Select one of the keywords
A Memory Called Empire: Teixcalaan    by Arkady Martine order for
Memory Called Empire
by Arkady Martine
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2019 (2019)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Young ambassador Mahit Dzmare is sent from her small, independent mining Station to the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire (that she has thoroughly studied) with the imago-machine (memories and persona, though outdated) of the previous ambassador implanted in her skull. Existence of these imagos is a closely kept secret. Station leaders have other worries, aside from their relationship with the powerful Empire - scout-ships have been lost at a distant jumpgate.

When Mahit arrives in the Teixcalaanli capital, she's met by aristocratic Teixcalaanli imperial officer Three Seagrass, her new cultural liaison - can she be trusted? Mahit learns that her predecessor, Yskandr, died of anaphylaxis (an allergy). The shock of seeing his older self dead damages the imago, which is simply gone. It was supposed to combine with Mahit in a mental, mentoring partnership. Fortunately Three Seagrass proves to be a helpful ally, as does her close friend, Twelve Azalea.

Soon after Mahit's arrival, her meeting with her predecessor's assistant is bombed. She and Three Seagrass are taken into the custody of high official, Nineteen Adze, who knows about the imago. Mahit learns that she has arrived at a time of great unrest. Emperor Six Direction, whom Yskandr had befriended, is very old and ill. There is a succession problem with the potential of civil war. Mahit tries to find out what plots her predecessor was embroiled in, and avoid her Station's annexation, while struggling to understand the Teixcalaanli and keep alive.

It's all very convoluted and totally fascinating, with Machiavellian politics both on the Station and in the Empire. Mahit, helped by her new friends, takes a very serious risk to life and sanity, in order to resolve matters. A Memory Called Empire is extremely well written, with excellent world building. I very much look forward to what comes next.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more SF books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews