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Publisher's 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

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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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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

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  • Anthony Bennis
  • 12-05-19

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.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Kat Matfield
  • 07-22-19

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.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-02-20

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.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-17-19

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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  • Jon Linklater-Johnson
  • 02-07-21

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.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-08-20

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Gerbil
  • 03-01-21

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Bob
  • 05-02-19

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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jenny
  • 10-31-19

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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  • kay.piercy
  • 09-15-21

Perfect narration …

Not sure what the grumbles were about, I had no difficulties with the narrator listened on an iPhone narration seemed perfect to me. Original concept, characters were well developed, story focussed on language as a form of social identity which underpinned a boiling revolution and existential threat.

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  • Onyajay
  • 10-26-20

Like listening to Siri for 15 hours

Awful narrator - robotic and the worst inflections that sound like a school kid in a school play . Hard to tell who’s talking - and worse this author has deliberately created over complicated place and personal names - so incongruous that it’s jarring and annoying.
Azeazwakat? Texcalaanlislum???
Then there’s the purple prose- on and on and on - every single noun with two or there descriptions. It’s supposed to appear as this civilisation is very philosophical - but the attempt at conveying this is just a bunch of verbs and adverbs. It’s a real trek listening to this DRAGGING story. I’m only half way through and usually love space opera. This is just a
Book that could be written with only 1/3 of the words. Ugh. .... and that narrator. I think I’ll go listen to my GPS voice to get a bit more excitement.
Good storyline but needs a different reader and get rid of 2/3 of the words.

5 people found this helpful

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  • George Theodoridis
  • 08-19-20

Juvenile

For a plot relying on political intrigue and the contingency of personal relationships, this was, eh, young adult in its sophistication. As speculative/sci fi, it could well have been set anywhere at any time, with little speculative insight. The narrator was like a next gen Cortana, better but perplexingly robotic in her rhythms.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-13-21

Ponderously slow

Too little over too long. Bad science. Big plot holes. Flat peripheral characters. But I did finish it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Julie Miller
  • 08-09-20

It well deserved its awards.

A Memory Called Empire has everything. Mystery, politics, poetry, what it means to be foreign, and a frustratingly real kind of almost romance. The worldbuilding is masterful. I was really sad to reach the end of it!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lochlan Kriesfeld
  • 06-01-20

Interesting, Surprising, and Exciting

Interesting, surprising, and exciting from start to finish. Full of most compelling characters, political maneuvering and intruige, and questions of what constitutes the self, this story had pits in my stomach, fear in my blood, and smiles on my face.

In addition, Amy Landon does an excellent job at narration, though she does sound somewhat synthetic early on. It's something you get used to, and once you start to get a sense of her sheer range of voices, her narration is something I easily got lost in.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Izzy
  • 01-11-22

SUPERB. A supernova in the arms of the sky.

Loved every moment of this book. Well except when it ended - I need more!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-20-21

Sci fi is wallpaper, poetry is all its about

This is a Renaissance political intrigue novel, set in space. It could have been set in any city in any period of time and it wouldn't have mattered.

The author clearly has a passion for poetry and dressed this poetry love letter in sci fi clothes. It was really boring for someone who has no interest in poetry. The performance may have let this book down, but, I think it was dull material spoken in a wooden manner that made me switch this audiobook off after 9 chapters.

In short, appeals to critics and leaves actual readers bored out of their minds.

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  • Talise
  • 07-06-21

Intriguing once you get into it

It can take a little bit of adjustment to get into this book, the world building is really strong but the main setting is so familiar yet alien from our world it can can be a learning curve to understand what’s happening- especially regarding names!

But don’t let that discourage you, I found it very interesting and I was busting to know what was going to unfold as each puzzle piece fell into place.

It took me a while to give this book a go as I’m not generally a fan of political intrigue but I’m glad I did!