The Tea Master and the Detective

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Once, the mindship known as The Shadow’s Child was a military transport, carrying troops and crew for a war that tore the Empire apart. Until an ambush killed her crew and left her wounded and broken. Now the war is over, and The Shadow’s Child, surviving against all odds, has run away. Discharged and struggling to make a living, she has no plans to go back into space. Until the abrasive and arrogant scholar Long Chau comes to see her. Long Chau wants to retrieve a corpse for her scientific studies: a simple enough, well-paid assignment. But when the corpse they find turns out to have been murdered, the simple assignment becomes a vast and tangled investigation, inexorably leading back to the past—and, once again, to that unbearable void where The Shadow’s Child almost lost both sanity and life…


“This slim volume packs a visceral punch. Absorbing prose pulls readers into the dark, frigid space between stars, where ships can fail, physically and emotionally, as easily as people.”

Library Journal (Starred Review!)

“...a window onto a beautifully developed world that widens the meaning of space opera.”

New York Times

“…De Bodard constructs a convincingly gritty setting and a pair of unique characters with provocative histories and compelling motivations. The story works as well as both science fiction and murder mystery, exploring a future where pride, guilt, and mercy are not solely the province of humans.”

Publishers Weekly

“This is a really satisfying story, deeply invested in choosing to do the right thing – and in the importance of kindness.”


“A unique and enchanting reading experience.”

Ahmad Tea

Awards & Accolades