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Emissaries from the Dead (Andrea Cort, #1)
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Emissaries from the Dead (Andrea Cort #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  719 Ratings  ·  99 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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Mar 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: it-is-for-class
space sloth!!

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 de
Ben 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.
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
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)
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
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
Genevieve's Human
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.
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!
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
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
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????
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.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book is around the science fiction and mystery genre. I chose this book because it seemed intriguing by the description on the back of the novel. The novel is about an investigator that goes by Counselor Andrea court who has had a troubled past with the committing of murder. This past is the reason why she is requested to investigate the two murders that has just occurred on the artificial planet, One One One. Her investigation is difficult on a count of how this artificial world is acidic ...more
Princess Allie
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Emissaries from the Dead is about a bleak and complicated Government Counselor named Andrea Cort, who is sent to an artificial world to investigate a murder. Her work was to interrogate and find a suspect and while doing so, she had been given orders that it could have no possibility of being the artificial hosts of the planet. That was her mission, but Andrea Cort doesn’t play by the rules. She pokes around in till her mystery is solved. She’s one tough cookie who doesn’t take crap from anybody ...more
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
It was hard for me not to liken this story to Orson Scott Card's Speaker For the Dead - similar title, similar plot. In a nutshell Emissaries is a sci-fi mystery that involves the deaths of two researchers at a "habitat."

One thing I had a hard time wrapping my brain around was the structure of Andrea Cort's universe. Of all the numerous planets populated by humans - all of them appear to be dystopic. Humans basically have to sell themselves into indentured servitude in order to escape their res
K. Bird Lincoln
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Counselor Andrea Cort of the Human Confederacy also happens to be one of the few survivors of a mysterious mutual genocide of aliens and humans years ago who were supposed to be living together in peace.

She murdered, quite bloodthirstily, her alien "father." She spent many years of her life locked up "under observation" and then practically enslaved in the Diplomatic Corps for the Confederacy, doomed to extradition and death if she ever tried to leave her protected status.

She's not a happy perso
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I like both science fiction and mysteries, so I'm always happy to find a good SF mystery. It takes place in a cylindrical artificial habitat called One One One which has been created by an artificial intelligence. A party of humans has been allowed in to study a sentient race the AI created called the Brachiators. They live at the very top of the cylinder, clutching the foliage for dear life and eating the fruit that grows there. The human party's living conditions are equally precarious, a seri ...more
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Science Fiction fans who are tired of Fantasy taking over the Fantasy/Sci-Fi section of bookstores.
I first read Adam-Troy Castro in the pages of "Analog" magazine, a novella that took place chronologically after the events of this book. No matter, the character and the universe fascinated me enough that I put these books on my list to read and shopped around. The publisher seems obscure enough that major chains did not seem to carry it at least.

This was a well-written book. It is essentially a sort of murder-mystery with a science fiction setting. The protagonist, Andrea Cort, is interesting
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
A slow starting mystery with a challenging setting and main character, Emmissaries from the Dead, was the recipient of the Phillip K. Dick Award when it was originally published. I can't say that I would have awarded such a high honor but it a well written, intricately plotted mystery with some unique twists on the scifi mystery subgenre. I particularly liked the idea of massively powerful and seeming to us omniscient artificial intellegences that predated the evolution of humankind. Science fic ...more
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won this as a First Reads Giveaway and I am very glad I did. The writing was easy to read and follow, the characters were clear and interesting, and the story was intriguing and fun. Even with a rather morose protagonist. I found it interesting that the world building was written so well into the story that there was not a huge data dump on the complicated and bizarre environment as would be expected. The author managed to work the description of the place into the story fairly seamlessly whil ...more
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This book was slow-going at first. The main character is filled with self-loathing, but the back stories hinted at are so nebulous that I assumed this was the second or third book in a series and I was missing something crucial. Even now, I'm not clear: was she the only survivor of the Bocai massacre? Why has she been made a scapegoat for a madness that infected and killed so many people, when she was only a child and clearly not responsible for her actions or anyone else's? Why is the Bocai gov ...more
Apr 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Excellent! Great world-building, intricate plot, believable characters (although some were overly-defined by their main characteristics, perpetually grinning with cynicism or what have you). Some very original ideas here.

I especially like the non-wishy-washy, clever female protagonist (a few readers commented that Andrea Cort doesn't ring true as a woman, but I didn't get that at all: are women suppose to be defined by emotional receptivity or self-doubt, which, true, Andrea Cort lacked? Had the
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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
More about Adam-Troy Castro...

Other Books in the Series

Andrea Cort (3 books)
  • The Third Claw of God (Andrea Cort #2)
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“I'm smiling because I know perfectly well what I am and I honestly don't give a damn what you think of me” 15 likes
“Fish held the silence for so long that I had to restrain myself from prodding her. That's never a good idea. Sometimes people hesitate because they don't have the courage to come out with whatever needs to be said; other times they desperately want to speak but can't find the words. Jabbing them prematurely tends to shut them up. Outwaiting them gives them the time to say more than they intend.” 5 likes
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