Emissaries from the Dead is the first novel featuring Andrea Cort. Fans of mysteries who also want some sci fi in the mix would enjoy this novel. It features Andrea Cort who is sent from the Diplomatic Corps to investigate two murders that have happened on One One One – an artificial ecosystem created by AIs. She has to solve the mystery but with a twist; she can’t implicate the AI in the murders and, also, she has to choose a suitable suspect among the indentured human population.
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 you from reading. Focus on Andrea Cort, as she was a very entertaining character – albeit not very likable. She’s very cold, misanthropic, and used to being hated in return. Yet despite those flaws it makes Andrea a very realistic character and although not likable, you can’t help but warm up to her as you read further into the book.
The plot was good and interesting, and the setting is what makes it most interesting. The system created by AIs, and indentured humans certainly give it a very distinct sci fi flavor to it but also it incorporates the characteristics of a mystery well enough to merge the two genres nice and neat. However, there is more heavier emphasis on the science fiction part, which makes me think mystery lovers would not really attempt to read this novel in the first place (however I greatly encourage them to try!). The setting does take a while to get used to, as it’s not your average everyday planet. Things however do fall into place and start to make sense as you progress through the novel, and it does make for an exciting read as Andrea gets closer to solving the mystery as to who might have committed the murders. It is rather nice when everything does fall into place and it does make sense, it made the story complete and satisfying.
What I really liked about this novel is Andrea actually takes the time to explain about herself, and how she got into her present situation as a Counselor for the Dip Corps. It gave her character a well rounded out background and made her more three dimensional (so to speak). Eventually as the book progressed, I found myself liking her despite her flaws and faults. What I also enjoyed was the subtle changes to Andrea’s personality as time passed through the story. She herself wasn’t prepared for the changes and it was nice to see her try to resist them but at the same time attempting to accept the changes as well. It certainly made her more realistic than other characters I have read in these types of novels.
The only flaw I can see with this book is the beginning, it does get a little difficult to get into the story. It was hard to comprehend but don’t let it scare you away from reading it, it’s certainly well worth reading through. As I have mentioned before, once the pieces do fall into place, it makes a very satisfying read.
Overall, this book is really geared towards sci fi fans, but those who love mystery and are ready to go for something completely different give this book a try. I’m looking forward to reading the next Andrea Cort novel myself.
I give it an 8 out of 10.