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Emissaries from the Dead

(Andrea Cort #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  841 ratings  ·  112 reviews
Two murders have occurred on One One One, an artificial ecosystem created by the universe's dominant AIs to house several engineered species, including a violent, sentient race of sloth-like creatures. Under order from the Diplomatic Corps, Counselor Andrea Cort has come to this cylinder world where an indentured human community hangs suspended high above a poisoned, acid ...more
Paperback, 387 pages
Published February 26th 2008 by Harper Voyager
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Mar 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: it-is-for-class

i think an appreciation of science-fiction literature is, like a second language, a skill best acquired in youth, when the thirsty adaptable mind is able to come to terms with unfamiliar worlds, languages, names, descriptions of political sects and painstakingly detailed family trees and planetary formations with a casual shrugged grace.

i myself am old.

and this book is by no means the best or most complicated example of that type of science fiction, but my brain still had a great d
Kara Babcock
Emissaries from the Dead hits a lot of sweet spots for me. First, of course, there’s AI. Second, it’s a mystery novel. Third, the protagonist is essentially a government agent with diplomatic immunity (though not in this case). Fourth, she’s messed up but not too messed up. The resulting cocktail is a heady mix indeed. Although I found it slow going at first, Emissaries from the Dead quickly grew on me; by the end, Adam-Troy Castro had persuaded me this is a series with great potential.

Love AI.
Oleksandr Zholud
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first volume of the trilogy, but can be read as a standalone. It won Phillip K Dick Award in 2009 and this is my first try to read something long by Adam-Troy Castro. In 2020 in Analog magazine I’ve read his novella and he sparked an interest in me. Therefore, this review.

This is a story of Andrea Cort, Associate Legal Counsel for the Homo Sapiens Confederacy Diplomatic Corps Judge Advocate, a woman, who as a 8-year child took part in interspecies massacre, which affects her life to
Jun 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Boy did this book deserve to win the Phillip K. Dick award. Rarely am I surprised by the ending of a book, but the final page of this book held a last twist of such weight that I was reeling and still a little wobbly when I walked back into the house to announce in general, "this book totally rocks!"

I cannot wait for the next one in the series for Adam-Troy Castro has set up an amazing cast of characters in the Andrea Cort series and universe she inhabits. In fact, I am a bit hesitant to say muc
Oct 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, mystery
There are some really fascinating concepts here, explored in ways I've not seen in other novels. The concept of spacefaring AI organizations existing long before humans evolved is a cool one, and I'm always up for outrageous artificial environments. The mystery was slightly less powerful, I think, but certainly maintained my interest.

What was most fascinating was the linked entity, the Porrinyards. It's not an easy thing to get your head around, but Castro does an amazing job of defining and des
Jul 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Eric by: Watch The Skies
Upside down world. I'm forced to admit this is as close as I get to visualizing the explanation of how this massive space habitat works. I'm certain if I went back and reread the explanation I'd get a better grasp on it. At it's core, I think that is one of the main reasons people are put off by science fiction.

Having said that, once you get past the “hang ups” this story is a locked room mystery. There are a limited number of characters and very few places for them to go. The mystery wouldn't w
Jun 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Story: B-
Narration: B-

The Plot:

As an eight-year-old living on the alien world of Bocai, Andrea Cort was caught up in an inexplicable night of blood-lust and murder. Remanded to the custody of the Diplomatic Corps from that point on, she has traded a life of service to the Corps for safety from prosecution by those who view her actions on Bocai as unforgivable - as Andrea herself does. Now Associate Legal Counsel for the Homo Sapiens Confederacy Diplomatic Corps Judge Advocate, Andrea finds herse
Apr 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
At first, when I started reading this book it was a little hard to follow. I was nearly overwhelmed with such high tech descriptions with hardly any explanation as to what they were and their purpose, so the setting was very hard to picture and the book was hard to get used to at first. However after a couple of chapters the book slowly started to reveal itself and the plot was interesting and engaging to begin with, it was hard not to let it go. First time readers, don't let the science deter y ...more
Jun 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The combination of being too lazy to write yesterday, and wanting to see if I let things go for a day about Adam-Troy Castro’s award winning book would change my feelings about it. In summation the answer is no, that the writer and book show promise, but insufficient promise for the number of accolades that it received.

The book won the Philip K. Dick award and was nominated for the Nebula, Hugo and Bram Stoker awards (why a horror award I have no idea) the year it came out. Yes this led to highe
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
I wanted so bad for this to be a good book. Ok, it wasn't bad, but it certainly didn't live up to the potential of its premise. What this book boils down to is a basic whodunnit murder mystery, with a sci-fi theme. The sci-fi aspect made it somewhat more interesting to read, but it really didn't add anything to the plot or the characters.

Yeah... the characters. They were mostly two-dimensional, and the main character was so annoyingly self-pitying (not intentionally, but it came across that way)
Johnny Atomic
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Teen and up
Andrea Cort is possibly the the most hateful, self loathing and hostile woman in the galaxy, but she is just what is needed to uncover the truth behind a grisly murder on the loneliest and most isolated space station ever built.

Adam-Troy Castro is unquestionably the only male author I know of to write a female protagonist so authentically. There is no stink of the "man with breasts" ham handedness that sometimes plagues even great writers.

He raises the bar further with the introduction of a very
Aug 02, 2012 rated it liked it
A re-read in preparation for the third Andrea Cort novel FINALLY being available in English in some form. I've actually read this book a couple times -- it's the perfect example for why I wish I could use Goodreads to give books two types of ratings: one rating based on quality, one based on enjoyability. I'd give all of the Andrea Cort novels six out of five stars for enjoyability, but am straining to give this one three stars for quality. I don't know why misanthropic Mary Sue extraordinaire s ...more
Mar 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I enjoyed this book, it was a bit tough reading, but when I focused on the world and the language, I literally would get vertigo as I read (it's about a world that basically is suspended, you can fall to your death at any time, well described). It was a nice change of pace to get something out of the formulaic romance/paranormal/fantasy arena. The ending seemed a bit rushed and, as an afterthought set up for a sequel, but I liked it and would definitely read more about this character! ...more
Denman G.
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Pros: Awesome world-building. Good pacing/plotting. Smooth writing.
Cons: Angsty protagonist (she pretty much typifies the premise that prolonged life = prolonged adolescence). An author wish-fulfillment quality to some of the plot points that rather irks me.
As a first novel, this was great. I probably will read the sequel at some point for the sake of the world building and the strong writing.
Excellent series debut about the mysterious Andreea Cort, legally declared war criminal as an 8 year old by an alien species and sheltered by the Human Commonwealth Diplomatic Corps, though at a price.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Interesting premise. A bit slow for the first half nice action scenes. A few grammatical errors near the end.
John Loyd
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The AISource has built a huge artificial habitat light years from any system, filled it with life they created and then informed the major sentient races that they had done so. The Brachiators are sentient causing some problems with the other races thinking the Brachiators are slaves. Even though One One One is the only habitat they can live in, and they are not asking them to do anything. The AISource has allowed one group of observers, humans, into One One One, but without diplomatic status.

Matt Pillsbury
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: space-opera, mystery
I wanted to love Emissaries from the Dead, but by the time I read the last page I had to conclude that I merely liked it. It's a rare entry in what is perhaps my favorite genre-within-a-genre, the science fiction murder mystery, which seems to be rare primarily because it's so hard to do right. The author must play fair with the reader or the mystery will feel like a cheat, but if the science fiction is reduced to widow dressing, it's a cheat of a different sort. A murder mystery that happens to ...more
John Rennie
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a hard sci-fi whodunnit. I mention this right at the outset because if you don't like hard sci-fi or whodunnits you should probably stop reading now.

Assuming you're still with me, this is a very, very good hard sci-fi whodunnit. It isn't just a detective story with rayguns, the sci-fi elements are integral to the plot. The world building is wonderful and the story has a real exuberance to it and it positively bounds along. It reminded me a bit of Richard Morgan's first book Altered Carbo
I stumbled upon this book and decided to try it on because it's a male author writing a female lead - I don't think I've read many of this type.
Overall, I found it kind of depressing - ok, more like a study on the usefulness of humans overall (and in my opinion we are absolutely the worse thing that happened to the planet).
The reviews found the book disturbing, I found it a little boring because I enjoy police investigations and this one was only based on talking and thinking. Also, the whole "w
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
I have bought this and the second book in the series from a used book store after reading a short story by Adam-Troy Castro whom I had never have heard of before ("Sunday Night Yams at Minnie and Earl's" - which I very much liked).

This Andrea Cort novel is a very different beast altogether - much much darker. This didn't come as a surprise based on the summary provided for this book.

I quite like this novel, which is not only a SF novel but also a murder mystery novel. Rather imaginative, and we
Dave Stone
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had a tough time with this book at the start. I hated the protagonist and I almost quit reading it several times. still it had enough fresh ideas and mysteries to keep me going and I'm glad I did.
the wold building is pretty good but the universe is a bit grimmer and darker than I like. the galactic confederation is like an anti-culture. this is not the Federation. not even an EU.
still this is well written with interesting ideas and characters and the abrasiveness tones down. glad I kept going.
L.E. Doggett
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This one might be more Three and three fourths stars.

An ingenious world, well built characters, a plot that cruises along as it should. Not all of the characters are likable-at least to me-but they act like they should. The story and back ground of the Main Character is dark, as more is revealed about her as the story unfolds, but she is gutsy, smart and willing to take chances.

There is suspense, a mystery and all that makes this a page turner where you want to keep going. So I recommend it
Nicole Green
Jun 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
I'm listening to the audio version of this book.... I.....Thiiiiiiinkkkkkk ifffff sheeeeee speakssssssss with any more monotone slowness I will be tempted to slash my wrists.

pretty sure there is a subliminal dialogue going on here 'you will become morose... you will become morose...'

If you want to have a nice day with a smile on your face don't listen!!!!!!

'lowest distentions of dangling canvas' ??? WTF????
Kieran McAndrew
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Special Counselor Andrea Cory has been called to the AISource planet OneOneOne to investigate the murder of two human diplomats.

The AISouce's denial of Humanity's ambassadorial credentials makes Cort think not everything is as it seems. Her enquiry soon uncovers a secret which ties back to her troubled past

Castro has built a confidently real world, with mysteries to keep readers guessing until the end.
Nigel Owen
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
World building good definitely well above average it was a unique setting just for that it deserves 10/10 the characters were solid and interesting. I felt the interactions, motivations and situations in some cases was a but ridiculous and contrived adding nothing to the story. So well not world breaking it is recommended.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars: a flawed main protagonist character, dealing with her issues, but at the same supremely capable investigator. Throw in a supreme AI character(s), with the hint of conflict there as they war with each other.

Could've been better, at the cusp of being better. Worth a read.
It's been a while since I read a paper book as the start of a series and said "Yeah, I want to continue this." I enjoyed the introduction to Andrea Cort though, and hope we may see a hero who's a little less rough on the surface as we move forward - growth and change and all that. ...more
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
The identity of the murderer was no surprise and could be seen coming a mile away, although Castro does try to throw the reader off course a few times. Four stars though because even though who dunnit was easy to figure out, it was still a pretty fun ride.
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting ideas and a reasonably engaging lead character. Not engaging enough for me to bother with the sequel, I think.
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Adam-Troy Castro made his first professional sale to Spy magazine in 1987. Since then, he's published 12 books and almost 80 short stories. Among those stories are "Baby Girl Diamond" (nominated for the Bram Stoker Award) and "The Funeral March of the Marionettes" (nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards in 1998). "The Astronaut from Wyoming," a collaboration with Jerry Oltion, appeared in Analog ...more

Other books in the series

Andrea Cort (7 books)
  • The Third Claw of God (Andrea Cort #2)
  • War of the Marionettes
  • With Unclean Hands: An Andrea Cort Story
  • The Coward's Option: also includes Tasha's Fail-Safe: An Andrea Cort Story
  • Unseen Demons: An Andrea Cort Story
  • Émissaires des morts (Andrea Cort #1)

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