A Forest of Stars Saga of Seven Suns #2 Kevin J. Anderson 2004
It has been five years since humanity's heady expansion among the stars came to an abrupt, and violent, halt.
The emergence of the Hydrogues, an immensely powerful alien race dwelling within gas-giant planets, has placed the scattered colonies of the Terran Hanseatic League in jeopardy.
With space travel heavily curtailed, and supplies of fuel dwindling, young King Peter and Chairman Basil Wenceslas, the harsh power behind the throne, have no choice but to impose strict rationing.
But the Hydrogues are not the only enemies of humanity. The scheming Mage-Imperator, leader of the ancient Ildiran Empire, attempts to forge tangled alliances among all combatants in order to protect his failing civilization.