cover image Translation State

Translation State

Ann Leckie. Orbit, $29 (432p) ISBN 978-0-316-28971-9

Hugo and Nebula award winner Leckie (Ancillary Justice) returns to the Imperial Radch universe in a staggering standalone novel that follows three people brought together by the mysterious disappearance of a translator. After Enae’s Grandmaman dies, diplomat Enae finds a welcome distraction in an impossibly open-ended assignment to track down a fugitive who disappeared 200 years before the start of the book. Aboard the station Enae is headed to, diplomatic liaison Reet searches for answers about his past as an orphan and adoptee, but finds only further questions. Meanwhile, an attack on juvenile Presger translator Qven, part of a spectacularly weird alien race designed to translate alien Presger into human, derails Qven’s life and ruins their prestigious prospects. When Qven understands what their clade has planned for them as punishment, Qven decides to flee, putting them on a collision course with the other protagonists. It’s exhilarating to see the way these seemingly disparate story lines knit themselves together as all three protagonists become embroiled in a political mess that threatens the treaty that safeguards interspecies coexistence in space. Leckie’s humane, emotionally intelligent, and deeply perceptive writing makes this tautly plotted adventure feel fundamentally true while also offering longtime fans a much anticipated glimpse into the Radch’s most mysterious species. Readers will be thrilled. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Co. (June)