• by C. J. Cherryh
  • Narrated by Gabra Zackman, Jonathan Davis
  • 36 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The saga of two young friends trapped in an endless nightmare of suspicion and surveillance, of cyber-programmed servants and a ruling class with century-long lives - and the enigmatic woman who dominates them all. Narrators Jonathan Davis and Gabra Zackman skillfully split up this sweeping sci-fi epic that is "at once a psychological novel, a murder mystery, and an examination of power on a grand scale." (Locus)


What the Critics Say

Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1989

“Strongly recommended…. A future as detailed as that of Herbert’s Dune, with dozens of complex characters…. all the paranoid tension of a spy thriller.” (Newsday)
“A massive, multifaceted novel that tackles a variety of ethical, social, and political issues…. Cherryh’s worldbuilding is ambitious and her main characterizations are well-individualized…. Ultimately fascinating in concept and detail. Decidedly a major work.” (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

This is a Heavy Book (lovely too)

Every now and again you read a story at the right time in your life. Stuff was going on around me, and this story gave me perspective. It's wonderful when SciFi can help and inspire in the non-fiction world.

I am avoiding talking about the plot or the characters, because I don't want to give anything away.

The world building that takes place in this novel is astounding. It fully fleshes out a universe where sustainable economic systems work... sometimes you run into stories where planets only have one theme or purposes, like in Star Trek TNG - Risa the pleasure planet full of vacation resorts. This book actually makes sense.

I wouldn't have thought a story full of psychologists would be worth while, but Cherryh does an outstanding job.

This novel is definitely worth finishing.
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- troy

Large implications, small cast

When Ariane Emory (the first), head of Reseune genetic facilities, is murdered by Jordon Warrick, the next generation at Reseune has their shackles weakened just enough that they might be able to make a difference. Ariane Emory (the second), a replicate of Ariane Emory (the first), grows up in a tightly controlled environment with the hope that she will be just like her predecessor, but things don't work exactly as they hoped, she's starting where Ariane 1 left off, with the skill, instincts, and knowledge, but with the determination to improve upon the legacy of Ariane 1. In particular Ariane 2 wants to make sure that Justin Warrick, Jordon's son and Ariane 1's victim, has the opportunity to achieve his potential and realize his dreams...under her benevolent leadership, of course. When politics don't stop and wait for Ariane 2 to grow up, she must walk a fine line between controlling and being controlled.

In some ways Cyteen is the story of the murder of Ariane Emory, as the cover promises, but it is also much more than that. It is more the story of the ripples in the lives of a handful of people as her death creates a large empty space in the world. It's a story about power: The power that elder's have over youngers; that leaders have over successors; that mentally flexible people have over mentally rigid people; the power that love both gives and takes away.

If all of that sounds like it is complicated and wide-ranging, you'd be correct. It isn't that this couldn't be boiled down to a Hollywood movie plot, it's more that Cherryh builds a level of intrigue and detail that would be ill-served when boiled down.

I highly recommend this book for those that enjoy the complications of space operas, but wish they had a smaller cast.
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- Karin W

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-13-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios