Mahit Dzmare is abruptly ordered to report for duty as the new ambassador to the Teixcalaan empire—with no word as to what might have happened to her predecessor. Tucked into her brain stem is a piece of technology that should be a secret: an imago device with a recording of her predecessor’s experiences. It ought to feed her a lifetime’s worth of knowledge about Teixcalaanli culture and diplomatic relations; or it would have, if it were functioning properly and not fifteen years out of date. Now she must figure out how to navigate the insatiable maw of the empire and protect her home from its reach, alone. The plot is loads of fun, but it’s Martine’s exploration of memory—and its close cousin, death—that makes this something more.