Aliette de Bodard has a new audiobook out next week! TEA AND MURDER is a collection featuring two of the author’s acclaimed Xuya novellas: THE CITADEL OF WEEPING PEARLS and THE TEA MASTER AND THE DETECTIVE! Published by Blackstone/Skyboat Media, here’s the synopsis…
Two novellas set in Aliette de Bodard’s award-winning, critically acclaimed Xuya universe, a timeline where Asia became dominant and where the space age has Confucian galactic empires of Vietnamese and Chinese inspiration.
THE CITADEL OF WEEPING PEARLS
The Citadel of Weeping Pearls was a great wonder; a perfect meld between cutting-edge technology and esoteric sciences — its inhabitants capable of teleporting themselves anywhere, its weapons small and undetectable and deadly. Thirty years ago, threatened by an invading fleet from the Dai Viet Empire, the Citadel disappeared and was never seen again. But now the empire itself is under siege, on the verge of a war against an enemy that turns their own mindships against them; and the Empress, who once gave the order to raze the Citadel, is in desperate need of its weapons.
Meanwhile, on a small isolated space station, an engineer obsessed with the past works on a machine that will send her 30 years back, to the height of the Citadel’s power. But the Citadel’s disappearance still extends chains of grief and regret all the way into the fraught atmosphere of the Imperial Court; and this casual summoning of the past might have world-shattering consequences.
THE TEA MASTER AND THE DETECTIVE
Welcome to the Scattered Pearls Belt, a collection of ring habitats and orbitals ruled by exiled human scholars and powerful families, and held together by living mindships who carry people and freight between the stars. In this fluid society, human and mindship avatars mingle in corridors and in function rooms, and physical and virtual realities overlap, the appearance of environments easily modified and adapted to interlocutors or current mood.
A transport ship discharged from military service after a traumatic injury, The Shadow’s Child now ekes out a precarious living as a brewer of mind-altering drugs for the comfort of space-travellers. Meanwhile, abrasive and eccentric scholar Long Chau wants to find a corpse for a scientific study. When Long Chau walks into her office, The Shadow’s Child expects an unpleasant but easy assignment. When the corpse turns out to have been murdered, Long Chau feels compelled to investigate, dragging The Shadow’s Child with her.
As they dig deep into the victim’s past, The Shadow’s Child realises that the investigation points to Long Chau’s own murky past — and, ultimately, to the dark and unbearable void that lies between the stars.
Here are just a few of the great reviews the two novellas have received so far…
‘De Bodard revisits her far-future Xuya universe setting with this gripping novella about damaged characters driven to search for the truth… De Bodard constructs a convincingly gritty setting and a pair of unique characters with provocative histories and compelling motivations. The story works as well as both science fiction and murder mystery, exploring a future where pride, guilt, and mercy are not solely the province of humans.’ — Publishers Weekly on THE TEA MASTER AND THE DETECTIVE
‘As a classical blend of far-future SF and traditional murder mystery, THE TEA MASTER AND THE DETECTIVE should satisfy readers unfamiliar with the Xuya universe, but at the same time it’s an intriguing introduction to that universe, much of which seems to lie just outside the borders of this entertaining tale.’ — Locus (Gary K. Wolfe)
‘This slim volume packs a visceral punch. Absorbing prose pulls readers into the dark, frigid space between stars, where ships can fail, physically and emotionally, as easily as people… this novella offers sf fans an imaginative read.’ — Library Journal (Starred Review) on THE TEA MASTER AND THE DETECTIVE
A science-fictional ode to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, where the Holmes figure is a sharp and biting disgraced aristocratic scholar with a solid core of empathy, and the Watson-figure is a mindship with post-traumatic stress disorder from her war experiences… This is a measured, almost stately story, right up until a conclusion that explodes in fast-paced tension. It preserves the empathy and the intensity of the original Sherlockian stories, while being told in de Bodard’s sharp prose and modern style. The worldbuilding… sparkles. The characters have presence: they’re individual and compelling. And it ends it a way that recalls the original Holmes and Watson, while being perfectly appropriate to itself.’ — Tor.com on THE TEA MASTER AND THE DETECTIVE
‘De Bodard’s world building glitters, and her characters are deeply compelling… It becomes clear early on that THE TEA MASTER AND THE DETECTIVE is strongly influenced by, if not directly based upon, the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson stories of Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s measured, almost stately, up until the conclusion, where the tension explodes into high gear. It preserves the empathy and the intensity of the original Sherlockian stories, while being told in de Bodard’s cut-glass prose and inimitable modern style. This is a really satisfying story, deeply invested in choosing to do the right thing – and in the importance of kindness. I strongly recommend it.’ — Locus (Liz Bourke)
‘[A] window onto a beautifully developed world that widens the meaning of space opera, one that centers on Chinese and Vietnamese cultures and customs instead of Western military conventions, and is all the more welcome for it.’ — New York Times on THE TEA MASTER AND THE DETECTIVE
‘… a beautifully written, bittersweet mystery in a wonderfully imaginative space setting. Readers who are patient and attentive will be amply rewarded by reading this novella.’ — Fantasy Literature on THE CITADEL OF WEEPING PEARLS