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Emissaries from the Dead (Andrea Cort, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – February 26, 2008

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 387 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager (February 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061443727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061443725
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #779,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“With its creepy background and complex plot, Emissaries from the Dead offers an intriguing combination of SF and detective story, spiced with moments of danger that raise the perils of cliff-hanging an exponential level.” (Locus)

“A brilliantly executed novel, fully successful as both science fiction and murder mystery. … Emissaries is a dark and moody novel, featuring a disturbed and misanthropic protagonist with a tragic past … Powerfully compelling … One of the best science fiction novels of the year so far.” (Science Fiction Weekly)

“Adam-Troy Castro has given us the ultimate high-wire thriller.” (Jack McDevitt)

“The most powerful science fiction novel of the year.” (Michael A. Burstein)

“SF at its best… A clever, thought-provoking page-turner. Bravo!” (Robert J. Sawyer)

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Customer Reviews

No actual description or explanation.
It's as if Harlan Ellison and Larry Niven had collaborated to write a novel.
Michael A. Burstein
I recommend this novel and look forward to future books in this series.
Wyman Cooke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Rogers Cadenhead on May 22, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Emissaries from the Dead, Adam-Troy Castro's first science fiction novel set in a world of his own making, carries forward a protagonist and setting from his short stories. The world's wonderfully bizarre, an artificial planet built on the inside of a miles-long cylinder by millenia-old sentient software called the AIsource. Each advanced civilization explores space first with its software, and this code has outlived its coders, joining together with programs from other worlds to form one megabloated Windows release that controls the universe.

The software has engineered sloth-like, spider-armed primates who hang from the vines and roots growing on the outer edge of the world, surviving only as long as they can hold on. These creatures are called Brachiators, from the verb brachiate, and they're the most fascinating thing about the novel.

"The battlefield was a patch of Uppergrowth indistinguishable from any other, marked only by the thirty nearly immobile figures wrapped in what their species must have considered to be frenetic combat. There were two groups, whose paths prior to this moment in their respective histories were easy to track by the vines they'd shredded in their wake. They hadn't collided head-on, but rather at an angle, joining in battle as soon as both tribes realized that they'd now be competing for the same patch of their world's ceiling.

"The fresh, juicy manna pears hanging in bunches from every vine in sight revealed the conflict as ridiculous, as even Brachiators forced into a course change could have found more food than they could possibly eat within an hour's travel, but that didn't matter to them; their armies had met, and their war had to be fought. ...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E Gaillard on December 4, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Adam-Troy Castro has written several novellas set in the richly imagined universe where investigator Andrea Cort does her work. She's not a nice lady. Her bosses are not nice people. The mysterious AIsource is definitely not nice. Pitted against one another, with a group of weary but determined duty-bound human diplomats caught in the middle, it's an exciting ride to find out who's going to win this long battle of nerves.

Andrea Cort is a powerful and interesting character. She's strong-willed, bitter, intelligent, deeply weird, and believable. The past horrors she endured are at the core of this story, and whether she can ever overcome them to become...healthier? Hm.

To solve a murder mystery, Cort is trapped in an eerie, hostile alien environment that I found entertainingly disturbing -- I cannot even imagine living like that for even a short period! -- among people whose motives are good but whose human flaws are inescapable. Even Castro's minor characters are vivid, including an intriguing pair whose unique situation is portrayed quite engagingly.

This first full-length novel is a treat for all of Castro's existing fans and, I hope, many new ones. Oh, and the cover illo is beautiful!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 11, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Andrea Cort's a Judge Advocate from "Dip" aka Diplomatic Corps headed for a much-needed vacation when she's assigned to a murder on One One One. Looking at monsters is something Cort considers to be her specialty since she considers herself a monster because she was overtaken by madness at eight and committed murder.

One One One is a cylinder world created by the AISource, which is not for the faint of heart or those suffering from height issues. Only the forested top portion of the world is habitable, which the bottom is a poisonous concoction.

By the time Cort arrives on One One One, a second murder is reported--another woman. Diplomatic Corps advises her that AISource cannot be found guilty of the crimes no matter what--the implications are a war that humanity would not win. Andrea also finds out that she's been handpicked by someone for this treacherous assignment, though no one is telling who. She's not the best choice, since she has height issues which are obvious.

Adam Troy-Castro is a master at world-building. One One One is a fascinating creation with characters both frightening and complex. The Brachiators are a created race which will only consider her as a viable emissary if she is at least Half-Ghost. Plus, there are humans who share one personality over psionically linked bodies.

My only complaint was that I felt Andrea needed some more development. She's somewhat muted from this reader's point of view and needs to speak more strongly for herself. I like her view of herself as a monster and her inner strength of will is impressive, though.

The mystery element was strong and dark. I didn't realize who did it until the end and the end did come as a surprise. My understanding is that a sequel to this novel will follow
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R.M. Mikeal on March 20, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book as a shot in the dark - strong woman character, intriguing premise, cool cover (yes, they do convince sometimes), so why not. Well, what a joy to find that this first novel from Castro was such a finely crafted, absorbing bit of SF fun.

It's dark, yes, and creepy, but in spite of my initial assumptions, Castro rewards the reader with ribbons of hope and joy without saccharine or pat resolutions to the deeply broken character of the protagonist. Castro also manages to bring in the good moments without turning the main character into someone else; she stays flawed, but even the flawed get to have a little fun sometimes.

Happily, unlike some space mysteries, this novel does not fall prey to the mystery-over-the-world-building problem, nor vice versa. I was completely hooked on the mystery, but the nature of this galactic setting was equally engaging and made me want to know more about it.

A final comment: many male authors who write female main characters (especially in first person) seem to have a bit of trouble keeping them both believable and female. Too often the "woman" reads more as some weirdly sexed version of a man. Castro does a very nice job of keeping Andrea Cort consistent, strong, and definitely believable.

This entertaining escape into the world of Andrea Cort is SF just how I like it: lots of character, great setting, and a keep-you-guessing plot.
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