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Summary

Winner of the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Novel

Shortlisted for the 2020 Arthur C. Clarke Award

Shortlisted for the 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards

In a war of lies she seeks the truth.... 

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare travels to the Teixcalaanli Empire’s interstellar capital, eager to take up her new post. Yet when she arrives, she discovers her predecessor was murdered. But no one will admit his death wasn’t accidental – and she might be next.

Now Mahit must navigate the capital’s enticing yet deadly halls of power, to discover dangerous truths. And while she hunts for the killer, Mahit must somehow prevent the rapacious Empire from annexing her home: a small, fiercely independent mining station. As she sinks deeper into an alien culture that is all too seductive, Mahit engages in intrigues of her own. For she’s hiding an extraordinary technological secret, one which might destroy her station and its way of life. Or it might save them from annihilation.

A Memory Called Empire is followed by A Desolation Called Peace in the Teixcalaan duology.

©2019 Arkady Martine (P)2019 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic reviews

"A riveting story of character interplay and politics, this audiobook features the cool, calm narration of Amy Landon. Incredibly dialogue-driven, this story requires Landon to distinguish important nuances between characters with her word emphasis and pronunciation. She does so in a way that allows listeners to become engaged with the story and easily follow the political maneuverings. Her smooth delivery combined with Martine's story makes this sci-fi audiobook perfect to absorb one's attention." (AudioFile)

"A Memory Called Empire perfectly balances action and intrigue with matters of empire and identity. All-round brilliant space opera, I absolutely loved it." (Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice)

"Contender for debut of the year." (SFX Magazine)

What listeners say about A Memory Called Empire

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It's like a text to speech reader is narrating

awful. narrator is like a text to machine speech synthesiser. couldn't get past 1st chapter.

12 people found this helpful

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Astonishingly good!

The story was brilliant and thoroughly enjoyable and all the characters were so interesting. I thought the sci-fi technology aspects were very cleverly and thoughtfully done and the cultural elements were really rich as well. The author created a fascinating world and described it so poetically. I can't wait for the next installment! It was read very well so that the characters were easy to distinguish and the emotion came through very powerfully. It is good to see sci-fi with such a strong cast of believable female characters leading the story. It had plenty of intrigue, politics, action, suspense and surprises!

9 people found this helpful

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Amazing story, flat narration was a let down

I bought the audiobook after really enjoying the print book – but had to return it because the narration is such a let down. The narrator's voice is so flat and emotionless it almost sounds like Siri. I found it hard to engage with the story and dangerously easy to tune out – not a problem I generally have.

7 people found this helpful

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Terrible narration

Story might be good, narration is terrible, I could not listen for more than 10 min. Three words, pause, four words, pause, three words, pause. Impossible to follow a sentence.

6 people found this helpful

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Great story, terrible, lifeless narrator

I quite like the book, interesting with good intrigue.
But the narrator made my ears bleed, I'm not sure if there's a weird effect in the recording or something but I can't listen to it for more than an hour at a time.
The narrator herself is distinctly average, functional, but very little variation in her voice and without life or charisma.

4 people found this helpful

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Unlistenable sound quality

I was really looking forward to this award winning book and was recommend it by a friend but the audio quality is awful. Sounds like it was read by a text synthesiser and there is horrendous hissing on the plosive sounds.

3 people found this helpful

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A Complex political drama set....somewhere.

This story covers the complex machinations in the court of a aggressive, expansionist human empire. The main protagonist, is the ambassador of a soon to be devoured society. The main plotline is well crafted and clever, but also complex and hard to follow at times.... My main gripe is that there is no backstory to this universe, how far it is in the future, if it is our future, also the level of Technology this society has reached is never clear...which I found somewhat unmoors you from the universe., the capabilities of the actors and factions are never clear. An interesting but at times difficult read.

2 people found this helpful

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Speech cadence off

I gave up after ten minutes. I found the speech cadence of the reader a bit off. Sentences ended at odd inflections. The speech was also a bit emotionless.

7 people found this helpful

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Excellent space opera

I loved this book. It's full of intrigue and questions of what a self is. Reminiscent of space operas like Machineries of Empire and Imperial Radch. This book features a female main character of humble origins set to navigate the political intrigue of a large empire. Carrying a physical recording of her predecessor as her only guide. I was also pleased to see some queerness in the book. The recording is excellent.

I got hooked on the story straight away and hardly stop listening for the want of finding out what happens next. I'll be grabbing the next installment the moment it's released.

1 person found this helpful

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A rare gem

How do you measure how much love a book? Is it by how much you can't bear to put it down, and you take every opportunity to listen to a few more words or read a few more sentences, or by how much you miss the characters when the book ends, or because you fancy one of them just a bit.

I felt with this book that I lived the characters lives for a time, that I strode the pavements and corridors of the city with them.

The world the author created had depth, complexity and a great verisimilitude. I could not have lived this story more and the boundary between the imagined and the actual became permeable, and I was briefly unsure which was more subjectively ‘real’. I gasped aloud at one point, and laughed at others, causing my family to look askance more than once.

I felt early on it may become predictable, and I would tick off the necessary plot points as they occurred, but actually it surprised me, right up to the denouement, sometimes in ways that were unwelcome as I didn’t wish those events of my friends. And at the end I wept, in relief, in sorrow and in a single dashed hope.

I split my reading between the Kindle edition and the Audio Book, the clipped tones and flawless delivery of Amy Landon very well suited to this novel, and when it came to the last pages, I wanted them to be in her voice.

This is a rare gem of a book. Read it, savour it, love it and look forward very much to the sequel, and future works from this author.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-02-21

I love Sci-Fi But....

This is very well written, but endless poetry, prose and explanations as to their purposes quickly became old.

The names also became a bit jarring, One Lightning and Six Seagrass for example...

It was well executed but I honestly struggled to care about the characters.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Just reading
  • 08-10-19

Simply glorious space opera

Great narration, a thought out narrative suuported by interesting characters and a penchant for city design. I came for the space empire, I left wanting to know more about The City.

1 person found this helpful