Siren's Song takes place on three wildly different worlds - Petal, Earth, and Sanctuary. Harsh conditions form a backdrop to the drama, often pitting our heroes against the environments they find themselves in as much as the adversaries they face.
The novel takes place well into our future, where huge machines hurl ships across light years as mankind makes their initial imprint in the universe.
What would happen if a distant black hole's plasma jet brushed a planetary system every few hundred years? How would life adapt? What conditions would persist? Welcome to the world of Petal, home of the deadly sirens and the precious Songs they guard. To human eyes, this is a doomed planet. Not so to its silicon-based inhabitants, the Shreen, who take shelter inside massive creatures called "Quan" to ride out a century of storms and blasting heat.
The inhabitants of Petal are humanoid, but that pretty much ends their comparison with humans. Silicon-based, they have minute crystals in their skin that make them glisten - earning the nickname by humans of "Shinies". Fiercely tribal, and possessing minimal technology, most Shreen are surface dwellers who stay close to their chosen lakes. Their two languages are sung rather than spoken - Air for above water and Earth for below. Like us, the Shreen have a religion, but it is comprised of gods they hate - Kee who brings the fire and Anasa, his lover who follows with her winds.
A secondary race of Shreen are amphibious, easily identified by their long white hair and gills. These are the priests and leaders responsible for maintaining the link between the Shreen and the deep water creature who spawned them - the tribe's quan. Legend has it that only a Quan Singer can command the mighty Song Guard.
In the middle of each lake on Petal lives a Quan. The keeper of Shreen memories, this is the sentient creature providing shelter when Petal must again face the ravages of the black hole's plasma jet. The Quan is as much the center of each tribe's soul, both the Shreen's creator and savior.
In the waters below the largest Shreen city on the lake lies a cradle. Inside is an iridescent crystal containing the memories of every Shreen on the eve of their passing. When the fires and winds come, Quan Singers will join the remaining Shreen with their Song and take the man-sized crystal back to be absorbed by their Quan.
You would be forgiven for first mistaking the Song Guard of Petal as crystalline angels, at least until they screamed. These marine creatures rise from the lake in defense of their Song - otherwise known to the humans as Reliquaries. Newly born from their Quan, the Song Guard rely on racial memories and pure viciousness to perform their singular task when called upon. To humans, Song Guard are better known as sirens.
Imagine a tidal-locked world. Blazing hot on one side and frozen wastelands on the other. Only along the terminator, with its hurricane winds, can life exist. Deep within the immense canyons, there is shelter for both humans and those whom were brought from what we thought was a dying world. But Sanctuary is hardly a place of safety for anyone, and holds dark secrets of its own.
This is home to Shreen who were unwillingly transplanted by the Church of Life via Operation Exodus to a new life beyond their doomed world. Large sun lamps have been suspended above the colony, which otherwise would live in perpetual twilight. Conditions above the deep canyon are extreme to say the least with the sky torn by three hundred knot winds.
Faith is believing, and in the case of the Church of Life, belief is re-enforced by genuine miracles. Sicknesses cured. Lives extended. All thanks to God's greatest gift bestowed on man for saving another of His races - the Shreen. One exposure to the Reliquary is all it takes. That, and a considerable donation of money. God's blessing must be earned. Led by Prophet Jeremiah Jones, the Church has amassed both a fortune and the power that comes with it.