A Memory Called Empire is Arkady Martine’s debut novel. It is a space opera.
Lsel Station has spent ages engaged in a careful dance with the Teixcalaanli Empire. It tries to maintain vital trade ties to the vast polity, but avoids becoming so essential as to invite annexation. The empire is a dangerous neighbour, but it protects Lsel from neighboring polities who are even worse. Hence the dance.
Mahit Dzmare is the latest ambassador to be dispatched by the Stationers to the empire. If she plays her cards badly, she may be the final ambassador to the empire.