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Ancillary Sword

The Imperial Radch series, Book 2
Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Series: The Imperial Radch, Book 2
Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (233 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Justice for all

Breq - the soldier who used to be a spaceship - is serving the emperor she swore to destroy. She's been given her own warship, her own crew, and ordered to the only place in the galaxy she would have agreed to go: to Athoek Station, to protect the family of the lieutenant she murdered in cold blood. Athoek was annexed by the Empire some 600 years ago, and by now everyone is fully 'civilised'. Or should be - but everything is not as tranquil as it appears. Old divisions are still troublesome, Athoek Station's AI is restless, and it looks like the alien Presger might have taken an interest in what's going on. With no guarantees that their interest is benevolent.

©2014 Ann Leckie (P)2014 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Leckie proves she's no mere flash in the pan with this follow-up to her multiple-award-winning debut space opera, Ancillary Justice." ( Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Such a great series. Very thought provoking.

Tremendous narration by Adjoa Andoh. She brings the story so pleasantly to life. Love it.

1 person found this helpful

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Words cannot describe

How much I love this book. Top quality sci-fi at its finest that had me at the edge of my seat. Power and privilege, grief and revenge wound up in identity and agency make this compelling and gut wrenching.

1 person found this helpful

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Not as good as justice but still good

While this doesn't reach the heights of Ancillary Justice it is still enjoyable. The tension doesn't really ever kick in - but the characters and relationships drive the story instead, and the ending is satisfying.

1 person found this helpful

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Slower-paced than the first one

An enjoyable sequel but it lacks the excitement of the first book.

The story focussed on the social justice side of being a governor and for much of it, I felt there was little tension and not much at stake.

I'm looking forward to the the third installment though.

The voice actor's performance was great.

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A different concept on AIs

This was a fascinating read, an AI using human bodies as ancillary extensions of itself. Once you realise the extent that this technology is used in this universe you start to question what is human. Highly recommended.

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Captivating Story

I love the story Ann Leckie is telling. A ship, an AI, a single body. Can't wait for the next instalment.

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Disappointed

Ann has seemed to run out of ideas after the first book. Painfully self indulgent.

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excellent

Breq’s story continues... Leckie spins an excellent story, while also subtly weaving in so many threads which will resonate with students of post-colonial literature, politics, history, gender studies and anthropology. that she manages to do so without in any way compromising the narrative and characters is a tribute to her deft touch as a writer.

and Andoh’s performance is once again brilliant. her command of voices and accents, especially those of african nations which otherwise are so rarely heard, is so pleasing and refreshing to the ear. she is fast becoming one of my all time favourite narrators. i’m moving on to her narration of Alastair Reynold’s work next!

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Everything I'd hoped for and more

So far (along with the first book) the best audio book on Audible. Adjoa Andoh is amazing as a narrator!

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Quest for Tea

This book made me want to drink a lot of tea.
I hope the next one goes into the ghost gate where they find lot's of new and interesting tea.

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  • KiwiGirl
  • 05-06-2015

An excellent follow on from Ancillary Justice

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I already have - a new angle on SciFi that is beautifully written and narrated. Not quite as tight a story as the first book, clearly positioning for the third...but it can't come soon enough.

Ms Andoh is a brilliant narrator.

Have you listened to any of Adjoa Andoh’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Ancillary Justice - and she's still great.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carolina
  • 21-11-2014

Nice second part, Waiting for the third book!

Originally published at: A Girl that Likes Books

First impression

After really loving the first book on the Imperial Radch series, Ancillary Justice, and seeing that I was not the only one (is there any price Leckie didn’t win?) it was a no brainer to continue with the series. It was hard to though, because as it turns out, the changed the narrator (First book was read by Celeste Ciulla and this one is Adjoa Andoh) and so several of the pronunciations, names, etc changed and for the first quarter of the book it was hard to fully engage. Once I was past this, the story was great. Leckie has a gift in building and sharing this new different cultural groups and the Radch universe can be very dark and very colorful at the same time.

Final thoughts

While the first book was intended to be obviously the introduction to the world and developed the revenge sentiment in Breq, this book went deeper into her as character, and that was great. I really appreciated the character growth and development not only for Breq, but for Seivarden and all the rest of the team in Mercy of Kalr.

Breq is still the main voice in the story, but as she herself points out, she is missing her extra ancillaries, and while she still has the connection to Ship, there is a void on how she can “see” or perceive multiple events, compared to what she was in her past with Lieutenant Awn. Her getting accustomed to her new “unique” self was a very different part of the story, but one I really did enjoy, actually feeling her confusion and somewhat sadness to “just be one”.

At first I disliked Lieutenant Tisarwat but by the end of it I was quite fond of her and I am hoping to see her again in Ancillary Mercy. While in this book the focus is settled in character development I feel there is still room for surprise from all the main characters.

The book is set in Athoek Station, far away from the lord of the Radch, but certainly not far from political intrigue. In case you haven’t noticed, the Radch are very keen to maintaining or improving their social status and what is “proper” might change according to what is convenient. Not for Breq; in my own opinion she sticks to the parameters of being a Radchaai even better than any other character even if she despises a big deal of this façade based behaviour.

As much as I liked the book and even if I wasn’t expecting the final twist (no spoilers, don’t worry) there was something missing and I can’t help but to think that this feeling comes from the struggle to engage with the story at the beginning, due to the change of narrator. While both narrators did a terrific job, I am used to a certain continuity of voices by now when I am listening to a series.

This does not dissuade me from waiting anxiously for the next book. I still loved the whole world that Leckie has constructed for us, and contrary to some reviews I saw, I didn’t feel like the political critique was heavy or obscured the rest of the story; on the contrary I think that it is one of the sides I enjoy the most of the series. Let’s hope the trilogy closes with all the spirit and strength present in AJ.

1 person found this helpful

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  • silentbeing
  • 14-10-2014

Horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE! narration

How could the performance have been better?

The story aside - which you will pretty much know if you like by having read the first instalment in this series - the narration in this audiobook makes listening to it almost insufferable. Apparently the narrator have the idea that everyone speaking is either dead drunk or high on helium. This makes the narration go from almost impossible to decifer to eardrum shattering high-pitched. Furthermore it has the effect of making the story seem like a caricature giving this otherwise thoughtful book an unintended comical aura. In summary, i really HATED the narration.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-09-2019

Brilliant

story was gripping. can't wait to listen to the third novel . Ajoah Andoh is a genius. Now want to listen to all her narrations.

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  • Jean Philippe F Launberg
  • 05-11-2017

An Original Sci-Fi Story

The fundamentals of the story are good, but it lacked a bit of pace. The narration on the other hand was fantastic: so many different voices; but all amazingly clear and natural sounding.

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  • Jason WD
  • 27-01-2017

An excellent read, read excellently

it was a little jarring going from one book directly to the next with a different nerator, especially as a lot of the names are quite unique and probably are only known to Anne Leckie.
Adjoa seems the perfect well spoken person with a neutral British accent and sympathy for the ex colonies who seems to exemplify the forward thinking tone of the book. It took about a third of the book but after then I really appreciated the obvious effort she took in understanding all the characters and bringing them to life.

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  • John
  • 23-11-2014

Ultimately satisfying but slow

This follow-up to Ancillary Justice continues to intrigue as the author expands her unique universe and its inhabitants, but the plot evolves at a glacial pace. That said, the characters are interesting, the social commentary is good and new characters settle well into the story line. Those who like lots of action and techno-wizardry in their SF might wish to look elsewhere, but this book builds on the first novel in a satisfying manner. Although the pace of the story can dawdle at times, I'm still keen to listen to the next instalment in the series when it arrives.

The narration by Adjoa Andoh is very good, with a pleasing variety of voices. I really liked her work in Alastair Reynolds "On the Steel Breeze" and this work is just as good.

Recommended if you like a slow burning SF story with a social conscience.

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  • Graeme from Preston
  • 15-06-2015

A comedy of Manners a galaxy far far away

The beauty of this sf adventure is the concentration on interactions and petty politics. This seems like the best of early novels from Austin or Bronte, but there is no comprimise in the science fiction. Most of the novel sf themes were introduced in the first of this trilogy so it is surprising that this investigation into problems in a star system is so compelling. Fleet Captain Breck does have some secret powers and weapons which gives her just the right edge. I suspect it would be best not to start with this book, but read Ancilliary Justice first because some of the facets of the unuverse critical to this trilogy are best revealed slowly.

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  • Jasper
  • 16-07-2015

Jane Austin in Space Returns

That's how I described the book to my girlfriend. I absolutely love how subtle societal mores of the depicted cultures are described and exploited to give such a sense of depth and breadth to the universe. An utterly unique take on science fiction that does not come across as fluffy in the least.

I love hard science fiction and where necessary it is mentioned here with light speed delays being mixed comfortably with hyper space jumps while the crew are holding tea parties attended by human bodies controlled by artificially intelligent ships.

Exploration of interesting subjects from coping with loss to how an artificial intelligence in control of multiple biological bodies might take care of all of their needs.

If you hadn't guessed, I greatly recommend this series to anyone who finds subtle social situations, unusual cultures and even the melding of human and machine to be of interest.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dean
  • 03-07-2016

Not as good as the first book

I was really pleased with the depth of story and characters in the first book, which set a high expectation in the second. However I sadly didn't find the story to be of the same place. It didn't have the same excitement or purpose. Still I stuck with it hoping that it would pick up. However it didn't.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Olivier
  • 18-04-2016

Galactic tea party

Any additional comments?

I can't bring myself to finishing that book. Adjoa Andoh's rendition is excellent, but I find the story is so utterly dull I find it hard to focus on it and not drift to other thoughts. I'm not sure what's the obsession to tea about either. I'd like a holiday from hearing that word for a while now :)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marc Marot
  • 15-01-2015

Great story

I miss Iain Banks, but now I've got Ann Leckie. Enough said. She's a great new discovery for those who like intelligent hard fiction.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sharon Barron
  • 12-02-2020

Ann Leckie is the best SciFi writer out there

The second book in the Ancillary series sees the action move away from the centre of the Imperial Radch to the backwater of Athoek Station, where Breq, the former Ancillary, now the adopted cousin of Anaander Mianaai, the Lord of the Radch, finds corruption at the highest levels.

As a follow-up to Ancillary Justice, it has continuity of characters, but a complete change of pace, focusing on character, morality and world building. It's a wonderful listen.

As ever, Adjoa Andoh narrates sublimely, with a full range of voices and emotions.

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  • C. Campbell
  • 03-09-2018

Good as trilogy middle books go

A little slower paced than the first book, but enjoyable. Great narration. Continues the world building and sets the scene for book three.

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  • Gustav
  • 24-02-2018

Good, but not as good as the first.

i loved the first book, and this one does not have the same suspense and mystery of the first. still a very enjoyable read though.

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  • Andreas
  • 14-10-2017

Enjoyable but feels like a setup for next book

It's nice to continue following the story but when the climax of it started I was surprised. I felt nothing particular had happened so far. Overall the story felt like a setup for the next book.

The performance is great. Engaging and with a range of accents.

Part of the charm of the first story was the many and potentially simultaneous POV of the ancillaries. This dual POV is again present for some scenes but it feels more like a technical exercise and it's odd how these disparate but important events seem to happen at once.

The single gender pronouns continue throughout the book. I feel I have a better sense of characters gender but I may well be wrong. I suppose it doesn't matter to me, which is the point after all.

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  • Gnjoutside
  • 04-06-2017

Interesting extrapolation on the first book

This is an enjoyable continuation of the concepts developed in the first book. The story is sufficiently strong but leaves a lot to be told in book three. The most interesting plots here are domestic but some tension builds. A good narrator and an original concept. G