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About The Tea Master and the Detective

Aliette de Bodard brings us a new novella set in the award-winning, critically acclaimed Xuya universe!

Welcome to the Scattered Pearls Belt, a collection of ring habitats and orbitals ruled by exiled human scholars and powerful families, and held together by living mindships who carry people and freight between the stars. In this fluid society, human and mindship avatars mingle in corridors and in function rooms, and physical and virtual realities overlap, the appearance of environments easily modified and adapted to interlocutors or current mood.

A transport ship discharged from military service after a traumatic injury, The Shadow’s Child now ekes out a precarious living as a brewer of mind-altering drugs for the comfort of space-travellers. Meanwhile, abrasive and eccentric scholar Long Chau wants to find a corpse for a scientific study. When Long Chau walks into her office, The Shadow’s Child expects an unpleasant but easy assignment. When the corpse turns out to have been murdered, Long Chau feels compelled to investigate, dragging The Shadow’s Child with her.

As they dig deep into the victim’s past, The Shadow’s Child realises that the investigation points to Long Chau’s own murky past—and, ultimately, to the dark and unbearable void that lies between the stars…


Review of The Tea Master and the Detective

AI ships are some of my favorite characters and a ship that can brew tea is gets extra points. Well, tea is not really what The Shadows’s Child is brewing, but the term Tea Master has certain connotations, so I was drawn to this book. In truth, what the ship brews is drugs. Not tea at all. I had been hoping for eloquent descriptions of brewing and partaking of hot English Breakfast tea. So a bit disappointing there. Still, the disappointment was soon replaced with a mystery. The Shadow’s Child’s latest client is a detective after a body, a mystery, and answers. I enjoyed the sticky relationship between the ship and Long Chau. Sticky eventually evolves into curious and then even slightly friendly. The ship and the detective made a reluctant, yet effective, team, chasing down clues.

This book takes place in Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya universe! You do not need to have read her other books to enjoy this standalone novellla.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley, so that I could bring you this honest review.



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