• Provenance

  • By: Ann Leckie
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (1,650 ratings)

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Provenance  By  cover art

Provenance

By: Ann Leckie
Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
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Publisher's Summary

An ambitious young woman has just one chance to secure her future and reclaim her family's priceless lost artifacts in this standalone novel set in the world of Ann Leckie's groundbreaking, New York Times best-selling Imperial Radch trilogy, which won the Hugo and Nebula awards.

Though she knows her brother holds her mother's favor, Ingrid is determined to at least be considered as heir to the family name. She hatches an audacious plan - free a thief from a prison planet from which no one has ever returned, and use them to help steal back a priceless artifact.

But Ingray and her charge return to her home to find their planet in political turmoil, at the heart of an escalating interstellar conflict. Together, they must make a new plan to salvage Ingray's future and her world, before they are lost to her for good. 

©2017 Ann Leckie (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"If you don't know the Ancillary series by now, you probably should. Ann Leckie's sociopolitical space opera almost singlehandedly breathed new cool into the stereotype of spaceships trundling through far-off systems amid laser battles... [Ancillary Mercy] earns the credit it's received: As a capstone to a series that shook genre expectations, as our closing installment of an immersively realized world, and as the poignant story of a ship that learned to sing." (NPR Books on Ancillary Mercy)

"The trappings of widescreen sci-fi, and the attention to character, to the small moments, to the inner lives of those living through outsized events...Just read it." (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog) 

"The trademarks of Leckie's talent are on display, with even more worlds for readers to discover and some teasing overlap with her previous series. But what makes this book is watching Ingray overcome her poor self-esteem and discover who she actually wants to be, demonstrating again the genre's capacity to tell compelling, human stories." (RT Book Reviews) 

What listeners say about Provenance

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Insipid lead character

The lead character cried so much in the last quarter of the story that my iPhone started to leak. She became a very annoying person. I actually liked the other main characters and the reader was superb. But the story itself was weak and basically uninteresting. I thought the same of the lead.

63 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Worth it as an audiobook

Adjoa Andoh's narration is unbelievable, among the best I've ever heard. I loved Ancillary Justice (as a printed book, have not heard the audio version), but all the followups were only okay. The story here is also only okay, kind of repetitive and political, meaning it makes a whole lot out of very small actions and events. But it's a very interesting, original universe.

I did find the monologue from the Geck ambassador very moving. I'm not sure whether or not I would have in print. I'm still thinking about it days later.

57 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Forever to get anywhere - then doesn't go far

First, I've not read any of Anne Leckie's other books and understand there is a series that connects with this stand-alone book. Ok, but even so... this book takes FOREVER to get started, then when it does get rolling it doesn't roll very far. I bought it for Adjoa Andoh's narration because she's WONDERFUL. And she's wonderful in this performance as well. I always have such a good time listening to her. The characters here are fun (for the most part) and you do get to know them. But so much of this book is about traditions and breaking out of traditions and you feel like it should be harder for the main character, but in reality she does very well by just going w/ the flow. For Sci-Fi, there's very little action. Nothing is ever very surprising and nothing really ever gets done except at the very end (and it's nothing like a "battle" or climatic experience). So, yeah. Meh.

46 people found this helpful

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Loved the protagonist!

Often, I find female-hero-protagonists right now to all be in the "Katniss" tough-as-nails kick-ass mold. Which is fine. But Ingray, with her foibles and her sweetness and her more subtle brilliance is a very refreshing heroine. I found her and the other characters around her to be extremely likable and fascinating. I was glad I read the Ancillary books first because it gave me good context for where to place the story, but I would be interested to hear from someone who read this without having that context... I see that Adjoa Andoh has received mixed reviews for her narration, but I found her wide variety of accents and voices to add depth that I think reflects the diversity of the setting-- all these different types of humans and non-humans from different worlds jumbled up together. It works really well.

33 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A lackluster followup

The first chapter drags. It doesn't get any better from there on out. The story is thin and the characters unmemorable. I would like to see something more from the author of the Imperial Radcht trilogy.

28 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Dense and political

This book has some of the similar political qualities of Dune. That's not a negative-Leckie has written them well. It's not necessarily what I wanted, though. I found the middle act to be especially ponderous. The story picks up again in the third act and wraps up nicely.

Andoh is an exceptional narrator. It's nice to hear a non-white, non-male voice narrating science fiction. She has a variety of voices and accents so I was never confused who was speaking at any given moment. She tends a bit toward creakiness, which could grate on some listeners (it didn't for me).

27 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent voice acting and great standalone novel

This is an awesome story and a great first entry into Ann Leckie's books, if anyone is intimidated by their Ancillary Trilogy. Set in the same universe, this book does a great job bringing the galaxy together without feeling like it retreads old ground.

Adjoa Andoh makes an amazing voice presence and breathes life into a world that is familiar and not. I was a little worried I'd struggle with their transition into a different character but their voice work doesn't allow for much confusion, with what feels like a full cast of characters all together.

23 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Subtly complex political machinations

Ann Leckie's Provenance is a complex, but richly engrossing tale that begins simply, but gradually evolves to a highly involved and complex fandango. Ingray is an adopted daughter of a politically powerful mother who is unlikely to share in much of the next generation's bounty. She crafts a plan to engineer the prison escape of a convict to run a scam on her brother, the heir apparent. Problems arise immediately and while Ingray is playing catch-up, larger forces are at play that result in involvement by a non-human intelligence as well as foreign invaders trying to gain control of her planet that just happens to sit in a favorable position for trade routes.

The sci-elements are varied, but muted with regards to the overall plot. There is clearly interstellar FTL drives, sophisticated drones, and non-human aliens with unusual, but intriguing social customs. Political complexity dominates. Of particular note is a societal penchant for "vestiges" which are tokens of historical interest such as old documents or autographs. Ingray is not so much a reluctant hero as much as someone not quite sure of what to do next, but with excellent instincts.

The narration is good, but suffers a bit with a noticeable accent. Pacing, tone, and mood are well attended. Of note, is Leckie's use of the ambiguous "e" instead of he or she randomly that adds some confusion, not so much as to the gender, but rather to simply which character is speaking.

19 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Expected better from a Hugo & Nebula award winner

I hadn't read or heard any of Ms Leckie's other books, but I was impressed that she had won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for science fiction, so I had high expectations and was disappointed.

The basic story feels like a "Young Adult" novel, and is mostly not really science fiction. Yes, it's set in some distant future and has aliens an multiple human cultures, but those aliens and cultures aren't made plausible. The heroine checks some sort of implant for her messages and news instead of checking her cell phone. IMHO that sort of simple translation doesn't make a story SF. All of the plot conflicts are resolved by a deus ex machina friendly alien. There are long, long, long sections of exposition reviewing what character A must have thought that character B thought that character C knew about ....

As for the performance, all of the dialog by aliens or "mechs" are done in a high squeeky voice that is hard to understand, and they all sound alike.

10 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Mediocre narration, bad recording, bad story

This book very heavy-handedly tries to be "woke" on the issue of gender identity, but then seems to be utterly unaware of how many ways it fails to be so in many other regards. I am totally in favor of depicting futures where society is more accepting of all people, but even the choice of gender-neutral pronouns in this work sound very awkward in the mouth of the narrator, as if the author never stopped to say them out loud when imagining how future people would use them. There are multiple places where the narrator audibly trips over the words.

The story concerns a woman who is a member of a future aristocratic dynasty, and even though there are mentions of "elections", it is very clear this future society is controlled by powerful families who pass power down through heredity and the elections are only between members of these powerful families. In some stories, that might be a thing the author was *criticisng* as a failing, but this story delves so much into familial intrigues, dealing with paparazzi and the privileges of power and treats them with quite a longing gaze, rather than really ever in any way depicting them as undesirable. The attitude of the protagonist is very much, "Oh, woe is me, it's so hard being a member of one of the most powerful families in the galaxy!"

Beyond that, the voices the narrator chooses for characters seem to both be all at random and also at times quite culturally insensitive. All the members *of the same families*, for instance, seem to have different accents, while humans who grew up living with aliens are just randomly given heavy-handed stereotypical Asian accents, On top of that, the voice recording sounds as if it were done using an iPhone microphone and then someone tried to fix it using noise gates in the post-processing, so there is this very obvious point at the end of each spoken word or phrase where the background noise cuts off to silence, and then it comes back on again when the narrator begins speaking again.

The only reason I give this two stars instead of one is that there are some imaginative elements in the future technology the author created, and the narrator actually does a fairly good job when *not* doing heavily stereotyped accents, so there is clearly talent present in the creators of this work, but I feel both the author and the narrator seriously missed the mark here.

9 people found this helpful