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A Memory Called Empire

Teixcalaan, Book 1
Written by: Arkady Martine
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Series: Teixcalaan Series, Book 1
Length: 15 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2019 Library Journal Best Books of the Year

2019 NPR Best Book of the Year

2019 Amazon.com Best Books of the Year

"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, 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)

©2019 AnnaLinden Weller (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent and novel sci-fi!

This blend of science fiction and thriller and history, with interesting advanced tech, but also an exciting political plot, is exactly the sort of thing the genre needs more.of!

1 person found this helpful

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Empire is...

An excellent mediation on the long-term effects of imperialism and the damage empire does, while still acknowledging the difficult choices people have to make living in such a world. Thrilling writing.

1 person found this helpful

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quite good

Narrator was a bit unenthusiastic at times. Interesting thematically but needed some more development on certain plot points. The concept of memory was very fascinating.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 2019-04-13

Good

A slow paced story that focuses on politics, the symantics of language, and world building. I personally found it all to be good and kept me entertained for the most part. I think patient and thoughtful readers will like it, but if you are expecting a lot of explosions and actions scenes look elsewhere.

The narrator has a good voice, but doesn't differentiate enough between the characters; although she does do a good enough job that I can tell the difference.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 2019-06-24

Ambassadorial murder intrigue

Arkady Martine's A Memory Called Empire follows a rookie ambassador from a small, independent space station (which wants to stay that way) as she navigates her role in the regional Empire. Upon arrival, she learns that her predecessor died and gradually comes to suspect murder, finding a target on her back. With little information on her predecessor's activities, she must piece together clues while avoiding assassination attempts. Meanwhile, a larger menace to both the empire and her home is looming while the empire is mired in succession issues and civil unrest.

While the main characters are humanoid, the environment seems completely disconnected from any Earthly relationship. The major sci-fi element is an implant that allows the recipient to absorb the memories of another person such that another person is almost inside their head. Due to his death, she only starts with an out of date backup which goes off quickly. Interestingly, in spite of interstellar travel, the communications between the ambassador and her home space station harkens back to a 19th century arrangement where neither side knows what the other is doing. At the same time, while the Empire has the outward impression of an overwhelming force, internally, between succession concerns and civil unrest, the Empire offers itself as paper tiger.

The narration is reasonable with a decent range of voices with adequate pacing.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Nadia
  • 2019-06-10

Story is great, weird editing, not great narration

I love the story but ended up buying the actual book, which I'm going to read myself.

The narrator tries to do accents to differentiate the characters but a) seems to have trouble remembering what she was using for which character so sometimes it's hard to tell who's supposed to be speaking and b) made some Choices that had me scratching my head. The drunk guy as Irish? Really? Nineteen Adze as British? I mean, I guess Britain was a colonial power but that just doesn't seem like a great choice for this particular book given that Teixcalaan is deliberately modeled a non-western colonial culture.

Also this is all from Mahit's point of view but the narrator flattens her affect anytime she's not doing dialogue so it comes across as very flat and deliberate. Which might work for something from an omniscient POV but it doesn't here where you're supposed to be in Mahit's head, where she's having EMOTIONS. Anyway, I'm not going to finish listening to this because now I have a paper copy of the book and I keep getting distracted from the story by how much I hate "infofiche [pause] stick". It's one object, don't pause between the words.

The editing is a whole other problem, you can tell very clearly where a lot of the editing was done because the narrator's voice or inflection or volume changes from one word to another and it's clear that it's from a different take. It throws you right out of the story.

3 people found this helpful

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  • JumbocactuarX27
  • 2019-04-30

Phenomenal

An amazing example of world building.
A world and culture envisioned wholly and without remorse. The theme of being seduced by a culture not your own resonated like the purest note of a lovesick heart being struck.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Terri Crawford
  • 2019-07-15

Loved this Book

When I listened to this I truly felt immersed in another world like I was in the story and in the city. The characters were well formed and I could relate to them as individuals. To be honest though it might appeal to women more than men.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sergey Zakuraev
  • 2019-06-05

Wonderful atmosphere

Loved the book, the story, its character and above all the atmosphere of immersion into that world. Binged for 4 hours at one point

3 people found this helpful

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  • angelaz
  • 2019-04-16

absolutely wonderful

A brand new writer, a new series. Witty, clever and so much fun. I got it out of curiousity and devoured it. Beautifully voiced—can’t wait for the next installment.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 2020-02-11

Space opera murder mystery yumminess

What a lovely combination of space opera and murder mystery. Really good science fiction allows you to examine elements of the human condition through lenses that are different enough from the every day view that they show the world from unusual and compelling angles. A Memory of Empire does this very well. A civilization whose political struggles are waged through poetry, the implications of the ability to pass personal memories to successors, and an over-arching mysterious threat combine with a good old-fashioned who-done-it to make a delicious stew of intrigue.

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  • Maggie Crawford
  • 2020-02-10

Intrigue and politics sprinkled lightly with some action and even more lightly with adventure

I enjoy a good space opera and world-building (a la Micheal Flynn, Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey), and the premise of this book really is quite interesting with lots of potential to expand the universe the tale was set within. Unfortunately, it really doesn’t. The narration was pleasant to listen to. I was expecting more detail and a faster pace to this book based on other readers’ reviews; what I experienced was a well-written description of a highly organized and elitist society’s political and courtly rules, with regular, very short intervals of suspense or action. It was enough to keep me moving through the chapters, thinking things were going to take off from there, but even the danger the main characters faced felt distantly removed. As other reviewers have mentioned, if you enjoy politics and like a bit of modest sci-fi mixed in, this book would be a great choice. I don’t regret listening, but it makes me wish I had the option to learn more about the bits and pieces mentioned as tidbits.

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  • Brett
  • 2020-01-29

Truly impressive SF debut.

Slow build to satisfying and emotional payoff. Well balanced story embellished by wonderful world building.