Vonda on Crete -- Photo by Alice Lengers

Vonda N. McIntyre...

...The Moon and the Sun

. . .

The Moon and the Sun: eBook and in print


  • Nebula Award — Best Novel
  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book
  • Seiun Award nominee
  • A Locus Recommended Book
  • James Tiptree, Jr., Award short-list


The SF Site

In the Fall of 1997 a package appeared in my mailbox. Inside, I found a book called The Moon and The Sun by Vonda N. McIntyre. As a writer and reviewer, I receive many books, most all of them well worth the read. Given the number that come in, though, it may be many months after I receive one before I get to it. However, before a book goes into the to-read pile, I always flip through it and look at the first few paragraphs. So I did when I received The Moon and the Sun.

At four that morning I was still reading. [continued...]

Catherine Asaro
The SF Site

Voyage to Sun King’s court is not just for SF devotees

There are readers for whom science fiction holds no appeal. Rockets, ray guns, gee-whiz hardware and all those skimpy, tight clothes leave them cold; they swerve around the genre as if it were a large pothole threatening the suspension of their grand new car.

Despite that, many of these folks do read science fiction without realizing it, and they like it just fine. A lot of Jean Auel’s fans don’t realize that her cave folk are every bit as science fictional as Buck Rogers and his blaster. “Science Fiction” and “the future” are not synonymous; tales in this realm may also be set in the present or the past, on other planets or on this world.

Enter Vonda N. McIntyre, the award-winning writer from Washington state, whose latest novel, The Moon and the Sun, is set in a mildly alternative 17th-century France....

...McIntyre’s skill and talent are such that even readers who hate science fiction will have no trouble relating to her tale, though the material is in fact rigorous SF. (“SF” is the preferred abbreviation over “sci-fi” for most genre writers and fans.) The writer’s research gives the story a very real feel; the small details of life in court, in a convent or during a medical dissection are evocatively laid in. McIntyre refuses to paint her characters as simple ciphers; instead, her people are complex, ambiguous and drawn in many shades of gray....

...It is a long flight from the resplendent halls of the Sun King’s court to “Star Wars” (an arena with which McIntyre is also familiar, having written a best-selling “Star Wars” novel), and readers who normally don’t like science fiction but are willing to undertake this voyage will be entertained by a sumptuous, interesting and well-executed novel.

Steve Perry
Portland Oregonian

The Independent-Mail

Science fictionwriter Vonda N. McIntyre... has gone backward in time with her newest book, and the results are extraordinary....

...The Moon and the Sun... includes an interesting afterword from the author about what inspired her. The gem was a note she wrote to herself during a lecture on mythological sea creatures. “Why do we, today, think that sea monsters never existed, when they obviously did — and maybe still do?”

After reading The Moon and the Sun, you may believe in them, too.

— Kathryn Smith
“On Books”
Anderson (SC) Independent-Mail

The Romance Reader

The Moon and the Sun is, quite simply, a breathtaking novel...[continued]

— Cathy Sova
The Romance Reader

Publishers Weekly

Red Star“Inspired by tales of ancient sea-monsters, McIntyre (The Crystal Star) spins a marvelous alternative-history fable about greed and goodness, power and pathos set at the 17th century court of Louis XIV, France’s glittering Sun King.... McIntyre vividly re-creates a Versailles poised on the cusp between alchemy and modern science. Her imaginings enliven her history with wonder, but, as in the best fantasy, they serve less to dazzle by their inventiveness than to illuminate brilliantly real-world truths — here, humanity’s responses, base and noble, when confronting the unknown.

Publishers Weekly, July 28, 1997


Alien societies of nearly incomprehensible natures. Creatures who seem to be civilized but who act with strange and irrational behavior. The latest SF portrayal of an alien race? Not quite....

...Filled with compelling characters, both historical and created, this may be Vonda’s best book ever (I think that’s saying something), woven into a dense tapestry portraying a world so different that our own, it could easily be regarded as alien, a truly frightening and beautiful landscape of a long lost time, where the entire resources of the greatest realm of the time was marshalled and focused on a single soul.

— Duane Wilkins
Talebones, Winter 1998

Journal Star

...McIntyre skillfully combines fantasy with history in this tale of Marie-Josephe’s coming of age and discovering her identity.

...This is a well-told story that captures the splendor and squalor of Louis XIV’s Versailles and contrasts the values and expectations of that world with the realm of the sea monster.

— Esther S. Cope
Lincoln, Nebraska, Journal Star


Hugo and Nebula Award-winner Vonda N. McIntyre offers us The Moon and the Sun, a breathtaking alternate history set in the French court of Louis XIV.... Take home this lucent novel of human integrity; it will capture your heart.

— Elizabeth M. Atwood
“Otherwise,” Paw Prints
Puss’N Books Bookstore, Redmond, Washington

Statesman Journal

...a wondrous and often flatly amazing historical fantasy....

...McIntyre carries us into the limitless world of the possible, into the heart and soul of those things making us human and, ultimately, into things beyond everything we know. The Moon and the Sun is an allegory but also an exciting novel, filled with memorable passages.

Be sure to read McIntyre’s afterword. This brief essay not only reveals the genesis of the novel, it also reveals the author’s mind at work.

— Dan Hays
Salem, Oregon, Statesman Journal

The Chattanooga Times

In The Moon and the Sun, Vonda N. McIntyre mixes historical fiction and fantasy into an intriguing novel....

...The novel is peopled with historical figures as well as fictional characters, and the descriptions of the lavishness and the wastefulness of Louis’ court are amazing to read. Even those who aren’t fans of fantasy fiction may find the book enjoyable because of its historical content.

— Emily McDonald
The Chattanooga Times

Eternity Online

Since the late seventies, Vonda N. McIntyre has built a legacy of spectacular novels and short fiction. Her characters, such as Snake in the award-winning Dreamsnake, stay with readers long after they read her books. Like most people who read McIntyre’s books, I have found that one reading rarely satisfies me. The depth of the stories requires a closer look.

The author’s name and the great cover art instantly drew me to her newest offering, The Moon and the Sun. After reading the first few pages, I knew the book was vintage McIntyre. Her style is a combination of vivid narrative and real dialogue that sucks the reader into its pages....

...If you love an unusual and rich setting, powerful characters and stunning narrative prose, The Moon and the Sun is not a book to miss. It is certainly one of this year’s best.

— Steve Algieri
Eternity Online

E. Alex Gerster

Vonda N. McIntyre has once again spread her wings and flown with a novel that is unlike any other I have read. It seamlessly weaves historic fantasy, legend, and gothic influences into 17th century reality with a deft touch and lyrical telling. Simply one of the best novels I have read in a very long time.

— E. Alex Gerster

Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

I don’t use the word “compelling” often or lightly, but I found The Moon and the Sun compelling reading.... McIntyre’s vivid descriptions of court life and its excesses give the book both a fairy tale quality and a firm grounding in reality.

— Maryelizabeth Hart
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore


McIntyre captures the glory and the mindset of the reign of King Louis XIV with her typical allegorical grace and exceptional prose. It is a book of passion, of custom, and of the relentless spirit of a young girl who dares to defy the King and the mores of the times....

I found myself enraptured by this story and could not put it down.

...McIntyre has written a story whose allegorical themes cut right to the heart of our own society and challenge the status quo. Ultimately it asks the questions ‘Where is the line between human and animal?’ and ‘Do we have the right to dominate all?’ It’s a story about social custom, compassion, freedom, courage, loyalty, and most of all, unconditional love. Her characters are human and fallible, full of life and vibrant....

— SW, “The High Seas”
August/September 1997

Kirkus Reviews

A dazzling and spirited evocation of the passions, intrigues, and preconceptions of the age, along with a dandy pair of star-crossed lovers: an enchanting slice of what-if historical speculation.

— Kirkus Reviews

June 23, 1997


“One of the best novels I’ve read in a long, long time. It will be a novel I will recommend to my friends and acquaintances for years to come, to my grandkids as soon as they are old enough to read it.”

Paul Preuss
Human Error, Core, Secret Passages

“I’ve been a major fan of Vonda McIntyre since Dreamsnake, but The Moon and the Sun is her best yet. It has the paciness of a good thriller, but it also has an emotional sweep and resonance that only rare great novels possess. I loved it.”

Robin McKinley

Newbery Award winner

“A fabulous tale in every sense. McIntyre takes the tinkling laughter, froth and glitter of the court of the Sun King and by singing an eerie harmony, a lyric that never was, exposes the underlying reality: the deadly minuet between the secular and religious, brother and sister, man and woman.”

Nicola Griffith, author of Ammonite and Slow River, winner of the Nebula Award and the James Tiptree, Jr., award

“The best thing McIntyre’s ever done. I liked the hell out of it. A beautiful job.”

Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn and The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzche.

“This is McIntyre at her best. An enchanting fantasy, expertly woven into 17th century reality. Like a grand opera, The Moon and the Sun regales with charming wit, style, and drama. A thoroughly satisfying read which echoes lyrically in one’s memory long after the last page has been turned.”

Jean Auel
Clan of the Cave Bear

The Moon and the Sun is a wonderful book! Adventure, love, history, magic— it’s an engrossing story with magnificent characters, balanced perfectly on the edge between enchantment and belief.”

Diana Gabaldon

“The finest alternate history ever, lighthearted and wise — a gorgeous visit to the court of the Sun King, a marvelous fireworks illumination of human history, human nature, and the nature of the people who live in the sea — a luminous, radiant novel.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

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Nebula Award
Nebula Award
Moon and Sun Flowers -- Designed by Marcia Goldoft; Photo by Anita Rowland