June choice: A Memory Called Empire
A Memory Called Empire has elements of space opera, cyberpunk, and vast amounts of political thriller. The author is a scholar of Byzantine history, and used that to tell a tale of high drama, plots-within-plots and politics red in tooth and claw. That's literal! The book kicks off with the protagonist off to replace her possibly-murdered predecessor. She wrote about [https://www.torforgeblog.com/2021/02/28/six-things-i-borrowed-wholesale-from-history-for-a-memory-called-empire/](some of the things she took from history), including the central idea she had when writing the novel: Could you betray your culture’s freedom in order to save your culture?
It won the 2020 Hugo.
Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.
Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan's unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.