STARRED REVIEW
September 26, 2017

Murder, mechs and mayhem

By Laney Salisbury

Returning to the universe of her bestselling Imperial Radch trilogy, Ann Leckie shifts her storytelling vista from a galactic scale to an individual's journey to find their place on the grand stage.

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A scion of a political dynasty, Ingray will do anything to gain her mother’s favor, best her unscrupulous brother and secure the inheritance that only of them can receive. In a desperate move, she invests everything she has in a shady plan to secure and revive a convict from stasis, in the hope that they have access to venerated cultural documents called vestiges. If successful, her discovery could take down her family’s greatest rival. But the moment her prisoner awakens, they claim a different identity. Left with no clear allies, depleted resources and saddled with crippling self-doubt, Ingray’s bold strategy to become her mother’s heir unravels as her actions inadvertently pluck apart the threads barely binding a fragile peace between civilizations.

Returning to the universe of her bestselling Imperial Radch trilogy, Ann Leckie shifts her storytelling vista from a galactic scale to an individual’s journey to find their place on the grand stage. Leckie’s use of alternative pronouns for gender (“e”, in addition to “he” and “she”) creates an honest space for characters to reveal who they are, unburdened by preconceptions of identity. Leckie’s rendering of Ingray is especially compelling—riddled with misjudgments and tearful vulnerability, she nevertheless embarks on criminal actions, sparking an planetary crisis in the process.

Provenance is defined as “the history of the ownership of an object, especially when documented or authenticated.” From Ingray’s mission to prove herself worthy of the family birthright, to the questionable documents and vestiges that her entire culture is built upon, the search for individual authenticity and societal validation is at the heart of this novel. In this gripping new tale from the Imperial Radch worlds, Leckie’s Provenance perfectly combines the mercurial foundations of planetary politics with the personal journey of a woman navigating familial conflict as she creates a distinct provenance that gives her sole ownership of her path forward.

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Provenance

Provenance

By Laney Salisbury
Penguin Press
ISBN 9781594202209

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