giant planets, and the faeros, fiery creatures who live in the atmosphere of suns. The human race now faces annihilation as the faeros and hydrogues pursue a war that leaves entire solar systems snuffed out in its wake. Even so, independent factions of humanity resist the pleas of their leaders to close ranks against the alien enemies. Anderson deploys a huge cast of characters in a plot that piles complication upon complication. Behind-the-scenes political maneuvers, treachery and interstellar gunboat diplomacy are opposed by idealism, magical ancient philosophies, and sentient worldtrees.
While the series has been compared to Robert Jordan’s apparently endless Wheel of Time, the Star Wars movies (which Anderson has novelized) are equally plausible models.