Winner of the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Novel
A Locus, and Nebula Award nominee for 2019
A Best Book of 2019: Library Journal, Polygon, Den of Geek
An NPR Favorite Book of 2019
A Guardian Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Book of 2019 and “Not the Booker Prize” Nominee
A Goodreads Biggest SFF Book of 2019 and Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee
"A Memory Called Empire perfectly balances action and intrigue with matters of empire and identity. All around brilliant space opera, I absolutely love it."—Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice
Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.
Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan's unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.
A fascinating space opera debut novel, Arkady Martine's A Memory Called Empire is an interstellar mystery adventure.
"The most thrilling ride ever. This book has everything I love."—Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky
And coming soon, the brilliant sequel, A Desolation Called Peace!
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Debut novelist Martine sets a careful course in this gorgeously crafted diplomatic space opera that strands its protagonist amid imperial politics and murder. Mahit Dzmare, summoned from tiny Lsel Station to replace the previous ambassador to the Teixcalaanli Empire, Yskandr, must negotiate both for Yskandr's corpse and for the safety of her home world, an object of Imperial annexation. Her fluency in Teixcalaanli language and culture ("for a barbarian") helps her decode the messages hidden in their poetry, even as it inclines her to the same starry-eyed admiration and involvement with the Imperial court that overcame her predecessor. Her secret implant of Yskandr's memories should be aiding her, but it is 15 years out of date and, apparently, sabotaged. Mahit instead relies on her need to establish an identity of her own while juggling an aging Emperor's desire for technological immortality and a threatened military uprising to his rule. The Teixcalaanli culture comes so fully to life that the glossary in the back of the book is unnecessary. Martine allows the backstory to unroll slowly, much as Mahit struggles with her intermittent memories, walking delicately upon the tightrope of intrigue and partisan battles in the streets to safely bring the tale to a poignantly true conclusion. Readers will eagerly await the planned sequels to this impressive debut.
From an Ancillary Justice fan
I’m a huge fan of Ancillary Justice and I picked up this book because it sounded up my alley. A Memory Called Empire has many wonderful attributes - its characters, setting, world, politics, cultures, and writing are all superb.
However, and I don’t doubt that I could be missing something, I think there’s too many loose threads on the plot and too little thematic cohesion for my taste. There’s just so much stuff that it’s hard to connect it all thematically. This book gave me a lot of little ideas to chew on, but no big moral dilemmas or concepts that were given much depth.
A great intrigue
A murder mystery disguised as science fiction. Enjoyed watching the story unfold alongside the protagonist. For a book so focused on customs and language, I would have enjoyed more time on the culture of The City and how this civilization came to be for the benefit of the reader (but I get that protagonist already knows all this already.) My one complaint is the naming convention made it easy to confuse all the natives, you might need a white board to keep them straight.
For a first book, this is what Sci-Fi ought to be. A complete civilisation, engrossing characters, a complette new scoial structure, down to the details. Reminds me of Dune, in a fashion.
A must read.