In the conclusion to Leckie's multiaward-winning trilogy (Ancillary Justice, 2013; Ancillary Sword, 2014), Fleet Captain Breq Mianaai directly confronts Anaander Mianaai, the interstellar ruler who blew up Justice of Toren, the ship that housed Breq’s consciousness.
The Lord of the Radch, divided as she is across thousands of bodies, is at war with herself. The more reactionary faction is preparing to invade Athoek Station, even while the Station is experiencing civil unrest; can Breq, her crew, and whatever allies she can gather overcome overwhelming odds and establish peace and a new social order? Leckie deliberately and deliciously flouts classic space-opera tropes. Rather than epic clashes between starships, there’s just one determined, embodied Artificial Intelligence with a very powerful gun, a stubborn space station, espionage, and some very persuasive talking. Leckie creates a grand backdrop to tell an intimate, cerebral story about identity and empowerment. She devotes as much attention to the characters’ personal relationships and their mental and emotional difficulties as she does to the wider conflict. What Leckie is saying is that individual people matter. Personhood matters, whether that personhood is expressed by an ordinary human, a sentient space station, a human raised by aliens, the remains of a spaceship AI inhabiting a human body that once belonged to someone else, or a 17-year-old whose previous personality was evicted by a ruling hive mind. Regardless of the situation in which one finds oneself, a person's right to be herself without interference is all that matters. And a small group of people can have a gigantic impact, with the right leverage. That message could so easily be hackneyed or too painfully obvious, but Leckie's delivery is deft and meaningful.
Wraps up the story arc with plenty of room to tell many more tales in this universe. Let’s hope Leckie does.